A pervasive anti-boy culture is wrecking our nation’s very future.
As I look at my 5-year old son, I hope that I am helping to mold a young man who lives his life with integrity and self-reliance, understanding the value of hard work and good manners and the true self-esteem that only these things can create within a productive life.
I think my wife and I are doing well, being conscious of these things, but as I look around us, what is happening — what has happened — to a generation of boys and young men in America is saddening and frightening.
About a month ago, my wife handed me a book and said “you really have to read this.” She sounded like she meant it, so I did. She was right.
The book is Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men, by Dr. Leonard Sax.
If you are the parent of a boy under the age of 18 or so, this book is a must read. Really… must read.
Dr. Sax describes and explains how changes in our educational system, such as removing competition and “zero tolerance” policies for even pretending to use fake guns, along with over-prescription of ADHD drugs and — a particularly damaging aspect of modern life — over-playing of video games are creating a generation of unmotivated, unaccomplished slackers.
American society, perhaps as an unintended consequence of our 1960s-1980s frenzy of “women’s rights,” is leaving boys behind.
I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Sax on my radio show recently. Again, if you’re a parent of a boy, it is well worth 40 minutes of your time to listen.
Have you ever had an experience, such as with a new word or new concept, when after the first time you hear it, you then run across it again two or three more times within just a few days?
Although reading Boys Adrift was not the first time I’ve thought about being a good parent, it was the first time I thought deeply about how our current culture is impacting millions of American males soon to reach what should be their most enjoyable and productive years.
But over the following week, I ran into multiple reminders of the lessons of the book, of the longer-term consequences of an anti-boy culture on America’s future men and on our nation itself.
First, at a recent event, I heard Andrea Tantaros of Fox News’ The Five speak. She touched briefly on this topic and mentioned how hard it has been for her — a smart, accomplished, and attractive 34-year-old woman — to find a quality guy to date. I suppose that’s good news for high-quality men, but as we see males becoming smaller and smaller percentages of college students, and larger and large percentages of college drop-outs, as we see 20-somethings sitting in parents’ basements playing video games, the situation inspires fear for our nation’s future, both economically and culturally.
These changes in higher education can turn into a self-reinforcing problem if women’s perception of American men leads them to believe that career is a better opportunity than family. With the plunging odds of finding a quality man, a man who can adequately support a family and also be an excellent husband and role model for children, the single, career-minded life becomes a better bet for American women. And intentional single motherhood becomes a more rational choice, although I wonder if most single moms know just how important it is for their sons to have exposure to good male role models — something a woman, by definition, simply can’t be.
A decline in birth rate, especially among the most educated and most wealthy sector of American society, bodes ill for our nation’s prospects of remaining the envy of the world.
I was reminded again of the idea of men acting like “real men,” rather than like spoiled children or sitcom characters, by a column by Steven Crowder. Steven is best-known for his hilarious-while-insightful videos, but he recently penned a piece entitled “Be a Real Man, and Honor Your Wife!” which I encourage you all to read.
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