Do we need more nice boys? Or do we need men who can handle conflict, get dirty, ask hard questions, command respect, even fight?
Can a man do the hard stuff that makes him the pillar of a family and of society?
Not that women aren’t strong, or that men don’t need to be courteous or sensitive. I agree that women need to recover their femininity, but that by no means makes us weak. But we’re not men. And men don’t have a license to be boorish. But they’re not women, either. Even though we might push them in that direction.
Men and women are not the same, in body or in emotional makeup. Science proves it. No matter how our culture tries to convince us to pursue androgyny and perfect equality, we need manly men and feminine women, or we’re missing something.
Our kids are missing something.
The lack of present fathers is epidemic now in America. The boys we raise will have to be strong enough to take fatherhood back, and to know what it means and how it looks even if they haven’t seen it in their homes. How?
You can start with The Squire and the Scroll storybook I wrote and follow up with the Life Lessons for ages 8-12. Better yet, get a group of dads and sons to do the study together, and finish out with the suggested rite of passage ceremony. Build a community of boys with men to follow.
Make intentional efforts to return to nobility. Take a look at Raising a Modern Day Knight on Amazon. Let your boys skin their knees and get dirty (let them EAT dirt, for that matter), and encourage them to work hard, physically and intellectually. Get the older guys into Wild at Heart and similar studies/activities. Scouts or Trail Life can help, too.
And maybe watch the movie Open Range, or The Greatest Game Ever Played, or Second Hand Lions. If they’re more the creative type, let them watch Switchfoot’s Fading West, with surfing and songwriting. Those movies start great conversations about what a man should be.
And remember, if you’re raising boys, to consider the grown-ups they’ll become.
After all, boys won’t be boys—boys will be men.