Who’s teaching boys to be men?
The Angry Therapist

This means dad is either absent physically or emotionally. So that space is filled with boys who also don’t have dads.

I guess there’s a need in writing to crutch on extreme generalizations, but this is seriously beyond the pale. Even the dads who are present are absent because they are automatically emotionally deficient?

My Great Depression born, WWII veteran Dad didn’t often share his emotions openly, but he shared his experience, copious time, and sage advice with us regularly. He talked to us and with us. We drew our own conclusions about what worked for him (and what didn’t) as we defined our visions of what it meant to be men and fathers.

There’s all kinds of gray in this world. Black and white proclamations address a sliver of the problems we face. Dictating some universal paradigm that alters how men deal with emotion is an unlikely recipe for success. You can’t redefine men’s emotions based on a model which excludes masculinity. One sex cannot define what the other sex must experience emotionally. That’s how we got into this situation in the first place. What we can define and must dictate is the actions that we will accept.

Many men need to radically and immediately change their behavior. That doesn’t mean they need to stop being men, it means they need to begin consistently doing the right thing . Our training of new men needs to start with a demand for self-respect, respect for others, and an unflinching and continual examination of our choices and behavior within that baseline.

For all our desire, love, and work, there are no perfect parents. Too often advice is doled out like a recipe that’s supposed to yield a perfect cake. We have to begin our repairs with an acknowledgement of our imperfections. It’s a major advantage if your spouse has parenting skills that compliment your own.

I have surpassed my father in some aspects of raising children, but there are areas where he performed vastly better as a father than I have. I’ve shared these generational differences with my children as a prayer that they will evolve their own parenting practices to best meet the needs of their children. I hope they will spend more time filtering what worked (or didn’t) to benefit their children — and less time whining about whatever I didn’t deliver to them.

That’s what I learned from my father.

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