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Men to Fathers– Failing our Boys

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“When the school system was failing girls, we fixed the school system.  When we discovered the school system was failing the boys, we tried to fix the boys.” I heard this from a talk radio show host, and I want you to think about this truth setting you free.  More specifically, the truth about setting our boys free!

If I’ve not alerted you to the omnipresence of a crisis, you’ve not been listening.  If I’ve not alerted you to the fact, that as a man, you have some of the answers, then you don’t care.  If I’ve not been able to get you to go to your son’s school, call his school, or at least learn the school’s number, then I guess I’m failing, and just have to keep trying.  I will.  I’m not about to give up on you or our boys.

When you want something…really want something, what do you?  I don’t know about you, but I go after it.  Even if it’s only a racquetball shot, that no one says I can get.  I push myself to the limit, and even if I miss the shot, I know inside I tried.  When was the last time there was something so important you gave your all?  How did you feel?  I bet you didn’t feel like a failure.  Business coach Dave Lorenzo indicates that “people fail for only two reasons:   they don’t have a goal so they don’t know what success looks like, or they give up.”  Is that what we’re doing dads?  The best we can?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had more and more conversations with dads.  When you’re passionate about something, things just kind of flow in that direction!  Invariably all the men I talk to have one thing in common.  They want their sons to be successful.  They want their daughters to be successful and if they get married…to marry someone who is also successful.  So now, we know where we want to go.

More and more men need to stick to their guns; talk to other men, get ideas, and encourage one another.  More and more women need to encourage rather than nag and disparage their husbands, the father of their children.  More and more women need to talk to their men behind closed doors rather than confronting them in front of their kids.  More and more women need to let their kids clean their rooms, make a meal ever so often and allow them to feel they are a contributing part of the household.  If kids are not making beds and cleaning up their rooms at least once a week, that’s as much momma’s fault as the kid’s.  Moreover, dads, if she yells at them to make the beds, you back her up.

It’s called cooperation.  It’s the same way with schools.  We need to realize that if most of the teachers are not having problems with girls, but they are with the boys, maybe it’s because they are treating the boys and girls differently.

Bringing it back home, why shouldn’t a daughter help in the yard?  Why shouldn’t a son do dishes, cook, or the laundry?  Why?  Because we tell them they can’t, or have other things to do?  Like what?  Homework! Homework is important but yard work and housework are important too.  Bottom line, work is important, and the sooner our children learn that, the sooner they will be taking care of themselves.  More importantly, moving out of the house, equipped to be living in a house they own. Why do you think so many grown kids are moving back home.  One, parents are letting them, and two; many just are capable of taking care of themselves.

We dads need to be sure our sons are equipped to move into society capable of carrying their own weight, without depending on mom or dad, or even their wives to take care of them.  Society does a poor job of this because it limits them in so many ways.  Society expects boys to be domesticated, yet it riles against moms trying to domesticate them.  Society expects boys to be educated, but when their level of energy reaches a pitch teachers can’t tolerate, boys often get sent to ISS [in school suspension] because remember, we don’t want to conform to their needs the way we lobbied to conform to the needs of girls.

We dads need to figure out how we can get the female teachers to connect with the male brain.  Just because a boy appears tuned out, doesn’t mean he is not interested.  Teachers, who encourage girls, need to find a technique for encouraging boys.

A teacher commented in Michael Gurian’s book “The Minds of Boys,” that “Children learn what they have decided to learn.”   Teachers and parents need to help boys find meaning in the abstract and contextualize it in such a way that it has value.  I’m constantly connecting things to the men in my ‘males-only class’ to life experiences.  If we can’t make it relevant for them, it will never mean anything to them. Connect clothes, automobiles, even food to economics and economics to education.  Stress to them, that how one lives depends on what skills one has.  Have them compute how much things cost, even let them see your bills, write the checks, so they know that money indeed does not come from plastic, or trees. Make things relevant, and our kids will make things work.

Begin by making them understand the relevancy of education.  Show interest in their education.  If you have no idea what courses they are taking, or who their teachers are that tells you one thing.  If their teachers have no idea who you are, then it becomes axiomatic that many teachers have no idea who your child is.  Give notice by introducing yourself.  Get involved and see what happens.  Remember our sons need us to help them become men.

“Loving unconditionally has made martyrs out of greater and lesser people, men and women, than Mieko.”
-Jonathan Keenan Rose on the Until Tomorrow show.
from Jere Myles’ book “Murder on the Pier”

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