Rodney Lopez Leads PA Conversation on How to Raise Boys to Respect Women
Off the back of conversations arising from stories women are bringing public in the media, the PA CL+D Committee decided to organize a chat on the topic of "How to Raise Boys to Respect Women." Facilitator Rodney Lopez, who teaches respect to mostly young people through the practice of social dance with his organization Dancing Classrooms, led a discussion with a large group of parents and some faculty and staff around how to encourage respect.
Mr. Lopez explained that he has spent 20 years working with children and adults. He said that how his students "show up" to what they are doing is the first step. For example, at his young people’s dance classes, they use "ladies and gentlemen" instead of boys and girls when they walk through the door, which automatically encourages his students to behave differently. Respect is taught throughout every stage of the dance lessons. One piece of advice he gives his students is: "When you touch someone with respect, they cease being an ‘other’."
Mr. Lopez indicated that the middle school years are key in raising respectful boys. The boys are entering a new period in their life where they want to be heard. It is important to disconnect the liking piece from the respectful piece at this time. He explained that there are tools for parents to help facilitate conversations with their children. He referred to the list of 25 Powerful Questions, which is designed to spark conversations that don’t usually arise from the question "How was your day?" These questions are important because they are personal, ambiguous and provoke anxiety…all necessary to achieving deeper conversations.
Chat participants were then presented with three questions and asked to talk them through in small groups to learn how often or how intentionally they are discussing respect with their sons, how they are modeling respect in their families and how they would like Allen-Stevenson to support this conversation in the future. Everyone seemed to delve deeply into these questions, with many sharing their insights and examples with the room afterward.