In Wooster, Ohio, two women successfully started an all girls, Boy Scout Troop. Yes, you read that correctly, a Boy Scout Troop minus any boys. The natural question is, doesn’t the Girl Scout organization still exist? Why would women push to form a girls-only Boy Scout Troop?
Serious psychological issues aside, this action is indicative of the way we are treating our boys in the 21st Century. Boys are being feminized, marginalized, and largely overlooked. We will address that very issue and offer real solutions (man skills) during the paragraphs that follow.
Navigate this post:
|1. Skill #1: Clothing Care and Maintenance||4. Skill #4: Guns and Knives|
|2. Skill #2: Vehicle Care and Emergencies||5. Skill #5: Fighting|
|3. Skill #3: First Aid and Trauma Care||a. Real Contact|
|a. Good Hygiene||6. Conculsion|
An Artificial World
In addition to the very real problem of young men being marginalized and raised without a male role model, we have an entire generation of boys being raised in an artificial world. Their entertainment is all digital and played out on a screen. A tremendous percentage of their communication is conducted via text or instant message. Words have been replaced by little pictures. Mobile phone apps are the solution to all life’s problems.
Helicopter moms hover over their sons constantly in an attempt to shield them from any risk or danger. These mothers attempt to sterilize the world and protect their precious baby boys from not only from physical injury but from anything that might upset them emotionally.
New age child-rearing gurus warn us not to hold children responsible for their actions, punish them or point out their shortcomings. Everyone who shows up gets a trophy. Children who are failing in school no longer get held back so they can catch up. Feelings are given far more credence than facts.
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Rock and Stone World
Despite the parent’s best efforts to shield and protect their precious baby boys from harsh and ugly realities, the truth is that we live in a rock and stone world. Gravity still pulls you down, water still makes you wet, fire can still burn you. If you are cut you will still bleed and a mobile phone app will not stop the blood flow.
Modern boys are treated like helpless infants and toddlers all the way through their teens. It seems as if modern parents somehow believe that on their 18th birthday, a magical cloud will descend upon their little boy and transform him overnight into a mature and responsible man.
Employers expect and demand results, not good intentions. Your son’s first boss will not care about his feelings or artificially created self-esteem. Lord help your coddled son if he ever encounters a real-life Drill Instructor.
This topic is broad and if you asked ten people, you would likely get ten different answers. As someone who has raised two sons to successful adulthood, coached and taught hundreds of youth, and trained thousands of young military men, I have a few opinions on the subject of Man Skills that every boy should have before he leaves his father’s house.
Skill #1: Clothing Care and Maintenance
I decided to place this skill set first as it seems to be so overlooked in today’s culture. Moms and dads, teach your sons to use a needle and thread to make small repairs on their clothes and re-attach buttons. As simple as this seems, stitching a small tear in a shirt or pants or sewing on a button has become high science to modern young men.
Success in the workplace is something we all desire for our sons. Before they can prove themselves at work, they will first be judged by their appearance. If your son arrives for work looking like he slept in his clothes, people will notice. Mothers, teach your sons to use an iron and press their clothes. Fathers, teach your sons how to polish their shoes, tie a necktie, and select a dress belt.
Skill #2: Vehicle Care and Emergencies
Vehicle care and maintenance is the next skill that has become overlooked by the soft Millennial generation. I am not necessarily talking about major engine repairs or anything so complicated. Vehicle care skills would include how to find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle (inside driver’s door) how to check the tire pressure with a gauge and how to fill the tires. Don’t laugh. Not very long ago I had an 18-year-old boy asked: “Do all the tires share air or do you need to put it in each one?”
Teach your sons how to check the basic fluids; windshield washer, radiator, oil, and transmission. Show them how to top these fluids off and, for the love of all that is holy, teach them to beware of a hot radiator cap. Help your sons to understand the basic concept that routine oil changes and maintenance will greatly extend the life of the engine and reduce problems in the long run.
As for the battery; teach your sons how to inspect the terminals and connections for corrosion. Show them how to clean corroded terminals and replace the connections if need be. Also, demonstrate and then have your son perform the use of jumper cables to jump-start a dead battery. Red is positive (+) and Black is negative (-).
Returning to the tires, be sure your sons understand how to use a car jack, tire iron/tool, and how to remove a flat tire and replace it with a spare. This is NOT just common sense. It amazes me that modern young men call a tow truck to have a flat tire replaced. Remember to stress the importance of solid ground and putting the emergency brake on. Remind Ralphy to keep track of the lug nuts.
Skill #3: First Aid and Trauma Care
Returning to the idea that you cannot always be everywhere at all times with your kids. They might not be with you when they get hurt. Yes, we all pray that a responsible, mature adult will be right there, ready to render aid. However, that is not always the case.
