Reading Time: 8 minutes

The above image by James Glazier

The Jr. High class flew to D.C. and New York this past school year. I was tasked with keeping an eye on four of my girls. While in New York, our groups walked the streets and toured several stores. That is where the above picture/splash for this post came from. I took that picture of them holding hands and locking arms so as not to get separated.

My eyes were peeled as I noticed more than one young man in his 20s checking out my students. One stepped right behind them, not realizing I was with them. He looked at me, surprised when I stepped up and cut in front of him, getting between him and my girls.

Did he have ill intentions? I had no idea, but he turned away once he heard me speak to them and realized I was with them.

Men With Black Eyes

Theodore Roosevelt was born in 1858 and became the 26th president. As a child, no one could imagine the man he would become. He suffered from severe asthma and poor eyesight. Yet, as a man, he grew into a powerful physique and loved strenuous activity. He saw action in the Spanish-American War with the Rough Riders and was a natural leader.

In his early 20s, Roosevelt studied at Harvard University and taught Sunday school at Christ Church when he was dismissed for poor judgment. A boy showed up to class late with a black eye. Roosevelt asked why he was late and inquired about the black eye. The boy admitted to fighting a bigger boy who had been picking on his sister. Roosevelt praised the boy for his actions and gave him a dollar. The elders felt he was encouraging the boy to fight and dismissed Roosevelt from teaching Sunday school.

Toxic Masculinity

Amy Morin wrote about toxic masculinity, “Researchers found that when they stripped away stereotypes and cultural expectations, there weren’t many differences in the basic behaviors between men and women.”1

What rubbish! In 25 years of teaching, I have never seen two girls pick up yardsticks and use them as weapons in pretend swordplay. The differences between boys and girls, men and women, are not only foundational, but visible. Genesis 1:27

“Where did all the good men go,” asks Greg Ellis in his Federalist piece. He points out that the term ‘toxic masculinity’ was nonexistent prior to a few years ago. Now, we see ‘patriarchy’ and ‘male privilege’ join the ever-increasing labels for masculinity.

One of the many examples he gives is from a book written by Liz Plank in 2019 titled ‘For the Love of Men.’ On the first page, she informs her readers that toxic masculinity is more dangerous than nuclear war.2

Not a Problem

Ellis points out how the American Psychological Association tossed their hat in the ring, “…in 2019, when the American Psychological Association, for the first time in its history, developed official guidelines for working with men and boys. The document is discouraging, calling for recognition of ‘the impact of power, privilege, and sexism on the development of boys and men’ and casting what it considers ‘traditional’ male behavior as inherently problematic.”2

I remember when my son was around eight years old and the battles he would set up with his army men. He would share his choreographed battle scene with me while I listened, smiling outside but broadly inside. I also recall the wrestling matches, knife fights, and hunting each other with airsoft guns. I grin as I think of playing a lava monster who would grab his sisters and try to pull them into the lava pit. All four of them fighting to save one another, but my son always proudly saved his sisters. All healthy men deeply desire to save and rescue others, to be the hero.

Traditional male behavior is not a problem, but rather, the lack of it. Absent fathers in the lives of our youth has curved our cultural trajectory toward a sickly family. Children without a father experience:

  • More likely to experience problems in school
  • More likely to commit a crime
  • More likely to go to prison
  • More likely to experience teen pregnancy
  • More likely to experience drugs and alcohol
  • More likely to drop out of high school3

Razor Sharp

J. Budziszewski, an American philosopher and professor at the University of Austin, Texas, talks about the ‘edges’ of men. And all boys have edges that men must sharpen. He writes, “When the edge turns out well, you get confidence; when it doesn’t, you only get attitude. When it turns out well, you get courage and resolution; when it doesn’t, you get moodiness and stubbornness. When it turns out well, you get a man who protects the weak; when it doesn’t, you only get a guy who wants to use them.”4

Designed to complement, not compete, many men and women in today’s culture reject what some call traditional values. Rejecting these foundational differences is how “…we came to see chivalry as patronizing and pornography as empowering.”5 Ephesians 5:25

When my son was in grade school, he complained about a boy picking on him. I gave him permission to hit him, if necessary, but warned him he would get into trouble at school, but not from me. Boys and men should never tolerate bullies; bullies have a dull edge and belittle others to appear confident. I remember the first time I had to tap out to my son as we rolled on the living room floor. These memories and many more show my son’s progression into a man, and when a son can get his father to tap out, that is a milestone or right of passage into manhood.

What is a Man?

Samuel Johnson, an English author and poet in the 1700s, wrote, “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

Yet today, what it means to be a man is in question when the culture can’t even define what a woman is. “American boys and men are in a state of crisis… We live in a culture where legislation aimed to promote fatherhood is criticized and drag queens reading to children in public libraries are celebrated.”5

Douglas Wilson, in his book Future Men likens faith to include what is unseen because it is still the future. He believes faith is more than just seeing heavenly things; it is also about trusting boys to become Godly men, and a significant element of that outcome is healthy fathers involved in the boys’ lives.

