Learning in the time of Covid – What if 2020 isn’t cancelled?

diverse family

Recently we have been overwhelmed by global events on a scale of change that leaves us breathless – Me Too, climate change, BLM, Covid-19, systemic racism, police brutality. It’s all too much, I’ve had enough of challenging my thinking, my head hurts.  But I don’t really want the old days back, and I think it is too late for the status quo.

“What if 2020 isn’t cancelled?
What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw — that it finally forces us to grow.
A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us from our ignorant slumber.
A year we finally accept the need for change.
Declare change. Work for change. Become the change. A year we finally band together, instead of pushing each other further apart.
2020 isn’t cancelled, but rather
the most important year of them all.”

Leslie Dwight

I have been watching, listening and learning.  I know that I have not done enough yet, but I have so much to learn.  This article, this piece of work, is not my own.  It is drawn from the many things I have heard and read and thought about over the last weeks, months and years.  It is a collection of pieces that have resonated with me and may touch you the same way.  If not, no harm intended – you will find your own inspiration to guide your path.  This is not a quick and easy read but, if you are ready to spend a little of your time (30 minutes, maybe) and follow me through this thought process, please click on this link to listen to Verna Myers speak about Implicit Bias.

I think about moving towards my bias, and the times my fear has been put to rest.  It has usually been through familiarity, and I recognize that, contrary to that thought, a lack of familiarity leads me to feel awkward, uncomfortable and, if allowed to continue, scared.

In conversation with others, white privilege has come up.  White Privilege does not mean your life has not been hard, it just means the colour of your skin has not been one of the things that makes it harder. White Male Privilege does not mean your life has not been hard, it just means that the colour of your skin and your gender have not been two of the things that made it harder. Being white, being male, does not make you a bad person, but it does mean that you may have had advantages in life that are not afforded to others.  It means that you are likely to have access to power others may struggle to achieve, and you have an opportunity to use your power for good.  Concentrating on whether you are privileged or not, whether you are actually white or not, takes the focus away from the real issue – there are others who are actively disadvantaged because of the colour of their skin, their heritage, their gender and many other issues.

What about law enforcement and local government?  The word “police” comes from the Greek word “polis” or “city”.  A police officer is an officer of the City.  The word “politician” comes from the word “politics” which is derived from the Greek word “politiká” or “affairs of the cities”.  Both police officers and politicians represent the population of their city, their community, so should they not also reflect the demographic of their city?  “When we look at awesome folks, who are black, it helps to dissociate the association that happens automatically in our brain.” (Verna Myers)

If we live in a diverse community, representation can be achieved when our politicians and law enforcement reflect the demographic of that community. If we do not live in a diverse community, perhaps it is time to ask why.

In 2012 Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, was asked when will there be enough women on the United States supreme court.  She said “When there are nine.” There are nine seats in total, so her response shocked many but, as she went on to explain, there have been nine men filling all the seats since the Judiciary Act of 1869 established the current structure, and nobody has ever raised a question about that.  So, if nine men have held the seats for 150 years, then nine women can hold them for the next 150 years and we’ll be back to a position of parity.  This article is a good read on the subject of bias in the workplace, notably in the legal field: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/nov/30/justice-ginsburg-all-female-supreme-court

Could this logic work elsewhere?  Can you visualize positions of respect and power being held by individuals who are not white, not male? I can.  We have seen flashes of it in our time.  I am just not interested in hearing the views of a white male, unless he is getting his facts and advice from a diverse and qualified team, and his succession plan does not include another white male.  I know that’s extreme, but I want to see awesome folks, who are not just black but every under-represented demographic, hold positions where they can influence society for the better.  We need to set the bar high and strive hard to reach it.

What if there is no-one qualified except the next white male? We should be asking why.  When there are two identical applications, when both candidates are equally qualified, is the non-white sounding name still putting me off?  Is my implicit bias at work?  To be anti-racist, we have to recognize that our schooling, our training and our recruiting may be creating biases that we, as the white people who designed that curriculum, that process, that policy, cannot see; we can take positive steps to create the opportunities that lead to representation of our diverse community by our diverse community but, catch-22, we need the diverse representation to tell us how to take the positive steps to create the opportunities.

