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Posts Tagged ‘boys initiative’

There’s a soft spot in my heart for boys.  Not surprising considering that I’m mom to two sons and grandma to four grandsons.  This means I’ve been very attentive to the way America treats boys and men.  I do not exaggerate.  The culture is beating up on our boys.

Dr. James Dobson recognized it years ago.  It’s why he wrote Bringing Up Boys before he wrote his book on girls.  It’s why Christina Hoff Sommers wrote The War Against Boys.  But, the war on boys puts girls at greater risk, too.

“If just one sex wins, both sexes lose.”  These words were spoken at a recent event sponsored by the Boys Initiative in Washington.  The group believes that we need to start a national conversation aimed at improving the outcomes for American boys and men in school, work, health, and marriage.

“. . . [W]e have a national crisis, a national security issue, a state-of-emergency issue and a nation at risk,” stated Willie Iles, national director of government relations for Boy Scouts of America and board member of the Boys Initiative.  “If anybody cannot understand that, as we talk about investments and the return on those investments, which are our boys, then it is very clear we are going in the wrong direction.”

Cheryl Wetzstein, a columnist for The Washington Times, notes startling statistics.  “Compared to girls, boys are less educated and more medicated.  One in five men of prime working age is not working.  Men have a life expectancy five years shorter than women.  Male suicide rates start out equal to females, but steadily rise over the lifespan.

America is failing its sons.  Is this not shameful?

There is no time to wallow in despair.  There is work to be done.  It begins with respect and appreciation for boys and girls: equal, but different.  Let’s get over the foolishness that boys and girls are the same.  Each brings to society something good and necessary.  Rather than putting them into competition, let’s help them develop their complementary skills with confidence.    Let’s help them communicate and problem-solve, not in sexuality class, but by teaching skills for life and how to relate.

To my gender, specifically, I say: Let’s boycott women’s study classes at the university, stop laughing at “men are idiots” commercials, and walk away from conversations that put boys and men down.  As mothers of sons, let’s praise the faithfulness of husbands and, when they are unfaithful or uninvolved, point sons to the Perfect Man, Jesus Christ.  Let’s help our sons treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters, in all purity.  Let’s explain why we value brave men who protect us from wolves at the door.

Let’s give our boys (and girls) the far-reaching benefits of marriage, home and family.  It is folly for our nation and suicide for our boys to set fire to traditional and real marriage.  A male father and female mother model roles vital to their son’s social survival.    Together, dads and moms help boys channel natural aggressiveness into someday providing for their own families.  For goodness sake, let’s help our boys think and give them work to do.

President Obama has launched a national Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative.  I’ll be honest.  Our boys and men — and, therefore, we girls and women, too — would benefit far more from the mentoring of a caring Christian community.  A community of older men and women who pass on the wisdom of experience, the practice of self-control, and the promise of identity in Jesus Christ.  A community that says, “No thanks” to federal grants or incentives with strings attached.

This momma bear perseveres in defense of America’s sons.  I do this best by assisting those who make the greater difference in the lives of  boys becoming men.  They are the weathered warriors who grip the Sword of Truth.  They are the men who learned their lessons well.  Who fell on humbled knees, then rose to re-engage.  These older men are “sober minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.”   I’ve seen these models of integrity.  I’ve heard their speech and witnessed behaviors that cannot be condemned,  rather put opponents to shame (Titus 2).

For seasoned and honorable men, I am grateful.  Under their tutelage, boys mature in wisdom.  Strength.  Service.

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