Wilson writes, “Countless examples may be multiplied from any given day in the life of a small boy. Say the boy breaks a chair because he was jumping on it from the bunk bed. Unbelief sees the cost of replacing the chair. Faith sees aggressiveness and courage, both of which obviously need to be directed and disciplined. Suppose a boy gets into a fight protecting his sister. Unbelief sees the lack of wisdom that created a situation that could have been easily avoided; faith sees an immature masculinity that is starting to assume the burden of manhood.”6

The Power of Men

The U.S. has the highest rate of children living in single-parent homes, and the majority of those children are living with their mothers and not their fathers.7 Absentee fathers or having a healthy male role-model is an epidemic in the U.S. Maybe not on par with a nuclear war, but the damage of absentee fathers in our culture is immeasurable. Good, hardworking men (not perfect men because they don’t exist) are hard to find. Ephesians 5:28

Kent Hughes wrote Disciplines of a Godly Man. He has been graced with twenty-six grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren, so he knows a bit about being a man, a father, and a grandfather. He shared a story about when he was a soccer coach and a little boy with a father running up and down the field criticizing his son, calling him a chicken and a woman. Hughes said this man was the only parent he told to be quiet or leave the field.

Hughes writes, “Our society is awash with millions of daughters pathetically seeking the affection their fathers never gave them and some of these daughters are at the sunset of their lives. In the extreme, there are myriads of sons who were denied healthy same-sex relationships with their fathers and are now spending the rest of their lives in search of their sexual identity via perversion and immorality.”8 1 Timothy 5:8

On Target

Teen girls without a father are at risk, and those with poor parent relationships have a much higher chance of risky behavior. “Yet in each case, research has found that home environment had greater influence on behavior than hormone levels and if parent-child relations were good, hormone levels do not seem to matter at all reguarding risky sexual behavior.”9 That is a stunning finding! Hormone levels were taking the back seat to healthy parent-child relations. Going through puberty and having sex hormones flowing through young men and women do not determine risky behavior but a healthy home life with both a father and mother figure is the determining factor.

One of my greatest pleasures was raising my three beautiful daughters. Now, as I teach Jr. High, I get to extend that pleasure by being a father figure to the young ladies I find in my classroom. I don’t have many years left to teach, but archery is an elective I never tire of teaching. I often stand behind my students (both boys and girls, archery is a great equalizer), to see where they are aiming, and I am not just talking about archery. Many of them are in a single-parent home without fathers. Abandoned for drugs, alcohol, and various addictions, other students have the state step in on their behalf.   

All boys and girls need a father with sharp edges. Manhood is where boyhood should be aimed. Boys should grow up to be good husbands, heroes who rescue not only those they love but anyone being abused by evil, even at the cost of their own lives.

I have a shirt that says, “I would rather suffer in good company than live in luxury surrounded by delicate men.” I can’t help but wonder how many women who want to deprive men of their ‘man card’ find themselves in situations where they would give a pretty penny for a traditional man.

Guarding Girls © 2024 by James Glazier is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 

 

  1. Morin, Amy. “What Is Toxic Masculinity?” Very Well Mind, verywellmind.com, 14 November 2022, https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-toxic-masculinity-5075107 []
  2. Ellis, Greg. “Stop Emasculating Men, The Wondering Where All The Good Men Went.” The Federalist, 14 June 2021, https://thefederalist.com/2021/06/14/stop-emasculating-men-then-wondering-where-all-the-good-men-went/. 7 June 2024 [] []
  3. “National Fatherhood Initiative 2024”. Father Facts: Ninth Edition. Germantown, MD: National Fatherhood Initiative. 25 July 2024 []
  4. Budziszewski, J. “Learning To Think.” Ask Me Anything, NavPress, pg. 87 []
  5. Squires, Delano. “Making Boys Into Men.” Institute for Family Studies, ifstudies.org, 18 May 2022, https://ifstudies.org/blog/making-boys-into-men [] []
  6. Wilson, Dougless. “Introduction.” Future Men, Cannonpress, 2012, pg.10 []
  7. Kramer, Stephanie. “U.S. has worlds’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households.” Pew Research Center, 12 December 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2019/12/12/u-s-children-more-likely-than-children-in-other-countries-to-live-with-just-one-parent/ []
  8. Hughes, Kent. “Discipline of Fatherhood.” Disciplines of a Godly Man, Crossway, 1991, pg. 63 []
  9. McIlhaney, Joe. Bush, Freda. “Let’s Talk Sex.” Hooked, Northfield Publishing, pg. 19 []

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