Crazy Making Mixed Messages About Being a Man: What Can We do about it?
In an Age of Super Heroes, Where are the Fathers?
The Avengers Endgame movie that was recently released brought in over a billion dollars the first week. A few of the male Super Heroes had children. This was a sharp contrast to Avengers, The Age of Ultron, where Hawkeye was the only Avenger who was a father. But he left his pregnant wife and two children at home so he could join the team and “save the world.” In Endgame Ironman, Antman, and Black Panther joined Hawkeye as fathers, but they left the caregiving of their children to the mothers while they, yet again, “saved the world.”
This model of fatherhood shows men leaving their children and demonstrating that their work is far more important and that violence is the way to overcome adversaries. Is this the message that we want fathers to convey to their children?
We are Losing Far Too Many Good Men!
Giving Men the Option to Expand Our Palates
‘Traditional male behaviors' have been recently marked by the American Psychology Association as harmful and limiting to men- and to women and children in their lives. Being isolated, going it alone, being tough and unemotional, competing with other men, being numb and always strong are behaviours associated with this traditional male model. That is not to say that these behaviours are all bad. To the contrary, many of these qualities that we men are taught from birth (some say from conception) are useful and life-affirming when used consciously and judiciously. And that is the key, in our opinion. Most of us are taught this traditional model from birth and don’t know any other way. As a result, we don’t have a choice. And that’s the tragedy of traditional maleness.
So, what are the alternatives? We believe it is the practice of our CLASSICS Model. This model, we have found, again and again, give men healthy alternatives to our old behaviors. These alternatives are life-affirming and life-changing. We believe men who practice Connection to feelings, Loving with an open heart, Authenticity through accountability and integrity, Spirituality, healthy Sexuality, Intentionally creating a mission of service, connection to Community, and expressing their Sovereignty have a much larger range through which to express ourselves. This wider range frees us from the tyranny and limitations of the old model.
Where are All the Good Men... Books?
This fact was not a bit surprising to Leonard or me. There is a dearth of books for men's personal growth simply because the market for these books is dismally small. Men, as a whole, simply are not interested in waking up or growing nearly as much as women. Sadly, we men are taught early on that we are expected to figure things out ourselves, that we are to do this in isolation, that we are never to appear to be weak or to not have the answers and that we are to tough out any issues we can't easily 'win'. These behaviours make up part of what the American Psychological Association has called "traditional masculine ideology", which they have branded as harmful.