Originally posted December 3, 2012
Different kids and I have talked…a lot about a mountain of issues. And out of those I have had many machismo talks. I have heard, “But she’s my woman,” as an excuse for abuse of wife or girlfriend more times than I care to replay. And one of the most memorable came from sweet, albeit ignorant Gerson.
You must understand something about the Latino machismo – it comes from generations of hotheaded men feeling protective of the women in their lives. It can also mean generations of misogynistic fathers teaching their sons to think they own their wives or girlfriends.
Throw in life on the streets and what they have seen from (most often) their less-than-role-model fathers, you have a difficult habit to break for many of our young husbands or boyfriends.
Gerson and Cyndi came to us a few months back with a baby Carly Sofia still in her mama’s belly. And even though Gerson sleeps downstairs with the single boys, he and Cyndi still manage to fight like a married couple.
One night I stood explaining Gerson about how to treat women, and he replied, “She’s my woman, Michael.”
Poor Gerson, he said those words to the absolute worst person. I jumped down his throat. He couldn’t listen then, and he spent the next few days outside. But after those days out and a long lecture from me, he has acted like a different person.
Gerson is a kid with a now infant baby. He didn’t know the first thing about how to treat a girlfriend. I have seen him change. He lights up when he sees Carly and respects Cyndi more than he ever has before.
I look forward to watching Gerson continue to grow over the next few months. He’s a sweet kid with a good heart. He wants to learn, and I’m so proud of how he already has. Please celebrate his changing attitude and give him a great Christmas he will never forget.