I recently heard of a story where a young man grabbed his girlfriend at a party and teasingly taunted her by threatening to throw her into the pool. He laughed and she tried to break free as the crowd around them chanted, “Do it! Do it!” They both ended up in the pool and he surfaced full of pride and laughing. However she came up, fully clothed with the look on her face that every woman knows. It says, “I must pretend. I can’t let them see how terrifying that was because I will be labeled ‘not fun’ or ‘too sensitive’. Don’t let them see how you really feel.”
In this world, around every corner, there are Anonymous, scared faces, there are Brocks, there are crowds, and there are Swedes. The Anonymous, scared faces have found themselves in situations out of their control. Maybe they made a (or some) bad choice or maybe it is of no fault of their own- how they got there doesn’t really matter, what does matter is that they didn’t choose THIS moment at THIS time. There are also Brocks, those who use circumstance, strength and power to force another to do something or be a part of something against their will. No one should ever have to know the feeling of having their body used against their will. There are also crowds. They ignore they feelings and faces and only focus on “minding their own business” or “all for the sake of fun.” These people have forgotten their responsibility to the soul. They have chosen to ignore the pain and suffering and trauma of others. And then there are Swedes. They are the heroes. They are the ones that despite the late hour or the darkness, they have taught themselves to not only be in a position to SEE but also to DO. They provide the rest of us with hope.
I have realized that I am raising a whole slew of white, privileged children. I cannot promise you how they will turn out- that is yet to be determined and free agency is real. But, I can promise you what I will teach them. I teach them that they are NEVER to use their strength and power to take away the choice of another person. This is especially true but not exclusive to the rights one has over his/her own body. I teach my slew of white, privileged boys that as a man who is genetically stronger and larger (it’s biology), they have a solemn responsibility to respect and protect those weaker and smaller. If roles were reversed and that young lady had tried to force a young man into the pool against his will, and he truly did NOT want to go- he would have thrown her in, and she could not have stopped him. So why then is it ok for him to force her to do something, with her body, that she is powerless to prevent? (Hint= IT ISN’T). And just as important, I am teaching my boys that when they witness someone whose mother didn’t teach them this vital lesson (or that person chose to not listen to Mama), as the stronger, more capable and momentarily safe person, they have that same solemn responsibility to SEE and then DO something about it; to STOP the misuse of strength and power. I teach them to please be the Swede.
And if the day comes that my children do the unthinkable and cause harm to another and break my mother heart, I will stand by them. But, I will not, ever cause further harm and trauma to their victim and sacrifice a soul in order to soften the natural consequences of their choices. My love for my children and my desire for them to be truly happy just simply will not allow it. Support does not equate consequence padding, it instead teaches them strength and integrity.
Thank you Carl-Fredrik Arndt and Peter Jonsson for providing me real life heroes and role models for my children just by being who you are.
Because of you I have a tangible example of how to teach my children to SEE the soul and then DO something. And because of you, in our family doing the right thing, will always be synonymous with #BeTheSwede