Here's a fascinating column by Creek Stewart called Time to Get Tough! Save America's Masculinity, reprinted with permission. I found it raised some superb points.
I get a lot of calls from parents who have questions about the survival courses we offer here at Willow Haven. Many parents are concerned whether I think their boy(s) will enjoy the course.
I remember one mother who said, “All he likes to do is play video games, and I’m not sure he’d enjoy being outdoors the whole time.”
I just chuckled and replied the way I always do, “Trust me. Put him in the woods with a knife in his hand, and he’ll be playing his own real-life video game. Give him the adventure he’s trying to fulfill with a game.”
I’m not a parent, and I won’t pretend to know how to raise children. But I am a guy and was once a boy and I know what boys want – and what their masculine spirit needs. I also know that if we don’t let them be boys, then the survival of masculinity in America is at stake. Help save masculinity and the American man by encouraging the following ideals with the boys in your life.
Get Into the Wild
Boys want adventure. They want to be a part of wild nature. They love the challenge that being in nature presents.
If your boy is trapped in suburbia, get him into the woods once in a while before his masculinity is suburbanized. Suburbia will kill the adventurous spirit in even the most manly man if he can never venture into the wild. Men and boys need nature and the wild adventure that it offers. Let them experience the organized chaos that only nature can provide. Give them a landscape view instead of one across a remote control. Let them throw rocks, wade in creeks, fish, chase small game animals, explore paths, hunt for arrowheads, run barefoot, build forts and hike mountains. Nature will take care of the rest.
Let Them Play with Things That Can Hurt Them
Yes, let them play with dangerous things. Boys want to be warriors, soldiers and hunters. Warriors, soldiers and hunters carry weapons. All boys want to play with weapons, and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s natural, and that masculine desire should not be stifled.
So many wonderful lessons can be taught while training a young man to properly handle dangerous tools and weapons such as knives, bow and arrow, guns, swords, fireworks, sling shots, clubs, spears, frog gigs, axes, chainsaws, machetes and tomahawks. Boys can learn discipline, self control and restraint. More importantly, they learn respect – for the tools, themselves and authority. Under watchful guidance and supervision, let them live their own video game and play with dangerous things.
Encourage Heroic Chivalry
Boys want to be heroes. They intrinsically want to save the girl and the world.
My intention is not to offend the new breed of women who resist heroic chivalry, but I am unapologetic in my belief that boys should be trained to be men who want to provide for and defend women. Teach them to be the knight in shining armor who fights to save the princess. There is a sense of pride and self-worth that only comes from providing for and taking care of a woman. Don’t steal this amazing feeling away from a boy who wants to be some girl’s hero.
I completely agree that women should have equal rights, but I still also believe that men should still be expected to provide for, serve, protect and defend their princess. It’s crazy that this behavior offends some people. Not raising boys to become men who are encouraged and expected to behave this way robs them of their natural desire to be heroes. Boys should not be scared to display heroic and chivalrous behavior because someone may be offended. It’s OK for boys to be boys and girls to be girls.
Encourage boys to serve, respect, protect and provide for the women (mothers, sisters, wives, grandmas, aunts, girlfriends) in their lives. Give them the opportunity to develop their inner hero early. This country needs manly heroes who unapologetically respect, serve, provide for and defend their women.
Let Them Compete
Competition among males is natural. It is certainly one thing we have in common with our wild male counterparts in nearly all other living species. We (men and boys) are wired to compete with one another. Discouraging that competitive spirit discourages masculinity.
Help the boys in your life find the skills and talents they are good at, and encourage them to hone those skills and gifts through healthy competition. Let us puff up and display our plumage and crash our antlers together and pound our chest. You may see it as a little ridiculous, but it’s a unique part of us that makes us men.
Encourage Hard Work
Boys and men find value, self-worth and identity through hard work. Teach the boys in your life to work hard.
America needs hard-working men who take pride in their work. We need to encourage boys to work hard with their hands instead of holding their hands out. Not working is not manly. A man can work hard even if he’s out of work. It can be hard work to find a job. Set a hard-working example for the boys in your life and expect the same from them.
The survival of the American man is at stake. There seems to be an underlying movement that discourages masculinity. I see it clearly in my own generation and those behind me. It’s perpetuated by mainstream media and almost every sitcom on every television channel. I’m afraid we’ve become numb to the demasculinizing of American men. We don’t need a new modern version of man. What we need if for our new men to be raised to embrace good, old-fashioned manliness.
Remember it’s not IF, but WHEN.