Those major events and wake up calls which have inspired, educated, awoken and terrified us have created division.  Each event has offered an opportunity for two or more opposing sides to clash.  Climate change deniers versus the environmental activists.  Police versus demonstrators. Mask-wearers versus Covid deniers.  But each event also offers an opportunity to learn with a listening and open heart.  We have the opportunity to say “I have not walked in your shoes and cannot fully understand what you are going through but our differing views should not divide us.  I am willing to listen and learn and consider your views in an effort to create understanding, if you will do the same for me.”

I have been reading, listening and learning.  I hold a position of privilege. What can I do?  I have some ideas:

  • First, I shall try to do no harm.
  • Second, I shall quietly observe my own bias.
  • Third, I shall acknowledge that others have differing views.
  • Fourth, I shall find a way to do good.
  • Fifth, I shall support the law makers when they are doing good, and hold them accountable when they do not.

We all have some form of power: spending power; support power; voting power; professional power; influencer power; and power over our own perceptions and judgements. From that power we can set our own goals.

I intend to use my support power to promote arts where representation is equal.

I will use my voting power to push forward decision makers who represent the ethnic and gender balance of my own unique community.

I will use my spending power to support businesses that represent diversity.

I will use my professional power to recruit, mentor and employ a diverse team.

I will use my power over my own perceptions to challenge my implicit bias daily.

“While this movement may be started by black people and carried on the backs of black people, it’s going to cross the finish line on the backs of white people.  And it’s important that we educate them, that we challenge them to get involved, to learn what’s going on.  Because the only way we really see it getting all the way through to fruition is going to be if we get white people to bring this to a majority rule.”

Malcolm Jenkins

Don’t be overwhelmed. Don’t feel alone. Whatever steps you can take towards better understanding, no matter how small, are valuable.

“Going forward we will educate ourselves about new cultures, open our minds to experiences other than our own, and Lead With A Listening and Open Heart”

Kalen Allen


What’s your wish?

dandelion nature sunlight

Photo by Nita on Pexels.com

On one of the expat Facebook groups recently, a question was asked.  “My husband has been offered a job in Vancouver. We have a 3 year old and a new baby.  Where should we be looking for houses?” Cue a barrage of great advice and discussion, but mostly “Kitsilano”, “Kits”, “West 4th (Kitsilano)”, “Kits”.

Now, I like Kits. We go there every few months, either travelling through to UBC or parking at the beach to walk to Vanier Park and Granville Island. I love the funky stores, the pretty houses and the coffee shops, the yoga culture and the Sunday morning brunch crowd. It has great access to downtown and an English pub where you can go to watch the footie on the big screen while eating bangers and mash.  There’s a large expat community, and lovely schools.

But then I started wondering about this young family.  Are they city people or country people? How long are they staying here? Do they have family and friends who will visit? What’s their budget? How do they feel about commuting? We were all offering our advice, based on our own experience and needs, but not asking what they need.  So here’s my top questions for those trying to find a place to call home in Vancouver.

1. What’s your time-frame?  Our friends moved to Cyprus for a fixed 2 year contract, and immediately every friend, family member and distant acquaintance rushed to get their holiday booked.  Oh, we all said we were going so they didn’t miss home too much, but who were we kidding?  If you are on a short term contract, you’d better expect to have visitors and you’ll want a house with guest rooms and easy access to transit and tourist sites. Even if this is a permanent move, you can expect a few visitors in the first few years, but the stream tends to steady after a while.  Your time-frame may also determine whether you will choose to rent or buy but we would always recommend renting for the first year anyway, just to be on the safe side.

2. What’s your budget? You’ll get more space in both the house and garden further out from the city.  Port Moody and Coquitlam are great value for families and there are good commuter links. You’ll get even more in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows but commuting downtown starts to become an issue.  If you are going to live so far away from town, can you afford 2 cars because cars and insurance are expensive? But moving a group of toddlers around on public transport can be exhausting in the long term.

3. Who do you want for neighbours? Do you want to live with similar people from the angle of ethnicity, religion, gender, or would you like to experience something really new and exotic? We have friends who lived in West Vancouver and confessed that the majority of their friends were expat Brits, and they were very happy.  The Mayor of Richmond is tackling the difficult issue of persuading shop owners to post signs in both Mandarin and English. Right now, areas of the city are entirely signposted in Mandarin, and there are a few malls in Burnaby which are purely Korean.  Our first house was in a complex where our neighbours were Italian, Québecois, American, Mexican, English, Bosnian, Japanese and, of course, we were all Canadian. Our pot luck suppers were awesome!

