One of the worst experiences of my life, at that time, was showing up for a camping trip with my scout troop and realizing that it was a cycling trip and I didn’t bring my bike. The adult leaders scrambled and found me a bike and off we went. It started out fine but soon devolved into a nightmare, at least it was for me.
After driving for over an hour to our destination we unloaded the bikes, strapped on our gear and started to ride. The scenery was breathtaking, the weather was cool and brisk but my seat was loose and I kept sliding forward as the seat swiveled. Just when I thought I had it under control the bike would hit some stick on the road and my seat would jump and jab at me in that one particular area of the male, human anatomy, making me flinch and squeal in discomfort.
Our first leg of the trip was only ten miles but after five my entire neither region was numb and hurting at the same time. When we finally stopped I almost fell off my bike because I couldn’t feel my legs or anything else that was starting to matter in my life.
The problem was I was ashamed of not having my own bike and not wanting to tell the adults that the bike they gave me was causing me embarrassing discomfort. I tried to get some help through other means, like trying to tighten the seat bolt with my fingers, I know that was lame, but I was only 14 or 15 years old, I was the definition of lame.
My butt (a euphemism of course) was really sore, but I set up my tent and immediately went to bed. The next morning, it felt worse and I really thought I was going to lose what the good God had given all males but when I looked at my borrowed bike, the seat was stable, someone had fixed it. All I had to do was get back on and continue to ride. Not an easy thing to do, I assure you, but with each mile, we road the feeling and the relief returned. I still think of that anonymous leader who fixed that bike and sustained my manhood, as I understood it at the time and have realized he acted like a man when the boy didn't know how.
The problem today is that too many misunderstand the true nature of what it is to be a man as opposed to a male. This disconnect often starts at a very young age with mixed messages and improper guidance by well-meaning but unaware teachers, leaders and dare I say it, with most women who try and do their best but do not have the foundational skills to fully understand the male psyche.
This is not an attempt to place blame but the realities of our society and the actions of many males give rise to the question of why? “Boys are more likely to be suspended, retained in grade or placed in special education. They are less likely to graduate from high school or enroll in and graduate from college than girls are” www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/2015/04/02/education-gender-gaps-how-big-are-they-and-can-they-be-fixed,
I have a theory and it has to do with the gentrification of gender or in other words, the emasculation of society. Gentrification is the process of improving something to conform to the general tastes of those who are forcing the change. Schools, for example, have limited the recess time with the hope of making all students conform to a higher standard of academia, great for girls, not so great for boys.
Another example is found in a school’s desire to curb negative behaviors by imposing “zero tolerance” rules. Boys often find these rules impossible to follow. You may have heard of the young boy who fashioned a gun by chewing the corners of his pop tart, he was suspended for being a boy and for liking his pop tart.
We have concluded that boys and girls should be treated the same, with some believing that they should learn the same way and be interested in the same things. Boys like to do things that girls don’t. In our understanding of how to teach and raise our children, we have decided that being a boy is no longer relevant. Our schools demand more feelings, more introspection and they demand that the boys sit quietly and learn. The girls can do it, why not the boys.
We have discarded the family unit and replaced it with a homogenderized (made up word) familial facsimile where true gender is meaningless and the roles of a male have been replaced with unclassified expectation and variable standards that make it impossible for a boy to develop those foundational skills that transform a boy into a man.
The Boy Scouts have recently abandoned the “boy” for the grandeur of political acceptance. The NFL is filled with fatherless boys who make millions but have never learned to be men and our schools continue to move toward the feminization of learning, expecting everyone to learn the same, despite the rhetoric of multi-modal learning, ignoring the specific needs of teaching the boy how to learn and grow not just academically but within the very important aspects of learning how to grow into a man.
Girls seem to grow this way more naturally than boys but they are also affected by this new paradigm of learning. Both men and woman have suffered severe identity disassociation from the lack of gender specificity. We need to move our society back toward those moral absolutes and allow both girls and boys to learn in the environment best suited for their needs.
I am grateful for my experiences as a scout, getting dirty, farting in my tent and laughing at each other for the dumbest things. I liked starting fires and learning how to control those urges. I enjoyed fishing and hunting and shooting, building things with my hands, seeing who amongst us was the strongest and fastest, who was the tallest. I looked forward to summers where I often got so bored we did things we shouldn’t have and I liked throwing rocks. I was a boy who learned to be a man, I am still learning but I feel sorry for those who will never learn because of some feminist ideal of what a boy is supposed to learn or feel or think, you’ll never get a man that way…But that seems to be what they want.