Little Bro, you’re about to embark on a new chapter, one that is equally exciting and terrifying, and I am SO proud of you.
But there are a few things I want to discuss before you rush off to bigger and better things. Listen, I know we talk all the time about what it means to treat a woman with respect, but when you’re in college, I won’t be there to give you (your FAVORITE) Big Sis lectures. I won’t know who your friends are. I won’t know every situation you get into. But I hope you always practice good judgement. And before you toss that cap into the sky, there are a few things I want to remind you of.
Respect is not something that is earned. You give it to everyone. Period.
Respect should be a guiding force in your life. It is given to those you disagree with. It is given to those who challenge you. It is given to strangers you haven’t met.
Respect is given to women who tell you no. It is given to women who flirt with you. It is given to women who flirt with you and then later tell you no. You do not get to pick and choose who deserves your respect. You don’t have to LIKE every girl you come across, but liking and respecting are not mutually exclusive.
And during your time in college, you will meet people who were never taught what it means to respect women.
You’ll hear conversations where a girl is labeled a bitch because she rejected some pissed off dude. You’ll meet boys your age who talk about getting girls drunk to hook up with. Don’t ever think these things are acceptable. Don’t ever think these things should be status quo.
Do not ever think of alcohol as an excuse.
No, I’m sorry Jamie Foxx, but you cannot blame it on the booze. Sure, college is a place where binge-drinking will seem normal (it’s not). For the first time, you’ll be in a space where people aren’t watching every move you make. And with this, an overwhelming sense of freedom will suddenly be upon you.
You’ll be around people who encourage you to party. If don’t want to, don’t. But if you do? That’s also okay. You’re growing up. You’re going to try out new things. You’re going to learn about your own limits. No one is expecting you to be a Puritan.
Most of us have been too drunk at some point in our lives. Most of us have done something dumb or foolish that we ultimately regretted as soon as the hangover kicked in. And baby bro, you’ll probably have a few nights like that.
But alcohol is never a valid excuse for harmful behavior.
You better believe that consequences are real and once you sober up you are NOT off the hook for what you did drunk.
And by the way, consent is not just the absence of no.
You need someone to verbally say yes. Do not push. Do not plead. Do not project your expectations on someone who might not be ready. There is no rush. Make sure the women in your life are comfortable. Let them know that. Because, pro tip, nothing is sexier than a man who can make a woman feel safe and secure.
College is going to be so fucking fun. You’ll have your hardships, finals that make you want to rip your eye balls out, nights when you just want to call it quits and come home. That’s all okay. That’s all normal. But you’re also going to have the opportunity to grow and learn even more about yourself. You’re going to form friendships that could last a lifetime. You’re a good person. It makes me proud to be your sister.
One of the things that makes me most proud is that you don’t treat women well because you have sisters. You treat them well because they are human beings. And you recognize that.
And if we had more men like you, college campuses would be much safer places. So do your part. Lead by example. Step in when you see something wrong happening.
Congratulations on getting out of high school alive. You did it. I love you, kiddo.