4. Who is coming with you? If you are bringing a baby, a teen and your old Mum, you will need to consider their needs.  Childcare is at a premium and each city is having to take some serious action to address the problems.  Schools and opportunities for teens are plentiful but quality varies.  Senior community groups are popular and we have found the healthcare outstanding, but we benefit from work-sponsored health insurance – the basic government sponsored care can be just that – basic.

5. What experience have you had of living overseas and moving house?  If you have been living in the same house for the last 20 years, seeing the same friends and family every day, what kind of support have you put in place to help you make the move? Moving house really is one of the most stressful things you can do, and moving overseas is exponentially more stressful.  Have your children moved schools before? Your moving dates, start-work dates, living plans and visitor schedules should take this factor into account.

6. What do you like to do?  If you are going to miss Digestive biscuits, a pint with the lads and the footie, there are places to find those things.  There is every kind of sports club, from hockey (ice) to kabbadi to soccer to quidditch to hockey (field).  There are dance clubs, arts centres, choirs, foodie clubs – you name it, it is here.  Do your research first, though.  Even if your hobby is mainstream in your home country, it may be different here, and you don’t want to find that you have to commute 2 hours to take part.

There are a thousand things to think about, and a thousand decisions to make. Sometimes you may have to take that leap of faith and trust it will work out.  After all, we did, and it didn’t turn out too bad!


Dancing In The Park


Yesterday we went to Belcarra Park.  We did a nice little hike, had a picnic on the rocks overlooking Burrard Inlet and returned to the park to enjoy the beachcombing, play park and people-watching.  All was peaceful and pleasant.  Then a large group of young adults, who looked to be of Middle Eastern descent, set up a huge pair of speakers and switched on the music at full volume.  Awful, booming bass beats overlaid with ululating vocals echoed all around the park and disturbed the peace.  We huffed and tutted and shot angry glances their way but they didn’t seem to understand the British code for “Shut Up That Foul Racket”.  Then they started dancing – proper organized group dancing, all in a ring holding hands and laughing and joking.  They were having such a good time, people started to watch and then a couple of little Korean ladies got up from their picnic table and started dancing.  Then they moved over to the group and tried copying the moves.  When the song ended everyone laughed and applauded, and they found “Gangnam Style” and everyone danced to that.  By the time we were ready to pack up, they had started playing traditional Korean music and the ladies were teaching the group Korean dance moves.

I love Canada, and our amazing neighbours with all their ethnic diversity, curiosity and sense of fun.  Happy Canada Day!

Sexism in the Movies, or What I Thought About “Oblivion”


Tom Cruise, saving the world. Again.


I watched Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Jaime Lannister and a couple of women. Here’s what I think…

When I watch an action film these days, having read many of the posts by Lucy Hay, I find myself wondering if the roles could have been reversed, and would that have made the film more interesting, or less? In this case, Tom Cruise is working as a technician on an Earth made largely uninhabitable by the last war, approximately 60 years in the future. Humankind has fled the surface for a space station in orbit, the staging area for their onward journey to Titan, one of Jupiter’s moons. He lives in a serene habitation pod complete with swimming pool, suspended above the Earth, with his tower controller, a beautiful woman. While he kits himself out in his tough-guy work uniform and grabs his enormous weapon, ready to fling his aircraft off the platform into a breathtaking dive, Top Gun-style, she drifts around in her silky nightgown, changes into impractically high heels and a figure-hugging dress and goes to work in the shiny control room. He risks his life to maintain the drones that protect the power stations providing power to the space station, while she relays their daily adventures to mission control on the space station, and looks anxious so that we know that his job is really dangerous.

Later in the story, he meets some underground rebel types, led by Morgan Freeman and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau with his hand back on (isn’t Jaime Lannister easier to say?), and discovers another love interest (I’m trying so hard to avoid spoilers). She is an astronaut, launched from Earth in 2017, so I am guessing she’s pretty intelligent, tough and highly trained.

