“Much has been said and written in recent years about the challenges of men and boys. A sampling of book titles, for example, includes “Why There Are No Good Men Left,” “The Demise of Guys,” “The End of Men,” “Why Boys Fail,” and “Manning Up” … a common thread running through these analyses is that in many societies today men and boys get conflicting and demeaning signals about their roles and value in society.” ~ D. Todd Christofferson
by Pete Ferguson
While it is easier to sit back and allow our wives, girlfriends, mothers, teachers, and society fulfill our role, there is much for us to gain personally and as a society by manning up and taking charge.
This is not a post on equality of the sexes in the traditional sense – women surpassed us long ago. This post is a call to action – we should be equally pulling our weight.
This past weekend, while attending a function with youth, I observed young women with many goals, good grades, and ambition. Within the same age group, I observed young men lost in a virtual world of video games.
Though surrounded by reality, the young men could not stop talking about the games they had left behind. Whether captivated in front of a computer or mobile screen, the games have them held hostage to violence, misconceptions of women, and a false sense of security and acceptance.
While generally girls do mature faster than boys, I fear these young men have too great of a distance to close in order to catch up and the early hooks of addiction are established and – if not counteracted – may lead down darker paths of enslavement.
“In the United States [it] is reported: “Girls outperform boys now at every level, from elementary school through graduate school. By eighth grade, for instance, only 20 percent of boys are proficient in writing and 24 percent proficient in reading. Young men’s SAT scores, meanwhile, in 2011 were the worst they’ve been in 40 years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), boys are 30 percent more likely than girls to drop out of both high school and college. … It is predicted that women will earn 60 percent of bachelor’s, 63 percent of master’s and 54 percent of doctorate degrees by 2016. Two-thirds of students in special education remedial programs are guys.” ~ The Demise of Guys
We are products of our environment. Many have been credited with saying that we will be the same person today in 5-10 years from now except for the books we read and the people we meet. I’m not sure what Mage, Warlock, Shaman, and Death Knight (World of Warcraft – I had to look it up) have to offer any of us in improving our real world.
On the same token, I’m not sure what positive attributes are gained by knowing the cast of Jersey Shore or other reality TV stars. In one short year, however, I’ve made huge advances in my network and knowledge by associating with other bloggers, reading great business books, and attending live events.
I am constantly surprised at the potential of my children. Mark (14) never took much to sports. Instead, he excels in being social and in music, both the cello and piano. He is only a Freshman, but takes first row – and often first chair – cello positions in school and competition orchestras.
Last Friday I took him to the gun range, and aided by a friend who is an excellent instructor, Mark shot a handgun for the first time in his life with a very tight grouping. He stepped up to a larger caliber and did just as well, if not even better. I had limited him previously, thinking he wasn’t strong enough or would dislike the recoil.
This summer, he and I biked over 200 miles in pursuit of a scout merit badge. He struggled on our first 10 mile ride, it took us almost two hours. But by the end of the summer we completed a 50 mile ride – with several sight-seeing stops, bike problems, and lunch – in about six hours.
Like all of my posts, I’m talking more to what I need to do to improve rather than trying to lecture you on how you should change – I hope you see it in this light.
Put aside fears and doubts, and take up challenges and new adventures. Your mind and body will both be the better for it.
If you are one of my many female readers, I hope you will encourage the boys and men in your life to rise up and be all they are destined to be, or tell me what I should be doing better!
“… the world and women are crying for men, men who are developing their capacity and talents, who are willing to work and make sacrifices, who will help others achieve happiness …” ~ Christofferson