When my son was little one of the first things I taught him was to look a person in the eye and give a firm handshake. I taught him to open a door for me, to walk on the outside of the sidewalk when we walked together and to look after those who were considered more fragile than he was. His father taught him the boy things of riding a bike, boxing, sports, etc… At first, I have to say, I balked at buying guns but when he began to use his thumb and forefinger as a weapon, I figured I was fighting a losing battle. So we bought cap guns and plastic swords and along with his army men and Tonkas the boy went out to play at conquering the world. He came home with the usual battle wounds; bruised knees, cuts and scratches and that dirty puppy smell of a sweaty little boy. As he grew he rode dirt bikes, popped wheelies on his ramps, hunted and went fishing and drew on a drafting table out in the garage. In that time there was lessons on money and the use of a pocketknife and how to treat people with respect and laundry, dishes, mowing a lawn, dusting and a strong work ethic. All the things he would need in life.
Today I am not seeing that kind of raising of a man and it’s not like my son is old. He’s 28. So somewhere in the last 28 years we have stopped raising men. We no longer educate them on what it means to be a well-mannered young man. What it is going to take for a man to stand up and take on his responsibilities in life? Today I see boys who think they are men, making babies here, there and everywhere. Sitting in their Mama’s house not working or better yet, working and not saving a dime to leave. They are happy being boys. Several years ago, my son decided to take a break from college. That’s fine it’s his life, but since he was taking a break and working full-time it was time for him to move out on his own. I was really surprised when friends all questioned our decision and said things like, “He’s such a good kid and he’s not bothering anyone by living at home!” Those statements were true but I was raising a MAN not a mama’s boy. There is a difference. I believe wholeheartedly that if you aren’t going to college then you need to go get a full-time job and move out on your own and really I believe that for men or women. It may not be popular belief today but I want to raise independent free people in my house. People who can live their own lives and make intelligent decisions and not depend on us forever. We’d like to have our own life at some point so there is a method to my madness. I do not want to raise my kids forever. I realized a long time ago it was a temporary position.
Gone today are the teachings of a firm handshake and to look someone in the eye. I remember with laughter when Anthony was seven and Casey was three and he decided to teach her the rules of meeting and greeting grownups! He told her very solemnly, “Casey when you meet a grownup you have to shake with your right hand and look them in the eye, look me in the eye and say this, “Hello Mr. Martinez, my name is Mister Sister.” So he would make her practice shaking and saying that. It took all I had to not laugh out loud and I’ll have to ask her if she still runs around introducing herself as Mister Sister.
Today, I go to the youth group and most don’t even talk to me or look at me and if they do, they address me as, “Yo, Fool!” No, I’m not lying. I have to stop dead in my track and teach. Or they say, “Hey, what’s up?” Our young men, give limp wimpy handshakes if they shake my hand at all and don’t seem to know what to do. These things are not learned by osmosis. They are taught. Who is raising our men today?
Where are the men whom we call fathers who were supposed to be there to raise our sons? A woman cannot truly raise a son on her own. She can try and she does the best she can but there are things we can’t convey because we don’t know them. By nature, we as women, are emotional and we teach by emotions. A man however cannot run on emotions. They don’t know what to do with them. So they explode in anger and can’t handle problems properly because they haven’t been equipped. Men run on practicality not emotions. Yet, in a world where men are primarily absent a woman has to do what a woman has to do. The following statistics were taken from a sermon entitled Men Behaving Godly.
- Fatherless sons are 35% more likely to experience marital failure
- Fatherless sons are 300% more likely to become incarcerated in state juvenile institutions
- Fatherless make up 70% of all juveniles in state institutions
- Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of high school
- Fatherless children have only half the chance of being high achievers (According to the National Association Elementary School Principals, 33% of children from two-parent families become high achievers, while only 17% of children from single-parent homes become high achievers.)
- Fatherless children are 50% more likely to have learning disabilities.
- According to the National Center for Health Statistics, Fatherless children are anywhere from 100 to 200% more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems.
- Fatherless young adults are twice as likely to need and receive psychological help.
- According to our nation’s hospitals, 80% of adolescents admitted for psychiatric reasons come from fatherless families.
“From relationships, education, to mental instability, to crime, one factor looms as the most significant contributor: A home without a dad.” (5 Lies, David T. Moore, Tyndale House Publishers, p.89-90)1995
So we have generally created a group of young narcissistic mean kids who aren’t designed that way ,they are just lost and haven’t been taught a better way. Bullying is at an all time high in schools. Violent behavior is getting worse. What used to be a fistfight is now escalating because we don’t know how to teach our boys what to do with their emotions. I see boys who don’t believe they have to take care of a woman. They believe she has to take care of them because that is all that has been modeled. I see boys who treat their moms like dirt and don’t even open a door for them. I would stand forever before I would open a door for myself in the presence of my son. I remember when I was teaching him to drive, he ran and got in the drivers side. I stood outside the car and he said,
“Get in mom!”
“I’m not opening this door. Get out of the car and open the door for me. That is what a gentleman does.”
“Mom! C’mon, you’re not my girlfriend and I know I have to open the door.”
“Son, we are not going anywhere if you’ve forgotten your manners.”
I’ve never had to remind him since.
What happened to raising men? What can we do to change this statistic? Would some men please stand up and mentor some of these kids? They need you.