Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Let Boys Be Boys...

Shooting guns,hunting, fishing, camping, fixing household issues involving simple electrical or carpentry knowledge, knowing how to tie 10 different types of knots and, even being able to burp the alphabet. If these didn't jump out at you as being part of the unwritten "Rite of Passage" of boyhood, then I am not too surprised. I have noticed a crazy epidemic of parents of my generation feminizing the boys of my sons' generation.

The real question is why?

One answer may be that the kids in my generation came from a culture where over 50% of all marriages ended in divorce. Single parenting or at the best, shared parenting can almost never be a 50-50 split. Most of the time, mom gets the kids 80% of the time and dad makes up the remaining 20%. Of course there are exceptions and there are stories where one parent seems detached from the kids...and I can appreciate the personal stories and issues. But when you are raising kids, especially boys, perhaps there just isn't enough guy-time? Did many of the men of today not learn enough from their own childhood experiences to be real guys?

How do boys learn to be men?

Science has taught us that there is a lot of stuff about humans that is just pre-destined through our DNA. I'm tempted to say even the stuff like the desire for food on a plate to not touch other food substances on the same plate, that may be more of a genetic coding issue than a learned behavior. While I'm not sure about this hypothesis, I have witnessed it. So, the fact that we can sing in perfect pitch or have natural rhythm, or that we are creative or analytical...these things may be hard wired into us. What about the belief that men are natural hunters/gathers and women are the nurturers? Is that more of a social theme that has changed over time or something that is truly how God created us to be? On top of that, there are so many other things that we need to truly experience to determine whether or not it is a good fit within us.

As a woman, try as I might, I can not be a decent father. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who takes this job very seriously and who is, in fact, good at it. I can only assume, that if we had daughters, my husband wouldn't know where to begin the lessons of domestication. Uh oh, did that word hit a nerve? DOMESTICATION. It really has become vilified over the last two decades.

Now I will go off on a small tangent here. I have an amazingly wonderful mom! She made Mrs. Cleaver look like a slob! Growing up, our house was spotless. Dinner was always hot and on the table at 5:30PM. Laundry was not a once a week thing, and I don't ever remember a time I had to look for underwear or socks or a blouse. It was just magically in the right place. She hand-washed dishes before the dishwasher, and timed meals perfectly before the microwave. She taught me everything she knew. I, unfortunately, did not hit the bar as high as she did in the world of domestication. I would rather do other creative things with my time. But here I am now, a mom and wife and love it or hate it... I know HOW to do all the things that keep our home clean, our bills paid, and our bellies full. It had to be learned because it (FOR SURE) was not hard wired into me. Even me, a girly-girl.

Getting back to the boys, I am amazed at how many young men have not had the bonding experience with their dads (grand-dads or uncles) to hold a rifle in their hands. From what I hear, it is a very cool thing when you are a boy, to shoot a can or a pumpkin or watermelon from 50 feet away, and watch it explode! How many parents forbid their sons from even playing with a toy gun or knife? Why? I think people in our generation sometimes think this activity might turn on a "serial killer switch" inside their sons. Or...the dreaded, over-educated person's response of, "It's so white-trash to shoot a gun!" Yes, I have heard this asinine statement. But what are we doing to their masculinity? To their need to be boys? I can tell you, first hand, a boy will make a gun out of a toaster waffle or a piece of toast. Perhaps this is also hard wired into their DNA? Yeah, I know... but it is pretty surprising to see this happen and I have seen it happen to many a mommy-trying-to-prevent-weapons-play.

I stand up on my soap box and salute the real men of my generation who not only embrace the need to be educated and creative...but who also work tirelessly in their efforts to teach their sons, the next generation of men, how to be real men. And guys... chicks dig real men way more then the Metro-sexuals that are so prevalent in today's society.