Here’s a note I received from one terrific mom, who, like many of us, is a bit concerned about societal trends to emasculate men and thrust the girls in the driver’s seat for just about everything. This one is a can of worms for sure … but worth discussing. Feel free to express your opinion. Our parent panel (see MySagePage) addressed this issue, but many comments since have revealed we would like more information. I guess we all need help on this one.
Thanks for our Conerned mom,
… and thanks for walking the road with me.
Recently, I read an interview of author Kay Hymowitz about her new book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women has turned Men into Boys. In it, she points out that in the Y Generation (the twenty-to-thirty-something) females out number their male counterparts in every area that counts! She finds that for the first time in our culture, women are more educated. Single, childless women are earning more. And, young women are, by all counts, more ambitious than the men who were their peers. Where does that leave the males? Ms. Hymowitz says that current sitcoms imitate life, where the men are depicted as eternal teenagers who only want to sit in front of their game consoles with their buddies drinking beer.
She attributes some the changes to an economy that favors more “intellectual” careers geared toward women, the break down of the family, and schools that are filled with female teachers promoting curriculums that favor females. This all comes at a time when I as a mom have heard from authors both christian and secular who have pointed out similar observations. Why should this concern us as mothers and fathers? Have you seen the news recently?
Having grown up in a third-world country and mothering 3 boys, I have been convicted for a long time now that we need to be raising tougher, more resilient, capable boys.
Hymowitz points out that children in the United States are achieving major milestones later in life. Are they less capable that their predecessors? I do not think so. I also agree that the schools and our culture are partly to blame. Who could forget Dan Quales’ plea 20 years ago to forgo characters like Murphy Brown and strengthen family values–after all the ridiculed he endured, who knew that he was just ahead of his time?!! The author points out that the number of “choice mother” (the new term for the Murphy Browns for this world–mothers who chose to have or raise a child on their own) is rapidly rising.
Even a recently-released Disney Movie depicts a world (planet Mars) where men are disposed off and sent to the sewer world below while females are trained my Nannie Bots who have been trained by the memories of carefully-searched-for capable mothers from earth! Females have taken over. Is that where we are headed? I think not.
I think we as mothers need to step up and realize that maybe we are doing too good a job as we view our kids as projects we will be graded on. So, our kids need to have the best clothes, make the best grades, are well packed when invited to spend the night at a friend”s house, have the food they like when they want it, and have everything they need at their finger tips when they need. We maybe be getting an “A” at being good assistants (read codependents servants or worse yet enablers) to our kids but we are not doing them any favors.
Dads for their part are either disconnected or treat their boys like buddies not giving then any disciple or leadership but that is a topic for another day.
John Rosemond says that a major problem in our society today is that our children are being raised by servants and buddies. Yikes! that is not a pretty picture.
As hard as it is for us to do, we need to fail our kids a bit more. By that I mean, we should let them experience failure when they forget their homework at home by not bringing it to them. We should let them have that least-favored teacher for 7th grade English instead of getting them switch to a”nicer” teacher. We should let them do chores at home even if we have housekeepers helping us. We should let them pack when they go away for the weekend and run the risk they’ll forget their underwear! You get my point.
I think, the best way for us to help our boys grow up when they should, and not 10 years later, is by letting them experience failure, doing hard work, serving others, persevering through a tough situation, etc. We need to help them become contributors at a much earlier age and stop entertaining them into adulthood. We need to stop trying to make life perfect or easier for them. That is not reality.
Jennifer (a concerned MOAT)
Great entry, great thoughts. I let my kids do their own packing. Sometimes it's funny – my 6 year old son packed only two things in his bag for our Easter weekend trip: an electric guitar and an amplifier.
Love it!! Reminds me of the trunks I've so carefully packed only to find them in the same condition upon returning from camp… wondering how many days the same underwear was worn (yuck!) But they survive — and still have friends! :)
I'm not a mother, but I share the sentiment. Great post. The book itself looks like a good read.
GREAT post! Now that my two sons are 31 and 29, I have a better perspective on how true this is. Moms benefit from being challenged to raise, NOT children who think we're cool and wonderful, but people who will grow into responsible adults by learning to function in the real world. This means, as you said in your excellent conclusion, allowing them to experience failure in the safety of our love and acceptance so they learn that making mistakes doesn't kill you; working hard because that's the way God made us and because there is satisfaction in doing one's best, serving others because we are made in the image of a God who shows His love by serving, persevering because that's what mature people do.
We need to let them experience the joy of making a significant contribution, whether it's by not redoing their chores like reloading the dishwasher, or helping them choose the toys and clothes they will give away to those who have less than they do. We need to quash the destructive idea that entertainment is a right and a priority. And, since this fallen world is not Eden nor will it be in our lifetime, we need to stop trying to create a protective bubble that insures they will graduate from high school completely unequipped to do life in the real world.
It helps to be asking, "Do you feel your skin getting thicker? Way to be a man!"
Love this post Mrs. Kay! Dear Wise Mommas, here's my question…what does this look like at younger ages? I have an 18 month old boy and I realize I am already in a place of molding this side of him. What are some practical daily applications for this?
that's a great question … I will tell you one thing I've learned through our work experiment – it sure is easier with the younger, more pliable, ones that the older ones. I would say, letting them step up to the plate and do rather than having everything done for them helps them become who they're made to be. I noticed just this week my 8-year-old unloading our grocery cart without me even telling him to … a big part due to the fact that he knows he can and the fact that I'm trying (remember I'm a "recovering" enabler) to quit doing it all for them.
It felt good and right that the young man who was with me stepped up to the plate on a job that involved lifting and carrying, and in effect a bit chivalrous.
That said, I can sure use the wise words of those walking or who have walked the road :) Anyone??
I think as parents we forget that we are not raising children, we are raising our children to BE adults. So we get lost in having children and forget that at some point (sooner than we think) they won’t be children anymore. My mother-in-law has never stopped seeing her sons as kids. My husband is 37 and my BIL is 41, and she still refers to us all (wives included) as “you kids” and treats us all that way, too. She is a prime example of the mother we should strive NOT to be. She enabled her sons to be and remain boys well into adulthood. Her husband never stepped up either to contradict her and raise his sons to be men. So both my husband and his brother struggle to this day (though my BIL would never admit to it). I am trying very hard to quit being an enabler with my own son. Thankfully my husband supports me in this and we are working together to change the way we interact with him.