Rick Hepi’s Video

One of our fantastic Ambassadors and White Ribbon Riders Rick Hepi shared some of his memories of growing up with a perpetrator of violence and the impact that it had on his life. After witnessing violence as a child Rick resolved never to treat a partner that way. He recalled the fear he and his sister felt when his father was violent and the difficulty he had in communicating with his dad, who could be emotionally and physically abusive. Later in life, Rick’s dad changed and became a great grandfather. Those experiences shaped how Rick raised his own family. He wanted to ensure that he was a good father from the start and not just a good grandfather. By showing his family he loved them and listening to his kids he stopped the cycle of abuse.


Show Them Who’s Boss? You Love Them

When kids hear this outdated advice, they’re getting an idea of manhood as being in control of their partners, family, even their friends. This can lead to men mistaking fear and intimidation for love and respect. The strongest relationships are those that respect the people in our lives as their own people. Particularly, it means not assuming there are set roles or rules that give men power over women. Showing that you care creates better relationships and teaches the behaviour you want your children to learn.

Boys and men are often handed down ideas of manhood that cast them as being ‘the boss’. Healthy relationships consist of equal partners not one person being in control of the other or the wider family. Being in a family or a relationship is not like being in a business or the army. Being in a family and a relationship is about communication, compromise, and compassion. Healthy masculinity is about sharing with others, challenging yourself to change, and being brave enough to recognise you don’t need to be in control. Relationships are not competitive power grabs where one person is dominant and takes charge, they require collaboration and respect to thrive.


Kids Should Keep Quiet Be Heard

When a kid asks a question, they’re reaching out to us to learn something. When a child engages in play, they are learning important skills that teach them how to behave in the world. When a child cries, they are asking for comfort. Kids ask us for attention because they are learning how to navigate the world and build relationships – they need to be able to speak and be heard, so they can learn and grow.

Children are naturally curious, but they are very sensitive to parental criticism. Without being able to speak and be listened to we can close down their views of themselves and what the world can offer them. Good advice is to listen to your kids, ask follow up questions, and engage them in some critical thinking. Show the boys in your life that it’s okay to cry and to be silly. Help to nurture those behaviours that will let your children lead a well-rounded, fulfilling, and open life.  


Comments are closed.