When things start to unravel, as things inevitably do, his live-in partner clings to the way things have been, refusing to leave the pod or believe that everything is not as it seems. She is prepared to betray him to avoid facing reality. During the Big Battle WithThe Machines (sound familiar? When are we going to stop trusting these damn machines?), the astronaut, instead of snatching up another big weapon and helping her man out, takes on the role of looking stunned and gently guiding the elderly and infirm out of the firing line. As a machine catches up with the fleeing crowd and illogically pauses before blasting them all to kingdom come (as they always do), she turns to face her doom before they are rescued by Jaime Lannister with a huge gun and really big shoulder pads. Phew.

Finally we get our explanation in the form of the back story, which tells us that (a) women are more susceptible to memory erasure than men and (b) when you give a guy a chance, he’ll build a really cute cabin by a lake for you.

I liked the film, but it was really predictable and actually quite boring. Here’s what I think would have been more interesting. A tough technician with a dangerous job lives with her tower controller, a smart and likeable technomonkey (think  Lori Petty as Tank Girl and Fran Kranz as Topher Brink). She finds a crashed astronaut and some underground rebel types (led by a man or a woman, with equal numbers of men and women in command positions, but keep Nicolaj because he’s worth it). They have a big fight, back story ensues, etc etc.

Or how about this to stretch Tom Cruise in his acting career? Nicolaj Coster-Waldau plays a tough technician living with his female tower controller but later discovers a new love interest in the crashed astronaut, Tom Cruise. Together they save humanity and build a really cute cabin by a lake.


Vancouver in 3 Days… Ready, Steady, Go!

Running Race

I posted this a few years ago now, and it is need of updating.  The areas east of Gastown, on Water and Cordova Streets are lovely – cute boutique shops and some lovely pubs – well worth a look.  The Aquarium is still one of our favourite places to visit.  Their work on marine restoration and rehabilitation of marine mammals is outstanding, and their promotion of important environmental issues in a fun way is great.  But there are no longer Beluga whales. 

Our friends are coming to visit in July, just staying for 3 days before they take the train over the mountains to Calgary and on to Toronto.  It’s their first trip across The Pond, so the whole family got together to produce our list of What You Need To See In Vancouver In 3 Days.  Here is the email we sent them:

“I chatted with the girls about what they think is essential to get a flavour of Vancouver in 3.5 days, and we all agree that Mountains, Sea, Stanley Park and Granville Market need to be on the list. One thing you need to know about Vancouver is the city centre itself is very small (you can walk across the main part in half an hour).  The areas to the east (anything east of Gastown) are pretty run down, and not the best for visitors if you want to see the pretty parts.  The city is very young, and most people live here because it’s a good place to reach the sea and the mountains.  So, compared to Europe, art galleries, history, architecture (except modern) and shopping are not what you come for.  Vancouver is all about amazing views, friendly (and occasionally high) people, wonderful food, multicultural harmony and incredible wildlife.

The tour bus is a great idea for your first afternoon, and the hop-on, hop-off buses and trolley buses have stops near most downtown hotels.  I checked the route map for the trolley bus to see what it covers, and we’d suggest you hop off at Canada Place and walk to the end for the view, then if you still need to stretch your legs, walk along the sea wall past the Olympic Cauldron to the Westin Bayshore, then hop on and hop off again at the Aquarium which is stunning and has Beluga Whales.  The rest of the tour takes you round Stanley Park, across to Granville Island and into the Eastside (see previous comments – stay on the bus), but we love the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown, and you can walk back through the city if your hotel is near enough, after the obligatory picture of the Gastown Steam Clock.

On your first full day, try Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain, if you feel up to it and if the weather is OK (the views on a clear day are amazing).  Come back via Lonsdale Market for dinner and catch the Seabus back to Waterfront.  Most people find the jet lag means you are up way too early, and exhausted by 3pm, so plan early starts and it’s best to keep the afternoon flexible for the first few days.  Next day, try Granville Island market which means going to Science World and taking the little water ferry down to the market, then across to English Bay for some beach time, or walk from the market round Vanier Park.  You can even continue round to Kitsilano for dinner on the beach.  Then, we recommend a whale-watching tour – Prince of Whales (ouch, bad pun) leaves from the Vancouver waterfront but we went with Seabreeze and they have a shuttle to pick you up from the hotel.  It’s not cheap, but the islands are so beautiful and you are pretty much guaranteed to see killer whales, sea lions and maybe humpback whales and porpoises.  If not that, then a shorter harbour cruise or a kayak tour, or even a stand up paddleboarding lesson.

