One of the first things a mechanic has to do when working on a car is to raise it up. This is normally accomplished with a jack or lift of some sort. Cars need to be raised up to get them running at full speed. When my car gets lifted up, I know, after a little work, it is going to be running better soon!
Men are a lot like cars. They need to be lifted up. Why should we be concerned about building and lifting men? The worth and value of men and boys are under attack in today’s world. With just a little work, we can help change this. Please read on!
Society is facing major losses because men are no longer seen as valued, relevant, or important to society. One only needs to turn on the television or download a movie to see the decline of fathers and men in our culture.
Seth Rogen continues to make millions portraying a troubled 20-something with no ambition, no drive, and plans to live in his parent’s basement forever. If he (or other characters like him) has any ambition at all, it is to get a new video game or score with a girl. Young men are now portrayed as brainless, sex-starved men with no future.
What is worse is that you can hardly find a portrayal of any man as competent and skilled in things that connect with real people. Since most of us are not British spies, “Lethal Weapons”, “Die Hards,” or detectives, the only men we see in so-called real-life portrayals are bumbling idiots who are always messing up something important.
Men are getting a bad rap! And the impact of this is not pretty!
Psychologists, sociologists, and researchers have caught the trend and they are sounding an alarm. A review of scholarly articles and books finds titles like: The Demise of Guys, Fatherless America, and Time Magazine’s recent article, “Men Are Obsolete.” What these scholars are all finding is that men are failing in almost every category and it is not a trend we can continue to just turn and give a wink.
Consider just these statistics on the impact of an absent or failing father:
- 20 million children in the U.S. are living without a father.
- Children without fathers are 4x more likely to be raised in poverty.
- 90% of all runaway children come from a home without a father.
- Fatherless children are 10x more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol and 71% of adolescent substance abusers come from a home without a father present.
- 80% of children in psychiatric hospitals come from fatherless homes and children without fathers are twice as likely to commit suicide.
- Children without fathers in the home are more likely to get in an accident, have higher chronic asthma rates, more headaches, and greater speech problems.
- In school, fatherless children are 9x more likely to drop out of school and are likely to be behind in math and reading.
- Children without fathers make up 70 % of youth in correctional facilities, are 11x more like to engage in violent behavior, and are 20% more likely to be incarcerated. Sixty percent of rapists were raised in fatherless homes.
- 70% of teen pregnancies happen in a home without a father.
Are you concerned now? You should be! Please do not think this does not affect you. Ask yourself, who is your college-bound, high-achieving daughter going to marry? Who do you want to raise your grandkids? We all need to act. We can all do something.
Here are some practical suggestions to start making a difference in lifting men today:
Respect: Teach boys and young men about respect. Did you realize that most of the current generation of boys and young men have no concept of what it means to be a respectable man or a gentleman? The people they look to as heroes are often anything but mannerly and sometimes are not even real. It is time to return to teaching basic manners and common courtesy. When is the last time a boy was helped to hold a door open for you? Teach him now! Let’s instill some chivalry back into our boys!
Appreciation: No matter how good we think we are, we need to be better at expressing appreciation for the men and boys in our lives. Men need to hear it, feel it, and know it. Too many good many are flailing because they feel unimportant, devalued, and not needed. Mark Twain once said he could go for a month on a good compliment. Let’s show more appreciation for our men!
Virtue: Young men today are being bombarded by sexualized and graphic images at earlier and earlier ages. With up to 35% of the internet being pornography, and with greater accessibility to this content because of tablets and smartphones, boys are being thrown into a cesspool of graphic sexual images that stunts their ability to have real relationships and worthy aspirations. And if they are not doing porn, they are wasting hours on mindless video games! We need to get them involved in more wholesome pursuits and get some virtuous relationship experience. Let’s get them off the couch, out of the basement, and out with real people!
Work Ethic: Boys and men who are given everything and not expected to contribute will not likely pick up those skills on their own, especially in a female-friendly society that does not value them. Let’s teach boys to work by giving chores and yard work. Let’s find something like paper routes and the teen lawn mowing business. Boys need to learn to work, to be honest, and to feel the sense of accomplishment from a job well done.
Media: Millions of dollars are spent each day on media content that trivializes, marginalizes, and demeans men and boys. Let’s all refuse to spend our money on this trash and insist on portrayals of competent, hard-working, and qualified men. Let’s replace some of our superheroes and super-spies with real men. Real heroes.
We all have some lifting to do—maybe even some heavy lifting—to build up the men and boys in our lives. Society needs us to do it! Families need us to do it! Husbands desperately want us to do it! Boys are counting on us to do it!
Let’s get to work and start lifting!