Our needy, hungry world craves good men. Kudos to the men who are beacons of hope who exhibit that it is possible for men to be good. Still, it is obvious that our society needs to change to raise boys to be a better caliber of men. To do that, we first need to answer three big questions:
- Why do too many men demonstrate mediocrity, cruelty, confusion, violence, aggression, self-centeredness, lies, self-entitlement?
- Who raised these men? They did not emerge from nowhere; they were groomed and nurtured by someone.
- What can we, as parents and as a society, do differently to raise boys to be good men?
Intention Is Key.
As Dr. Wayne Dyer asserted, “Our intentions create our reality.” Nothing ever happens without a clear, set intention. This principle also applies to parenting, perhaps especially in parenting boys. One of the challenges facing parenting today is overscheduled and overwhelmed parents. Because of these challenges most, parents don’t set clear intentions.
Intention sets us in motion to take action in the right direction, towards an intended outcome. in the absence of clear, set intentions parenting turns to be lowered to meeting very basic needs, i.e food, shelter, clothes, etc. An understanding that our boys will not always “be boys,” but are growing up to become the next generation of men should encourage us to ensure that we raise them intentionally.
Defining Good Men.
We aren’t asking for anything extraordinary; We are not asking for perfect men or angels. We are asking for men with basic human traits that will make sharing planet earth with the male gender a safe and pleasant abode. Traits of a good man include being gentle, loving, caring, responsible, reliable, considerate, understanding, patient, empathetic, and compassionate, just to name a few.
These are some of the basic traits that will quench the thirst our generation has for good men. These traits are needed in the kind of fathers, brothers, uncles, partners, neighbors, and leaders humanity yearns for. Men who will heal, comfort, protect, and love generously. The yearning is for selfless authentic men who mean and do what they say. Men of unquestionable integrity.
Where Do We Start?
We are products of our environment and the effects of our childhood get fully played out during our adult years. I believe that the home remains the major contributor to the adult we become. Creating a nurturing, positive environment should be one of our clear set-out intention as parents.
Most traits we are currently witnessing in men of our young adult generation can be directly linked to their home and societal environments. The unfortunate part is that no parent intentionally plans to raise a child in a toxic environment or consciously create an environment that will probably negatively affect their children’s adulthood. But the lack of intention and consciousness in creating a nurturing environment with adulthood in mind is a challenge. We turn to forget that they will not always be boys but, sooner than we expect, the boy standing before us will be a man. If we don’t intentionally create a positive nurturing environment, a negative mediocre environment will set in by default.
Intentional parents have a clear picture of the man they are grooming and they consciously model for him those aforementioned traits–daily. They know the values they want to instill and they work at that every day. They know the beliefs they want to deeply engrave and they deliberately align their attitudes, conversations, and actions. Intentional parents equally know the beliefs that they don’t want their child to have and they are mindfully at work every day building a man and positioning him for the future ahead.
So the home environment should be set in such a way that it will not only enhance or meet the basic human needs, it should equally be set with the intention to build the mental, emotional capacities. It should be set to encourage and enhance good communication skills. It should be a deliberate act to teach relational skills at home. There is no better place to learn and know your self-worth than home. Home is a place to learn confidence, The world outside is an exam but home is a classroom.
It takes an intentional teacher with clearly set out learning objectives to deliver on this.
Home is the right and relevant institution to learn all life skills needed for the future. Parents should be conscious and intentional about the graduates, they will raise from their different institutions. As Fredrick Douglass said:
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men’
Being Aware of Current Challenges.
For us to raise good men, we should know the good traits we want and equally know what are the bad traits we want to avoid so we can fully comprehend the force we are coming up against. The most common dark forces that bring humanity (especially women and children) to its knees, with the yearning for good and better man are :
- Lack of integrity and authenticity
- Lack of adequate communication skills
- Inability to express his own emotions
- Low self-esteem with societal pressure to put on a brave face.
- Did I miss any? Let me know in the comment section.
Being aware of them and the different ways they unfold in adulthood should shape our parenting approach, conversations, attitudes, and actions, seizing every opportunity to deal mercilessly against any form of trace leading to them. In most cases the traces are ignored or overlooked, while parents passively hope that it’s a matter of time or it’s part of childhood, they will soon disappear. While the reality is in most cases they don’t disappear but they grow and get a hold within our once innocent bundle of joy.
The unfortunate part is some of this traits are on 3D display within the home; they are modeled by parents who sometimes do not know any better because of their backgrounds; they are modeled by parents who know but assumes they are not a big deal, parents who are not aware of the long-term impact of their modeling.
There Is Hope!
We can be intentional, deliberate, conscious & aware of what we model & how we model it. Change is also possible for an intentional man who gets to know and acknowledge what is good and what is wrong and set his mind and being to be the best he can be. When men start to be aware and stop being defensive and seek help, counseling, and mentorship, we will be sure that we are winning in a pursuit to change the negative narrative attached to the male gender.
A version of this post was previously published on TheIncredibleBoy.com.