The Aquarium, tour bus, Grouse Mountain, Capilano and whale tours are all pricey, and if your budget is limited, we know free alternatives to all of them.”

So that is our best option for the Tourist 3-Day Package.  But how about the Potential Immigrant 3-Day Package? Or the Doing Vancouver On A Budget 3-Day Package?  What are your best suggestions?  What did we miss out?

The Olympic Effect

A while back I wrote about the Facebook Effect, which we all know and love, I suppose.  According to Facebook all our friends have much more exciting, fulfilling and generally marvelous lives than us, and it’s sometimes hard to put all that marvelousness into context.  Anyway, today we have been wondering about The Olympic Effect.  A friend in England posted his opinion about the Winter Olympics in his usual diplomatic, thoughtful way; “Watch some toffy-nosed bint sliding downhill on a plank cheered on by all her Hooray-Yah mates?… No thanks!”  And of course, in England, winter sports are, by and large, for those who can afford them; the ones who take a couple of skiing holidays every year, buy expensive equipment and send their children to train overseas.  There’s little chance of getting some support from the Government and no chance of a serious training program through the school.

When we moved here, one of the things we really enjoyed getting used to was the accessibility of sports, equipment and facilities.  How can we explain to someone back in the UK that skiing at Whistler is not really a big deal when it’s just a 2 hour drive up the road, and 2 of the children ski for free through the Government sponsored sports schemes?  Ok, it’s still a big deal because it’s fabulous, beautiful and awesome, but we don’t really bother with Whistler anyway because its more expensive than the 3 ski resorts within 30 minutes of our back door and for novices like us, they’ll do just fine.  When we were flying back from Heathrow after Christmas we were in the line-up behind the British Bobsled Team.  I asked them if they were traveling to Whistler to compete or to train, and they said a bit of both.  “Where do you train in England?” I asked. “I don’t remember hearing about a British sliding centre.”  “There isn’t one,” said one of the athletes, a bit ruefully.  “We mostly train on things like go-carts down a hill.”

So when our friend watches the Winter Olympics, he is likely to be watching well-heeled British athletes who have paid their way to the top of the profession, or are living and training overseas and competing for Team GB when the occasion arises.  They are no less dedicated for all that, but it’s hard to really get behind someone competing in a sport you can’t afford to try.  When we watch our Canadian Olympians we are cheering on people just like us and our children, who all have a chance to make it to the Olympics if they have the talent and the commitment.


Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, Gold and Silver at Sochi 2014

January – It’s A Trap, and Resolutions Doubly So


“It’s a Trap!” shouted Admiral Ackbar in Star Wars, and that’s just what I feel like doing every time I hear another person talk about their New Year Resolution to lose weight, do more exercise, achieve healthy living, cut out the sweet stuff, detox, give up drinking or smoking.  I mean, seriously, people, IT’S JANUARY FFS.  The month of the Worst Day Of The Year, Blue Monday*.


Here’s a bit of free advice.  Make your “good” resolutions in January – I will be more generous, I will volunteer more, I will be 100% present when listening to my children and partner etc etc.  Then you can sit on the sofa, in front of a roaring fire, eating chocolate, drinking wine and making lists of the great stuff you want to do.  Wait until the sun starts thinking about coming out, and you can see the summer approaching before you inflict real discipline on yourself.  It’s depressing enough at this time of year without guilt and failure to add to the mix.  Be kind to yourself.

Here’s some more good ideas from around the internet to feel better without making resolutions you will fail to achieve:

  • When it stops raining, go for a walk.  The fresh air feels so good.
  • Take an umbrella and walk in the rain, and jump in puddles.
  • Eat healthy stuff, homecooked if you can manage it.  That doesn’t mean low calorie, or nasty processed food, it means lovely rich stews with green vegetables and dumplings, crispy baked potatoes, soups – real warming stuff.
  • Get a daylight bulb and take Vitamin D to conquer the blues.
  • Talk to someone if you can’t shake the glooms.  You may not realize how bad it is until you talk about it, or it may help to just have a moan.
  • Book some fun.  Put it in the calendar – silly game night with friends, cinema trips, meals out, days out.  Even if you don’t feel like it, go.
  • Watch silly movies and shows to make you laugh and smile.  Then spread it by smiling at someone else.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Treat your hair, hands and skin well.
  • If you can, get high.  Up a mountain, that is.  On a gray day, it there might even be bright sunshine up there.  If it’s not, there is at least clear air.



