GrowBaba Spotlight: Boys Don’t Have To Be Boys

Go right ahead. Don’t worry. We all pee sitting down here, so the toilets really are clean.

Reluctantly but proudly, I now comfortably state what used to be a defensive awkward moment for me when friends or family generously allow me lead time to check our bathrooms before their use… or make gentle remarks or gestures about the presumed lack of cleanliness of our toilets because of the four males that live here: me and my three sons.

Newsflash: boys really can always pee sitting down. As a father of three boys, I’m here to tell you that urinating sitting down really is entirely normal, easy, comfortable, practical and logical from the day that diaper comes off onward.

Folks, I present to you that our faith was described as “the natural path” deen-ul-fitrah by our beloved Prophet Muhammad. We are taught that our kids are born in a “natural state” and that parents are charged with guiding them to their paths. Our prophetic teachings which describe cleanliness as half of iman, faith, also relay for both genders, an explicit list of “natural” self-care tasks, which includes not urinating while standing.

I beg you, please connect the dots already: the problem isn’t that our boys’ sloppy aim has left you contending how to make use of a dirty toilet seat. The problem is that too many of you trained your own boys to embrace a lower standard of hygiene. Let’s leap several decades back when parents still trained their daughters to embrace teaching and nursing as the sole viable careers befitting of their uniquely feminine qualities. Knowing all we do today, why would we actually train our kids to think any lower standard is okay? It seems to me that today’s boys need us to remember that it is not their physiology, but instead it is our choice as individuals and a society what we create as our baseline for universal human –not male nor female– core values such as ethics, education, cleanliness, etc.

The struggle to be an ideal parent never ends, but on this item, I’m really glad my wife and I chose cleanliness within our life’s set of universal core values. It was a purposed choice to select the Prophet’s guidance as our definition of cleanliness. We implemented that choice despite living in culture that teaches our boys the exact opposite. I hated it when my parents “imposed their culture” and I am certainly no less offended when that imposition comes from my own American culture which insists as the norm that males shave their faces, urinate standing up, and nurture Amazon forest expansions in their armpits. I think… I hope that my own parenting choices have given my boys the confidence to select solid logic over popular culture on other fronts as well. I hope that my wife and I have given our boys the confidence to see double standards and hypocrisy for exactly what they are –both inside and outside of the bathroom. I hope we gave our boys more freedom to truly enjoy “being boys” in ways that are genuine and unique to them, free from today’s many ill-defined cultural impositions of lower standards for boys.

After all, don’t you … especially you, mothers raising my future daughters-in-law… realize that if I train my sons to accept illogical gender-based cultural expectations, they might one day impose similar expectations on your daughters or granddaughters?

So dear folks, the next time you are in my area, you are all invited to my place. Under the guise of the pushy-traditional-Arab-host routine, I’ll load you up on juice and tea so that you will eventually have the pleasure of experiencing our “naturally” clean toilets. You see, I really think that eventually, as more and more folks are liberated from the burden of all that extra toilet cleaning, the aggregate sum of new extra time on our hands can now be redirected towards nurturing the next generation balanced, intelligent people who assert calculated, purposed choices in their practice of universal core human values.

Yaman Kahf

As a boy Yaman Kahf never knew exactly what he wanted to “be” other than being a father. He migrated to the US as an infant with his parents and is the second eldest of 7 siblings –growing up in Utah, Indiana, and New Jersey before settling in southern California with his wife and three boys. Career and college degrees pale in comparison to the accomplishments, joy, and education from life with three boys.

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