Men To Fathers
Peg Tyre, in her article, The Boy Crisis, indicated something that merits being added here, even though she mentioned it four years ago, but still we are not listening. “A boy without a father figure is like an explorer without a map.” Family therapist and author Michael Gurian goes further by saying that “an older man reminds a boy in a million different ways that school is crucial to their mission in life.” And the mission in life for all of us right now is to save our boys. But we are failing.
We are failing by not challenging our boys, our teachers, and our men. It’s a trifecta that affects our schools, and is already affecting our economy in the worst imaginable way. Presently our colleges are attracting fewer and fewer boys. High school dropouts, poor grades, and discipline issues continue to dominate the lives and situation of men more and more.
Hearing teacher offer window dressing on why we can’t keep boys in schools, or how administrators weaken their teachers by saying we can allow single-gendered classes isn’t acceptable. We need to realize if we don’t wake up, our country will die. Former President Bush’s call for 70,000 more teachers for our schools four years ago so we could be more competitive seemed to hit the nail on its head. What happened to that plan? I don’t know. But what was wrong with it to begin with? Having more teachers is good. But if we don’t have the right kind of teacher we will still be trying to use round-block solutions to solve square-hole problems. And the problem is how to get men more involved in the lives of our boys.
Where does this start? It starts with common sense. People…teachers and parents need to realize what the studies are showing. Our boys are getting lost in a school system that doesn’t seem to recognize there is a problem. If we don’t realize there is a problem, no one will work toward resolving. If we don’t realize having more men teachers is part of the solution nothing will happen to correct that. Our boys are getting lost in a bureaucratic oligarchy that doesn’t understand the need for more male role models to help our young men see and help them plan for their future. There are 44% fewer males going to college now than 30 years ago. More boys are going to prison now than ever, and soon inmates rather than classmates will create another entitlement program to support families we cannot afford with the over abundance of red ink in our federal budget Our priorities are wrong, if we are more set on bailing out Wall Street than we are at encouraging Main Street..
Part of the answers and the challenges are to find the money to give teachers more money. If we give the teachers more money then we will attract more men into a teaching profession where currently over 70% are white females. If we want to relate to our boys, we need men in their lives at all levels, but the first stop after the home is school. Let’s face it. In today’s economy, a father can barely feed his family on a teacher’s salary.
I’m not going to ask Washington for diddly. I challenge men at the grass-root level, fathers and husbands to get involve in local school. Challenge teacher to be more understanding to the needs of boys. And for those of you who can– take a pay cut…become a teacher, I did, after 20 years in the Army. Why? Because I hope, I can make a difference in some young man’s life, as more male teachers can make a difference.
Men, our mission should be to save our boys, and as Richard Bach said, “Here’s a test to see if your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, then it isn’t.” Nothing should be more important to you right now than finding a way to make a difference in the life of some young boy you know. Find a way and start now! Realize if we don’t do something, we will be on our way to divorcing our kids.
It’s been stated that the number one predictor of divorce is the habitual avoidance of conflict. The sad thing is we avoid conflict because we believe it will cause divorce. Like the cartoon where the couple explains to the marriage counselor, “We never talk anymore. We figured out that’s when we have all our fights.” We have to learn to agree to disagree, otherwise our kids are lost. We have to step up and realize change begins with us dads. Our boys need us. Our country needs us. And we need us. People are truly afraid of men getting organized, and it’s because when we have a plan, no one can execute better.
So what is our plan? What about showing up? What about starting individual groups focused on male education? What about showing non-believers we can give them something to believe. Men do care. Men do want a change. Men realize we are part of the solution, and the simple answer here is: show up; be an example; and realize…we can’t continue to let women do their work and ours too. If we do, then we may as well put on heels and fall down, because we have abrogated our responsibility to patriarch our young men into being the fathers and men we need to make our country great.
“If I’m different because of what some busybody said. If you’re convinced I’ve changed, that I don’t love
you anymore, or I’m no longer your child, then yes, I guess I am one of ‘them.’ But I guess that makes you one of them too.”
Suzie Moore [p. 20]