Thursday, June 23, 2011

Boys will be boys!

My husband has learned he can't tease me about making him do something or getting rid of his stuff. I know that he is teasing (because I don't actually do those types of things), but I jump to the defensive because I do NOT want to contribute to the stereotype that guys get married because they need someone to take care of them. He is not a big kid who needs me to cook for him and schedule his appointments. (He does both of those chores in our home, anyway.) Boys may be boys, but men should not be boys.

In general, men are no longer expected to be mature, responsible adults who provide for and protect their families. Outside of their professional lives, men are supposed to be interested in beer and sports, feel indifferent about their wives except as sex partners, and be clueless about their kids. (At Working to Beat Hell, Fr. Brian provides a thorough look at the role of fathers in our society now and how this affects our relationship with God.)

Consider the following situation: A woman has been invited out to lunch with her friends. Her husband had planned to watch 'the game' with his friends. If she takes their children with her, she is either being really nice or doesn't trust him alone with the kids. If he takes the children, clearly he is 'whipped'.

While women mock and criticize men, most also want men to be chivalrous. How are men supposed to do this if they are constantly undermined by the women they hope to please? If men never have the opportunity to lead, to show respect, and to take responsibility, they will not develop into responsible, respectful, family leaders. (See more on The Flip-Side of Chivalry at God's Spies.) A man cannot be a loving husband, caring father, and simultaneously spend all of his time in a sports bar.

My dear husband, who is also a pretty awesome dad!

So, boys will be boys. Can we make this an expectation instead of an excuse? Rather than smiling indulgently at boys who destroy their things, talk back, pick fights, 'check out' girls, and run wild, maybe we can ask for more. We can teach our sons how to value themselves, express their thoughts clearly, defend those who need it, treat women with respect, and submit to lawful authority. Some day these boys will be adults. I pray that we parents will have equipped them to be men.

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