Turning Boys Into Men
How does a boy become a man? How does a boy become a good man? How does a boy become a godly man?
What’s happening in a society where two men can drag a 72 year old women out of her car and steal it? Or where football stars can be cruel to the women in their lives? Or where young males are increasingly involved in unprovoked violent attacks?
Steve Biddulph in his book Raising Boys, says
It takes the help of many men to turn a boy into a man, school doesn’t do it, watching TV doesn’t do it , mum however hard she tries can’t do it on her own. Boys need exposure to healthy men, and this need continues into adult life
David Gilmore an anthropologist has devoted years of his life to studying the manifestations of masculinity in cultures around the world. He says that every cultural group ( outside of the Western culture ) has a process of moving males from boyhood to manhood, and females from girlhood to womanhood. He says that it is always in gender separate contexts, men teach boys to become men, and women teach girls to becomes women. Even in non-violent groups like the !Kung,( bushmen of southwest Africa ) boys must earn the right to be called a man by a test of skill and endurance.
In NSW state primary schools 79% of teachers are female. The number of single parent families could be 30% of the population and most of these are led by women. There are 1,000’s of boys in our society who in middle school years, when they are starting to formulate what it means to be male, are having very little exposure to good men.
Where are many boys learning about manhood from ? The Simpson’s is the longest running sitcom in US history and is popular outside the States in countries like Australia. Homer Simpson ( according to Leonard Sax, “Boys Adrift’ ) is always an idiot, always the least intelligent character in each episode, except perhaps for his son Bart. How much of this stereotype is reflected in media and advertising ? Many sporting heroes fall short of the mark, as with many popular musicians and actors. There is much out there that will make it confusing for boys as they move along the path from boyhood to manhood.
If a boy does not have a group of men to connect with, then he will look elsewhere. We servants of Christ the Lord need to rise to the challenge of helping boys to become good, godly men. In our ministries that involve young males we need to do all we can to have as many, good godly male leaders involved as possible. Boys need to experience many godly male role models.
We need to be the leaders in this field of helping guide young males through the maze to manhood. We need to think outside the box. We must create great opportunities for
boys of all ages to connect with godly men of all ages.
If godly men of all ages will not take up this challenge, then who will ??