dr Chad Sato
Columnist for the Hawaii Herald
If you are reading this article, we would have just celebrated Tango no Sekku, Boys’ Day, on Thursday May 5th. However, as early as 1948, the Japanese government decided to convert this national holiday into Children’s Day or Kodomo no hi. Celebrating the child’s personality, innocence, happiness, and gratitude to his mother was considered more important than honoring a boy’s good and bad qualities. For my Girls’ Day article in March, I was able to feature Jane Kurahara, who shared some insights to inspire future generations. To balance the energies, I wanted to do the same for my Boys’ Day article, but I didn’t get a chance to interview a 95-year-old “boy” who didn’t feel old enough to share his insights. Humility is a noble quality to embody, and I thought it appropriate to take this time to highlight the good and the not-so-good of boyhood.
It’s pretty bizarre being a boy and yet there was and is so much pressure on a boy to become a “man”. I remember my mother and grandma telling me several times to “be a good boy” and “don’t shame the family”. As teenagers, all pretty girls liked the supposed “bad boys” and not the “nice boys.” Saying you’re nice and a good friend was like the kiss of death back when I wanted to be more than just friends. I remember wanting to answer internally, “I can be a bad guy, too,” but the responsible “good boy” conditioning in me stayed calm. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who had this conflict, but I also remember that when my son was four years old, his preschool teacher told him to “use his words and not his fists.” ‘ To Cope With Boys a year or two older, I felt an ache in my heart and stomach. So, this article is dedicated to boy energy and how being good mixed with bad all the time can lead to becoming a man.
First, I want to characterize the meaning of boy energy. The tradition in Hawaii to celebrate Boys’ Day is to hang koinobori, large carp snakes that appear to “swim” in the trade winds, from poles in front of houses. The carp in Japan symbolizes male energy, steadfastness, devotion and longevity. Another symbol shown during Boys’ Day is musha-ningyo (samurai dolls dressed in body armor and armed with weapons and helmets). Boy energy is one of physicality and the need to move. A boy’s brain develops fine motor skills more slowly than a girl’s, so the desire to sit down and draw or write for long periods of time is usually lost in toddlers and adolescent boys. Running around outside, climbing trees, jumping and playing brawls is more their jive. Boys also tend to have much more robust energy, and if you’re a parent you know full well that when your son isn’t running or burning a few calories, he gets into all sorts of trouble and trouble. So the titles “Waru Bozu” and “Rascal” are reserved for those guys who just can’t sit still and wreak all kinds of havoc.
By harnessing the power of boy energy, you can channel that energy to be focused and driven as you compete, achieve goals, and overcome obstacles to succeed. However, gaining these positive traits and attributes requires life experiences, relationships and challenges that a boy must endure, ultimately leading to his unique and authentic self. Life is all about growth, but it is how a boy deals with adversity that will determine whether he grows up or not. If a boy can learn from his mistakes, is guided by older positive male role models, and does not shy away from challenges, but rises to them, he is on his way to becoming a “man.”
according to dr Kurt Smith, DO and Licensed Counselor, there are several qualities a boy can master on his journey to becoming a man. I have chosen three to illustrate:
- Take responsibility and choose their thoughts and actions – mistakes happen in life and that’s how we all learn. A boy who doesn’t apologize but takes full responsibility for what happened helps him grow into a man. Consider and choose what kind of man they want to be, which is rooted in their values and morals. Boys who set guidelines for their lives eventually become men of substance.
- Security and determination – Boys having clarity about what kind of partner, career and life they want will help them grow into men. Knowing who they are and aligning themselves with their highest values can make decision-making easier and more effortless.
- Strive for integrity – their word is paramount and speak what they mean and their ability to honor agreements and commitments.
Learning to be a man is a great thing to strive for, but I can’t let go of the power of being a bad boy. Certain qualities of being “bad” per se can also go into making a boy into a man. So why do young women like evil? One reason could be that women need a challenge and have a secret desire to change a man or be the one who helped a “bad boy” become good. The qualities of bad boys that can turn them into men are their ability to face conflict head on and find opportunities in difficult situations to improve their livelihood. They are not afraid to speak up and confront others as they don’t care what others think of them. They don’t shrink or feel ashamed, but stand up for what they think is right. There are three top bad boy qualities that if embraced could create a better version of themselves.
- To be unapologetically authentic – to be real that seems effortless. Know who he is, speak and do what he wants. Staying grounded and centered no matter what society deems normal shows his inner strength. Possessing this quality is not about imitating someone else or adding to yourself – but rather developing self-acceptance by removing any influences that don’t align with your inner knowing. Don’t compare yourself to others and follow what feels right to you. Be a radical rebel against your conditioned self to do things everyone thinks you should be doing. Choose YOU, and the more you connect with your intuition and gut feeling, the more you will make choices that define YOU.
- Self-confidence almost to the point of arrogance – self-confidence coupled with self-confidence results in swag. It shows in your body language, your tone of voice, your eyes, and an unwavering belief in everything you say and do. Full of belief and trust in your values, beliefs and limitations to the point where you prioritize them over others. Don’t let others pass you by, and this is achieved through a genuine adherence to your values and standards. Also, never feel sorry for yourself, instead build confidence by practicing it almost to the point of embodying it. Monitor your inner dialogue and see where you are sabotaging yourself. You’ll probably fail a lot at first, but the more you decide to overcome that fear, you’ll build your confidence muscle.
- Shamelessly selfish – put your needs ahead of everyone else. Self love starts with putting yourself first. The best analogy is when you’re flying on an airplane, the flight attendant will always tell you in an emergency, always put on your oxygen mask first before helping anyone else. Like everything in life, if you get too extreme and too self-centered, people will be turned off. So the trick is to put yourself first and stay consistent, knowing that family and loved ones may not like you at first if it’s not your usual habit. Become an authority in your life, and if you don’t harm anyone by doing what’s best for you, you will filter out those who don’t really care about you. If you’re a nice guy, build up some healthy selfishness and that way you’ll be appreciated instead of being taken for granted. Until you value yourself, others will want to do the same for you.
Learn to accept both the perceived good and the bad. There are always some unnoticed advantages of obstacles, as well as unnoticed disadvantages, when things just happen so easily. I’ve learned that when you own and take responsibility for the qualities you envy or dislike in others, you have a greater chance of embodying that energy as well. The mindset you need to build is to be aware of your thoughts and actions and stay consistent. Also, be patient and kind to yourself; because just like Rome, it wasn’t built in a day.
In conclusion, I had the privilege of corresponding with my 95 year old pen pal via what we would now call “snail mail” and these are the revealing words he shared with me: “My delight! Live a happy and healthy life; one day at a time.” So much wisdom in one succinct sentence – choose happiness, well-being and stay present each day and don’t take your life for granted. Live every moment and appreciate all of the relationships you’ve curated over the years. I am honored and humbled to have connected with such a special “boy” who through his aloha is helping others to be mindful and stay safe.
dr Chad Sato graduated from UCLA in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and earned his doctorate in chiropractic with honors from Life Chiropractic College West in 1998. Sato established his practice, Aloha Chiropractic (alohachiro.biz) in Manoa Valley, O’ahu on October 1, 1999. He is a sought-after educator, speaker, author, and mind-body specialist who helps people find new levels of self-determination when it comes to their health and well-being by staying present with their body signs, making appropriate life choices, and using stress rather than managing it.