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Men............. Teach Young Men in Your Life How to Be a "man"
- Seasons Change, So Can You: A Guide to Instigating Life-Changing Transformations: Alfreta Sailor: 97
Seasons Change, So Can You: A Guide to Instigating Life-Changing Transformations [Alfreta Sailor]
I love the expression "man up." What it says to me is, "man, take responsibility for your actions." Most men learn that lesson from other men, but not always from their fathers. However, we would hope that's where it would come from, but in reality, a lot of the times it doesn't. So it falls to whomever is in the life of a young man, to fill the bill. Men learn best how to be a man, from a man. Unfortunately, at times it comes from the wrong source. Namely, the gang family. Let me state for the record, I'm not speaking from a clinical standpoint, there are tens of thousands of books and research on the Internet, that address this issue. I'm only, weighing in now with what I do best, Muse.
Who can teach
It's been said, one reason a young man joins a gang is in search of a father figure. Being that there is not always a father in the home, these gangs are successful in filling that void. In saying, no father in the home, sometimes, merely, means a father is absent either physically, (always working or otherwise engaged in other pursuits), or emotionally, in which case it translates into no father in the young man's life, in the way that's beneficial. To be fair, not in all homes where the father is present and accounted for, means that a young man won't join a gang. To the converse, in the home where there is no father the young man does not always miss the mark, he can and does, at times, succeed.
Any man in a young man's life can be a suitable mentor, providing he's responsible, and trustworthy himself. Of course, the father can, but in addition to him there could be, grandfathers, big brothers, uncles, cousins, teachers etc. Let's just say for the sake of this article, the man, the mentor, fits the bill in all respects.
What can be done
Fathers: One of the best ways to teach your son to be a man, is by example. Teach your son how to treat women, by treating the women in your life with respect. Of course in saying treat your wife with respect is a given, but how do you treat your mother? Women, just a little aside here, it's been said watch how the man in your life treats his mother, that's basically how he'll treat you. I digress. What about the way you speak to, and about women in general, is it in a way that would make you proud if you heard, or saw, your son doing these things? (Just asking) I know that some of my ideas may sound antiquated, but stay with me on this, it will make sense to some of you.
If your marriage is on the rocks, does that mean your relationship with your children should be that way too? Wouldn't you want your son to have a better marriage than you do. Then, how about just taking the arguments behind closed doors, and putting on a good front for the children. That may sound hypocritical, but remember the purpose for this is to teach your son to be a man. Your son should see you showing respect for his mother under all circumstances. He should be learning how to treat womanhood in general, from you.
How do you speak to, and about your mother? You see, you're trying to help your son to show respect for his mother, so show respect for your mother. In public, watch how you speak to and about women. For instance, what do you call women, and how do you speak to them? All these are things that you want your son to learn. So, when the time arrives, and he needs to "man up," he'll know how. Little minds are like sponges, so don't minimize these actions while they're young.
Grandfathers, uncles, big brothers, etc: You too can fill the bill here, if there is not a father in the home. You can, in some cases take the young man to spend some time with you. Weekends, summer vacations. Maybe just for a day a week, or a month. Whatever time you can give him can serve to further his education in becoming a responsible member of society. Think how proud you would be if you could point to someone like the President of the United States, and say that I had a part in how he turned out. Not an endorsement, I'm only using him as an example of what can happen, even if there is no father in the home.
Teachers: You already have the weighty responsibility of teaching young ones the necessary skills to be able to live as a responsible adult in the everyday work-a day-world. However, you are sometimes the first line after the parents, in the child's life to see when they need extra help. Why not, with the parents permission mentor the young man, (speaking here to male teachers of course), showing him, by example, how you got where you are. If you had challenging circumstances to overcome, by all means let him know. Now, don't you turn around and victimize him. (Just saying). This is not where we are going with this article. This is for the responsible male that can see the need, and fill it.
Whoever you are in the life of the young man, father, uncle, teacher, etc, the same steps can be taken. For instance even before a problem arise, time should be spent with the young man, in a one on one setting, even if there are others in the home. The lessons that are to be taught are best done in a personal setting, apart from the general population. Never, ever embarrass him, knowingly. Of course just being an older adult in the life of the young man is sometimes embarrassing, that just comes with the territory. Teaching a young man to do the things that's expected of him, like, home maintenance, ( lawn work, small home repair, etc), protecting the women in his life, including their honor. Obviously more things are involved, and being a man I'm sure that you can fill in the blanks. When saying to a young, "man up," what have you done to aid in this respect? In this case, I say to you men, "man up."
Whatever, you do, never, ever disappoint. Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no. If you promise to do something, keep your word. It's better to say no you can't do something that they ask of you, for instance take them to the movies or buy them a toy etc, than to say yes and have them expecting it and be disappointed. A disappointment up front is better than a disappointment delayed.
I am not pretending that if all the rules are followed you will achieve the desired results. However, during the years that they are in your charge, if you follow the rules, quite likely, you can at least have a peaceful home and just maybe, a respectful young man. Of course, after all you've done and he doesn't become what you were teaching
him to become, at least, be able to say with a good conscience that you
did all you could to facilitate a good outcome.To be sure, we are going to be who we are going to be. Each one must ultimately stand on his own and take responsibility for his actions. Why not though, at least strive to do the best you can, to aid this young man in growing to responsible manhood. Of course hindsight is 20/20, and no matter how they turn out, good, bad, or indifferent we can always see where we could have improved. If you, as a father of an adult son, failed to fulfill your responsibility in this regard, take heart, you might have another chance as a grandfather, uncle, etc. If the chance is afforded you, don't let the opportunity pass this time. Pick up the baton and run with it. MAN UP!
So, whatever you can do, while you can do it, men, strive to teach young men in your life to be men, responsible men. And when that young man hears, "man up," it won't be addressed to him.