What we have a right to expect of the American boy is that he shall turn out to be a good American man.
The best boys I know–the best men I know–are good at their studies or their business, fearless and stalwart, hated and feared by all that is wicked and depraved, incapable of submitting to wrongdoing, and equally incapable of being aught but tender to the weak and helpless.
In short, in life, as in a football game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard: don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard.
—Theodore Roosevelt on the American Boy
There’s been a post that’s been floating around lately that states that men don’t protect you anymore, and that they never should. Maybe you’ve seen it. I usually don’t post my own diatribes on this blog, but this has been a major topic of discussion lately, it’s an issue of great importance to me, it’s somewhat in keeping with the theme of this blog, and I wanted to cast a bit of vision from what may be a uncommon viewpoint.
In this day and age, the prevailing pattern is that there are many boys who refuse to grow up and be a man, and I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way.
Our generation has seen the decline of the American man, and has produced boys who are unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions, who refuse to do things that are hard or require sacrifice, and who are remaining in an adolescent state of mind well into their mid 30’s. Consider this number for demonstration; the video game industry’s most profitable demographic isn’t with teens and pre-teens, but with males age 23-36. These men (I use the word loosely here) cling to an age of ease and comfort and spend more time advancing their level in Black Ops than advancing their career or improving and maintaining their mental and physical wellness. This stems from an attitude of selfishness, and causes many men (again, loosely) to shirk responsibility when it comes to life, career, spouse, family, and country.
When something is wrong, these adolescents are quick to place the blame on something or someone outside themselves, they are hasty to complain about an unpleasant circumstance when in fact, they have all the necessary equipment to be the catalyst for change in that circumstance, or at least to find peace and courage in the face of that circumstance. They are spineless ninnies who look for every possible escape from hard work or discomfort. When an obstacle arises, they find away around it or retreat, rather than facing it head on with fortitude and steadfastness. They refuse to take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions, and are slow to face the realities of their self-manufactured situation. They have selfishly constructed for themselves a life of ease and comfort, and they are quick to avoid or retreat from any undesirable responsibility that may get in the way, which regrettably, but far too often includes spouse and/or family.
The essay I’m referring to talks about the fact that women don’t need men to protect them. I agree with it in one sense. Women don’t need men in the sense that they shouldn’t find the entirety of their self-worth in the affection of a man, and this goes equally for men. Each should find their own identity wholly in themselves and God, and the quality of life should never be contingent on the approval of any other human being.
In addition; it is true that “the choices you make, your day-to-day actions, determine the person you are.” Again, I’m advocating the importance of self-reliance and personal responsibility.
What I do have an issue with is the fact that women seem to have given up on finding the knight in shining armor they once dreamed of. The romantic notion of a strong, stable, and dependable man has been crushed by too many years of experience, and women have adapted to have a low expectation of men so that they aren’t disappointed. This saddens me on the deepest level. We have begun to perceive manhood as an optional aspiration, and the American man has ceased to be a necessary staple. Women have found that they can get on just as well, if not better, without the “help” of their male counterparts; only because it’s less headache and heartache in the long-run. This should not be so.
If American boys grew up to be truly responsible and reliable Men (upper-case), they would be indispensable and highly desirable, even irresistible. If all American men were steadfast men of character, I believe our country’s stability would reflect the stability of its citizens. The American man should strive to be a leader worthy of being followed, developing the fortitude to face impossible tasks with courage and a fixed gaze, not shirking responsibility, manufacturing excuses, or retreating at the sight of doing something “hard.”
So, ladies; I’m here to apologize on behalf of mankind for our selfish and adolescent behavior. It’s not your fault that you don’t trust us. Our lack of action and courage has set a precedent that we are ill equipped for leadership, and it has forced you to take the reins instead.
But I’m also here to say that there are a few of us who still strive to be a leader worth following. There are still a few of us who are about the business of getting things done, and being true to our word. There are still a few men who are comfortable with doing hard things, don’t shy away from sacrifice, and are doing their best to maintain a healthy mind, body, and spirit. I’m sorry that you’ve lost faith in us, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to lose hope. We’re still out there, and we’re looking for you.
(For more on how to be a man: start with The Strenuous Life by Theodore Roosevelt. It’s a small book with small words.)