Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Boys Will be Boys… Humph- Let Me Show You Differently!

Written by: on April 2, 2023

Gendered stereotypes tend to have an innocent until proven guilty vibe and they make me very tired. Let’s start with the line boys are better than girls at sports. My daughter and I would tell you differently. Although her and I’s chosen sports differ.. here are two examples to debunk that awful line with us in particular. Finnlea (my daughter) is in second grade and personally scored 34 points yesterday for her team. She out scored all genders on the court in our town yesterday across multiple grades and continues to do this week after week. Even though it’s an extremely proud mom moment and I think she has a bright future in Division 1 basketball…Gender has nothing to do with her success. She found success in this sport because of not only her personal ability to laser focus…but she puts countless hours in at the gym to hone in on her craft. If her trainer asks her to do 10 reps- she will double it. She’s not done training for the day until she cant stand up anymore and she does this every day without fail even at home until its bedtime.  She is also on four basketball teams. FOUR. For me personally, my sport was Tennis. I took great pride in beating every opponent in my home town boy or girl. I was the MVP for my school and took the sport very seriously. Just like my daughter Finn when I was in school I spent hours on the court practicing and critiquing my craft until I had it down to a point where you could not beat me if I could help it.

Laser Focus. Determination. Consistency. Drive. That is the definition of mastering your craft. Not gender – ever.

Pragya Agarwal delves into the topic of unconscious bias and its repercussions on society in her book Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias. Agarwal uses her own study and the interviews of others to show how our minds are predisposed to form opinions based on our prior experiences; this leads to decisions that are often biased without our even realizing it.

“Until we understand our personal biases and why we have them, it’s virtually impossible to challenge ourselves and move beyond our old thought patterns.”(1)

Agarwal elaborates on the cultural and historical foundations of these biases and their far-reaching effects on decision-making and interpersonal dynamics in the workplace and beyond. We are more prone to make judgments that are not only unjust but also potentially harmful to people who are touched by them if we fail to recognize the presence of prejudice in our brains. By reflecting on one’s own life and considering one’s social position, the author suggests that readers might become more aware of the biases that may affect their thoughts and actions.

“Unconscious biases can lead to decisions that are neither fair nor just since they run counter to impartiality.” (2)

The book recommends having frank conversations amongst people of different varying backgrounds so that you can take a proactive stance against prejudices.  The first step in breaking down barriers to gender and racial equality is cultivating a community in which everyone’s voice is heard and respected. One thing that the author mentions is when you have a wrong – owning it and doing better. For example, Starbucks shut down their entire operation (150,000 people) after having racial injustice at their store from a manager in Philadelphia. Sometimes taking action has to hurt to get the point across on how serious of a topic we are all talking about. The amount of sales that they lost was staggering – but the reason behind it was of the upmost importance. Im extremely proud of their quick actions to educate.

“By recognizing our own internal bias, we can create a space where people feel comfortable enough to talk openly, be vulnerable and work together as a team towards shared goals.”(3)

Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias is both informative and thought-provoking as it provides an insight into our everyday lives that can help change our actions fir society as a whole, making it both educational and thought-provoking. It promotes reflection that develops compassion for others who are different from each other and, in turn, ensures that people of all backgrounds and identities have an equal opportunity at success.

“Regardless of where we come from or who we are, everyone deserves an equal shot at success and achieving their dreams.” (4)


  1. Pragya Agarwal, Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias (London: Bloomsbury Sigma, 2020), Chapter 2. 
  2. Pragya Agarwal, Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias (London: Bloomsbury Sigma, 2020), Chapter 1. 
  3. Pragya Agarwal, Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias (London: Bloomsbury Sigma, 2020), Chapter 4. 
  4. Pragya Agarwal, Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias (London: Bloomsbury Sigma, 2020), Chapter 7. 

About the Author

Alana Hayes

Alana is a mother to four beautiful children and wife to a farmer in Texas. She is an avid world traveler with a heart for both the world and education. She is the president of the nonprofit Against the Grain Texas where they focus on providing education to children overseas and at risk adults in the states. To date the nonprofit has given almost $100,000 to individuals around the world. In her free time she loves spending meaningful time with people and reading to further her personal education.

3 responses to “Boys Will be Boys… Humph- Let Me Show You Differently!”

  1. mm Chad McSwain says:

    Hey Alana! Thanks for sharing about Finnlea! Wow…she has a bright future because of her hard work and determination…thanks for sharing this.
    Knowing what you do from Sway, how will you and Finnlea speak to the unconscious bias that you will undoubtably encounter in sports? Or, will you use it to hustle some boys out of their lunch money in a pick up basketball game 🙂

    • Alana Hayes says:

      Your response made me LOL. My job as her parent is to make sure she doesn’t have a big head, and continues to lift up her teammates whether they be a boy or girl. She is naturally an encourager so thats not super hard….

      However, like I said in my post… some lessons are hard lessons to learn before you understand your unconscious bias…. and make a change. So if she hustles the little boys… I will be proud of that too! As long as after she’s done she fist bumps and is a great sport!

  2. Kristy Newport says:

    I know that this is your heart with Fred’s:
    “Regardless of where we come from or who we are, everyone deserves an equal shot at success and achieving their dreams.” (4)

    Your daughter is a hoopster!! wow! I have no idea how she is able to make all those practices and keep up with the game schedule! My sons baseball schedule keeps me running! I would love to share this blog with my children. If Finn is out there making it count….I know that my children can as well!
    Doesn’t Baylor (TX) have a great women’s basketball team ? I pray the Lord will be with Finn as she grows and pursues her passions. There is nothing that will stop that Spit Fire Girl….she has a mom and dad that back her 100%
    I am curious if you have seen any bias that comes with your boys and some of their needs (vision)? I know that they have the best mom in the world…advocating for them at every turn!

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