We have done a pretty good job teaching Basic First Aid and CPR to our teenagers over the last couple of decades. Heimlich and CPR are mandatory for most kids to graduate high school and that is a positive thing. Reality, however, indicates that they are hundreds of times more likely to be in a car wreck than to be near someone who is having a heart attack.
Would your son know what to do if they were in a serious car wreck and someone was bleeding heavily? Rollover crashes often result in partial or complete amputations. An open artery in a limb can put someone into irreversible shock (death) in 4-5 minutes. Barring a miracle, an ambulance will not be on the scene of a crash within five minutes of the injury. What will your son do during that precious time?
In addition to good hygiene…
Basic wound care, CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver, your sons should have the training and knowledge to deal with a sudden life-threatening emergency. For far too many of our youth, their first response to a crisis is to pull out a phone are record it
I made emergency trauma kits for my kids when they were in their early and late teens. We did training and they carried the kits with them. In less than one year after I gave my kids their kits, both of them had the need to use their training and gear on other people.
My son was only 18 when he had to pack and wrap a deep puncture wound in a man’s forearm. It was an industrial accident and the man was bleeding heavily. No one else on the scene had any medical gear available.
Skill #4: Guns and Knives
I don’t care what your stance on firearms ownership happens to be, in the Rock and Stone world, firearms exist. At some point when they are out of your control, your sons will encounter firearms. They will either treat the gun like a toy or a strange novelty because you sheltered them all their lives or they can treat a gun like the dangerous tool that it is.
Educated and experienced sons will not “play” with guns nor will they allow others to “play” with guns around them. If they have no experience or education, they are relying on luck.
All of your children, not just your sons, should learn the 4 Universal Firearms Safety Rules. When followed, the Universal Firearms Safety Rules negate the likelihood of a negligent discharge or anyone being injured from foolishness.
Parents, I also challenge you to teach your sons how to unload and clear a wide variety of firearm actions. I have witnessed police officers fumbling with guns in an attempt to clear them because they did not know how the action worked. The more familiar your sons are with firearms as tools, the less likely they will be to mishandle them or allow other people to mishandle them in their presence.
Knives go hand in hand with firearms as tools. Instruct your sons in the care and maintenance of a pocket knife or fixed blade. Teach them to oil the blade properly and how to sharpen a knife edge. A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one for two main reasons. A dull knife requires more muscle power to cut, increasing the likelihood of it slipping and causing injury. Also, people treat sharp knives with respect and they handle them properly, not so much with dull knives.
Skill #5: Fighting
In the Rock and Stone world, humans are still aggressive. Bullies and bad men will still attack you. It doesn’t matter that you taught your son to be gentle, kind, and understanding. When an attacker chooses the time and place, none of the aforementioned will make one bit of difference.
Violent drunks, social bullies, or drugged-out tweakers will not be dissuaded from their attack because your son is a “nice person”. Your son will be a nice person with a broken nose, broken jaw, concussion, or worse.
Boys do not learn how to deal with physical violence or attacks overnight. One YMCA “Self-Defense Class” is right next door to worthless. Boys and young men first need to overcome fear or panic associated with another human aggressively entering their personal space and laying hands on them.
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What I discovered first hand from working every day of the week with these kids was that we have largely failed to prepare them for the rigors of adulthood and civic duty.
– From article: 3 Methods to Prevent your Son from Becoming a Pussy
Contact sports are fantastic ways to teach young men to get past the fear of rough physical contact. Of all the school sports, collegiate-style wrestling is the best outlet for preparing boys to become men in this department.
You might be thinking “My kid does Karate (or Tae Kwon Do) at the local strip mall. So I’ve got that covered.” Close, but no cigar. Most youth Karate programs are all about burning up excess energy in boys with absolute minimum physical contact. I get that and I understand it. There is nothing wrong with that exercise for energetic boys. Youth boxing still existing in some areas and is worth investigating.
In the martial arts world, a program that stresses grappling and striking, such as Shingitai Jujitsu, is a more practical investment in time. The prime purpose of martial arts training is twofold; reduce and remove the fear/panic associated with a physical attack and give the student the skills necessary to end the attack as quickly as possible with the least amount of harm to themselves and their loved ones.
The Wrap Up
I could certainly expand on the Man Skills topic discussed here and write an entire book on the subject. As a matter of fact, I have done that; Team Honey Badger: Raising Fearless Kids in a Cowardly World.
This is certainly not the first article to consider the lost generation of boys we have raised in the United States, but we do offer solutions, not just problems. Your sons will not become men overnight. It takes time and dedicated effort to raise a boy into a productive and mature man. Our society used to understand that.