So, the great task before the parent of a boy, and particularly the father of a boy, is to channel boyish behaviors in such a way as to produce a purposeful man. Let's face it, left to their own devises, and without any correction, boyish culture results in Lord of the Flies.
Having gone through adulthood in the era of Gloria Steinem, and having now watched both my grand daughter and grandson growing up, I can attest that the boy came out different, from the start. He was a boy, period. He still is, because my daughter does not buy off on the nonsense of the feminists. French writes:
Indeed, traditional concepts of masculinity, which asked men to cultivate physical and mental toughness, to assume leadership roles in the home, in business, and on the battlefield, and to become guardians and protectors, became the “trap” or “man box,” to quote the University of Richmond’s ridiculous “authentic masculinities” site. The most destructive words a boy can hear? “Be a man,” at least according to the mandatory freshman orientation at Gettysburg College.
But here’s the problem — vulnerability isn’t a virtue. It’s a morally neutral characteristic at best and a vice at worst. Yes, some men are more naturally sensitive than others, but we now ask — no, beg — men to indulge their emotions, as if the antidote to awful male aggression is a good cry.
There are good reasons why generations of fathers have taught their sons to “man up,” and it’s not because young boys are blank canvases on which the patriarchy can paint its oppression. It’s because men in general have essential natures that are different from women. We tend to be more aggressive, more energetic, and less nurturing than women, and the fundamental challenge of raising most boys is in channeling that nature in productive ways, not in denying or trying to eradicate its existence. In other words, we need to make men more purposeful, not more vulnerable.A single mother who happens to grow up among boys may be able to deliver the message, but will be unable to demonstrate it. This why every family needs a father and a mother, Neither are dispensable. Children need both. The role of the mother is fairly well defined, but the father's role has become muddied. The father needs to be not just the main bread winner, but also the source of protection of his brood, and the transferer of the traditional male values. I would count in that list of things all boys should learn, in no particular order, to sharpen a knife, to correctly wield tools, to tie a tie, to respect women and to value family and friends, to polish shoes and mend clothing, and a hundred other things that a father needs to teach his son. But most of all, a father teaches his son, by his actions, how to be a man.