More and more these days, it seems that we, the modern day adults, are placing obstacles and roadblocks into the path of our youth, particularly our young men and boys. This may be intentional or unintentional, but the results and consequences are the same. We are raising a generation of men that have no idea or concept to what manliness, or masculinity, is. It is not toxic or a non-politically correct trait, but a simple manifestation of our DNA and centuries of tradition and customs. There are several areas that have combined to bring us to this point, each of their own most likely innocent enough, but when combined, have led to the point we find ourselves today.
Lack of Male Role Models and Examples
The shift in societal norms over the last 4 decades has unknowingly caused a trickledown effect on the masculinity of the modern male. The rise in acceptance of divorce, and most recently, planned single motherhood, has left a void in what once was a traditional role of a man. We were raised by our fathers, who had been raised by theirs, we grew up, got married, had kids and proceeded to pass down those lessons we learned.
Now, this is not to say there aren’t women out there doing a fantastic job raising families on their own because there are. But for the sake of this article, let’s focus on those young men and boys that we, as men, have noticed are missing that male figure in their lives.
As the ‘traditional’ family unit has given way to many diverse definitions, the fact still remains that young boys are missing that male role model and example and are exhibiting more feminine traits and thought processes and this has overridden years of genetic on cultural programming to learn certain things. Basic survival skills, mechanical skills, outdoor skills, and the ‘learn by example’ of being an accountable, responsible provider and co-leader of a family unit have been surpassed.
Again, not that women can’t do these things, but it is easier and more effective with a male/female parenting team to provide balance and diversity. The Boy Scouts of America used to be the flagship organization to bring young boys and adult men together in a learning environment and in a bonding atmosphere that allowed for the transfer of both knowledge and tradition.
The Death of the Boy Scouts
A whole paper could be written about the decline of the BSA, and it has been, by one of its most famous Eagle Scouts, Mike Rowe. He wrote in his article …
-“And right now, there’s a perception that The Boy Scouts have gone soft. That’s the real tragedy, Sharon, because I can’t think of anything more needed in our country today, than a youth organization that offers kids the same experience I underwent in the basement of Kenwood Church. Why? Because our country’s current obsession with “safe spaces” is destroying character faster than the Boy Scouts of today can build it.”
And he’s right. We have removed the male figures that would insist that a young man learn how to handle a pocket knife, build a fire, cook over an open fire and withstand hardships, albeit supervised, to ensure a young man that he can survive more than he thinks he can.
Hopefully, the handful of men reading this will unite together soon and demand a return to these types of organizations and take back the education of our young men.
Female Majority in School Systems
How many of us that are over 40 remember having a male principal, male shop and gym and math teachers that could stop a room full of horse playing students with a look or a word? For those of us over 50, you probably remember that principal or teacher walking the halls with a paddle at the ready to make that ass sting if needed. They maintained a certain level of respect, maybe through fear, that ensured a balance to the empathetic female teachers that would nourish us and teach us. We had the freedom to be rowdy teenagers, but at the same time learned the valuable lessons of accountability, consequences, and when and where to be a jackass.
I observed this phenomenon just a few years ago as a Cub Scout leader. Cub Scouts are 6-10 year old boys, and the majority of leaders are Moms. Dads traditionally take over at the Boy Scout stage and take it from there. However, I was involved and when I walked into a meeting, it would be chaos on a supersonic level. The women would be trying their best to herd the cats, but all it took was for me to use a slightly elevated volume of voice and one word. “GENTLEMEN!” and the room would fall silent and the boys would take their seats and eyes on me.
My wife is a substitute teacher and she correlates this observation daily. The current school systems have forced men out, in part due to fears of constant sexual allegations and abuse allegations and partly because of mandated quotas for certain demographics to hold administrative positions. With no fear of any form of discipline being applied, the kids run amok and the teachers are powerless to enforce or demand compliance.
In fact, just yesterday, my wife taught at the one local elementary school that still has a male principle. She said the difference was astounding. She remarked that it was quiet, well-mannered in all classes and a certain organized ‘flow’ occurred throughout the day.
We Are the Reason and the Answer
How did we get here and how do we fix it? Simple, we got here by being the clouds that produced these snowflakes. We are the ones who gave them trophies just for showing up. We told them their feelings were more important than their actions, and their dreams would come true if they simply followed them. Now, there are dissatisfied young adults with no tolerance for beliefs that conflict with their own, and no real or realistic understanding of how life actually works.
How do we stop this? Simple. We return to being the adults and being the teachers. We stop being helicopter parents. We let our kids play. Outside. With the responsibility of a skinned knee and a real chance of losing a game and being the loser; learning how to both win and lose with honor. Let them fail, but help them fail forward. Let them get the bad grade, and then hold them accountable. Don’t let them have everything they want.
Obviously we want to keep our kids safe and protected from harm, but it’s time, especially for young males, to have those role models, find that mentor, go into the woods and learn that hunger, thirst, wet socks, cold and a lack of Wi-Fi will not kill them, but will make them stronger, cleverer, and better able to withstand the hardships of life to come.
We simply need to be the exemplars, the teachers, the leaders and the ones to make the hard lessons stick.
Have some core values, have honor, have an obligation to the youth and pass it along.
Join us as we move ahead.
Chief Chuck Whitworth
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