Sunday, January 7, 2018

Manhood Must Be Developed In Our Male Children

"As George Gilder explains pointedly in Men and Marriage, “Unlike a woman, a man has no civilized role or agenda inscribed in his body.” The boy has no onboard GPS directing him toward his future. His transition into manhood can only come into being with significant, intentional work by other men. As a behavior, manhood must be learned, proven, and earned. As an identity, manhood must be bestowed by a boy’s father and the community’s larger fraternity of men. His mother can only affirm it. She cannot bequeath it.

Maleness just happens, but manhood does not. The first is a biological event, while the second is a developed character quality. When manhood is not formed and cultivated, males fail to mature, resulting in the “perpetual adolescence” or “failure to launch” that plagues our culture. When so many men play beer pong into their forties, live in their parents’ basements, play videogames twelve hours a day, and encounter women only in the form of pixels on a porn site, it seems clear that we have a manhood problem.

The human male nature doesn’t naturally go in the direction civilization requires; it requires the direction of other men. . . .

Manhood must be crafted and refined in order to orient males in pro-social, communitarian directions. In fact, this is the first work of every civilization. Anthropologists tell us that the original and most fundamental social problem of any culture is the unattached male. Left to his own, he is not inclined to play well with others. He is not disposed to make himself, or anyone around him, a better person. He is not likely to become other-focused. Either fiercely competitive or indolent, he is more likely to become a social contagion. He will either seek to define himself in the community by power, false confidence, and selfish conquest, or shrink away toward inactivity and reticence. . . .

[A]cross virtually all cultures, manhood has largely consisted of three essential qualities: procreation, provision, and protection. If the boy doesn’t learn these things, then he is not likely to become a good, selfless, serving man. Shame and derision from the community will become his lot. As Mead explains, “this behavior,being learned, is fragile and can disappear rather easily under social conditions that no longer teach it effectively.” Such domestic education can disappear within a generation. Tragically, manhood is becoming extinct because we are not teaching it."

Glenn Stanton, Manhood Is Not Natural

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