*I love the fact that the Wikipedia entry on Blue Monday explains that this was all a load of bunk, but it feels right.  Allegedly, the date was calculated by using many factors, including: weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.  Since the announcement in 2005 the date has been around January 23rd, but this year it got changed to January 6th, which doesn’t work for me.  On January 6th you are still pretty convinced you can manage your resolutions, on a sugar high from Christmas, haven’t broken your gifts yet, and probably haven’t received your credit card statement.  January 23rd 2014, however, is a Wednesday – pretty depressing all by itself, but on top of that, it’s ages until the next public holiday, it’s time to pay that credit card bill, the weather sucks and you are really, really sick of your diet, you’ve missed the gym for a week and feel like all you really need is a glass of wine, a cigarette and a box of chocolates.

Is Vancouver Expensive?


This is a great article from Expatistan – the relative cost of living in a number of different cities around the world.  We went to a seminar while we were considering moving to Vancouver, and one of the speakers explained this concept.  The cost of living is not the same as the cost of buying stuff when on holiday, because you have to take into account your earning potential and all the other boring sundry stuff that comes with living somewhere. At the seminar, the comparison was made between the Big 4 (most popular destinations for emigrants from the UK) – Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and this article seems to back up what was said then, 5 years ago, and what we have found since we moved.  Vancouver is far less expensive than London, and a bit less than Manchester and a bit more than Nottingham – actually around the same as our previous life around a number of small towns in the south and centre of England.

Of course, everyone’s experience is different, but the general idea is, if you get a comparable job and live in a comparable way, this index will show if you are going to be better or worse off.



Are You Superman’s Dad?


I went to see “Man Of Steel”, the latest Superman movie (some good performances, shame about the plot).  Among the good performances was the wonderful Diane Lane as Superman’s Mum.  Kevin Costner was his Dad.  He played Kevin Costner (again), but as his style tends towards the understated, dour and mumbling, he did quite well as Jonathan Kent.  Anyway, this isn’t supposed to be a film review.  The movie got me thinking about what it would be like to be Superman’s Mum or Dad.  We are so used to the image of the quiet Kents raising Clark to hide his powers, control his temper and keep his head down that any alternative seems strange.  But what if Kal-el’s little baby-buggy spaceship had crash landed on someone else’s farm?  The home, perhaps, of a typical North American family.  The kind of family where Dad is a guy who loves sports, beer, bikes and trucks, and would be so excited to find out that his son could wipe the floor with any high school rival, win any sporting trophy, get into any Big League he (or Dad) chose.  The kind of family where Mum does the domestic stuff, defers major decisions to Dad, and takes her daughters to do what girls do.  What if Kal-el was not taught restraint, but pride?

Well, I have some news for all you parents of boys out there.  You ARE Superman’s parents.  There’s a good chance that one day your boy will tower over all of my three girls.  He will be bigger and stronger than his own father, capable of doing real damage, should he so choose.  If you have raised him to glory in his strength, revel in his power and believe in his entitlement and his superiority, then he is pretty much capable of anything.

So how about this for a deal?  I promise I will teach my girls to empathize with boys, to understand that they also have to deal with many challenges as they grow up.  I will teach them not to simper, tease or send mixed messages.  I will teach them that they can have friends who are boys, and enjoy activities which might also be enjoyed by boys, without having to have a boyfriend.  In return, I hope that you will teach your boys empathy, respect for all people, and restraint.  Teach them that girls, and women, make good friends before they become lovers, and the best marriages come from joining hands with your best friend forever.  Teach them that pink is just a colour, and colours don’t belong to anyone.  Teach them that a good education, leading to the ability to hold an interesting conversation, is very attractive.  Teach them that with great power comes great responsibility, and they must not use their physical power to make a point or win an argument.