Bored, unsupervised, fatherless boys are to policemen what “unaccounted for” uranium represents to counter-terrorism worldwide—a threat to peace, to innocent people, and a major problem that demands attention. Among boys all it takes to “weaponize” the plentiful supply of youthranium in our country today is a really bad idea offered in vacuum of moral convictions. Deep within the brain of one our nation’s fatherless at the center of the latest “boys gone evil” news story, a spark was felt, a neuron fired, and words were expressed. “I got it!” he says. “Wouldn’t it be cool if… we killed someone?” The idea is welcomed and executed without filters or objection. This is gonna be fun.
Meet the Lost Boys.
They have been on their own since they were little and have remained on their own as boys hoping to become men. Raised by single mothers, they have been unsupervised and un-mentored by any male figure as long they can remember. The macabre and toxic excitement rising from this deadly brainstorm is not just about a lazy summer, it’s about becoming men in a cesspool of broken male culture, character, and conduct that becomes the norm for lost boys. This broken culture produces beliefs (about self and others) and behaviors shaped by peer angst and self loathing instead of fatherly concern and modeling. The result: broken male culture that trains young men to act selfishly and separate their hearts from their heads when a decision they make impacts others negatively. It’s called alexithymia. Look it up. The root words that form the word mean to “repel” (alexo) and “the soul” (thumos). It is a picture of being emotionally dead.
- Tue Aug 6, 2013
- 2 comments
I am one of those people who “believes the best” about other people.
In my career as a junior guy working his way up and as a CEO I have met all sorts of leaders in the marketplace and, now, in the church world. I have noticed over the years that both leaders and managers in Christian settings (like churches or ministries) are engaged with much less cynicism by their junior people at the beginning of a relationship because there is this perception that a common set of spiritual rules are shared and believed. This makes employees in those settings feel more secure, more loyal, and more trusting of their leader, his promises, and the possibilities of moving personally forward and developing. “We” are in this great cause together and, after all, “Do to others what you would have them do to you” is in red letters, we work from the same playbook, and this is “God’s work” that we are advancing together. It’s all smiles, honeymoons, and hope. Woo-hoo!
Then it gets weird.
Over time (and it could take years) you begin to see and sense things. Your sniffer goes off and you catch strong whiffs of self-protection or micromanagement or both. Friendly demeanors turn into business-like interactions. Distance creeps in, meetings are missed or cancelled, and the next interactions that follow are directives being handed down. To motivate the team there has to be “spiritual reasons,” logic, and precedent as well. The Devil gets mentioned. Pressure comes into your team or organization to rally and perform for projects and agendas your “leader” will get credit for in the larger organization. Other talented leaders in the team stop leading and innovating and start administrating. The message both directly and indirectly is that we don’t need leaders or vision anymore, we need managers. The whole tone changes—professionally, emotionally, and relationally. Hallway conversations increase. People turn over. People leave. Disillusionment and doubt set into the team.
My son is eighteen and headed to college.
In my humble (but accurate) opinion he is dating a diamond. His girlfriend is an amazing, strong, secure, faith-filled, and beautiful young woman. Major thumbs up on my side. But before we do a deeper dive into his private life let’s be clear: I am not a meddler in their connection. They have a great foundation in God, they openly discuss things I didn’t touch ‘til my thirties, and they are as realistic, hopeful, and cautious as any young adults can be about the future. They don’t need me at this point but they involve me in their relationship. I can’t imagine that ever happening with my dad back when I was dating Ryan’s mom in college. Different times, different father-son connection, and different family cultures are to blame for that. So, it’s working out for me. I am close to this evolving relationship trying to stay objective and properly attached. It’s a new consideration for me: what do I want for my son and this relationship at the ripe old age of eighteen?
WANTING THE RIGHT THINGS
Presently, I would put these desires for his relationship at the top of my list and into my prayers:
“I was lied to.”
These strong words and the attached feelings flowed forcefully from the tall, super intelligent and beautiful woman responding to my talk on third wave masculinity and femininity. I replied, “How so? What do you mean?”
“I bought into the whole feminist message of power femininity, power sexuality, and power economics for women. Then I met the man of my dreams who swept me off my feet. A good man. A strong man. A loving man. A ‘keeper.’ But I had spent so much time focusing on being strong, blaming men and being independent that I did not know how to partner, enjoy, and affirm him to build a strong marriage and family. I now am re-learning what feminism failed to tell me about men and marriage.” She had met a third wave man and is now joining millions of women on a similar journey that transcends the narrow elements and borders of feminism. She is becoming a third wave woman (i.e., a blend of traditional and progressive) that:
• Acknowledges the glaring shortcomings of both traditionalism that devalued the female voice and vision and feminism that overvalued the same as the end-all
• Recognizes that men have a vital role, real value, commendable strengths, and the ability to be great partners with women
• Appreciates and is not afraid to advocate for healthy male culture that benefits women, children, and justice in the world
• Stops blaming, labeling, accusing, and bundling the male gender into a group who cannot be morally driven, emotionally mature, and relationally disciplined
• Starts encouraging, partnering, respecting, honoring, and leveraging positive masculine strengths toward individual, marital, and family health
Third Wave Masculinity Is Coming and It’s Going to Rock Your World
I felt like an arsonist at a firefighters convention.
Two hundred women were seated in front of me. I did not know any of their stories. I did not know one of their names. I did not have any insight into their relationships with men. I could only assume that there was plenty of painful chapters connected to a man, some man, or multiples of men whose character or conduct has impacted them negatively. When you are a “men’s expert” and you are talking to women knowing this makes every discussion an uphill battle from the start. The topic? Gender wars, the failure of “traditional” masculinity, the lies of “reactive” femininity, and the emerging “Third Wave” of men and women blazing a new trail of respect, honor, partnership, family, and impact that will be changing the world. I am shaking inside. Never fails. But I know what’s coming and they don’t.
Fast forward two hours. It’s over. We (my audience and me) are victorious.