Teaching Boys about Masculinity

boy-in-mans-arms.jpgIt’s ironic that I should first learn about Joe Ehrmann (All-American football player at Syracuse University as well as a pro football player for 13 years) by reading a Dallas Seminary publication. Then, when I saw that the topic had to do with the loss of true masculinity in our culture, I thought it would be a rather boring treatise to pump up skinny young boys to seek manhood through devotion to athletics with it’s spirit of teamwork, goal setting, sacrifice, etc., etc. Wrong! Follow what he said:

We teach our boys three lies about masculinity (1) that it is determined by athletic ability with an emphasis on competing and winning, (2) that it’s all about sexual conquest, and (3) that it has to do with economic success — the size of your salary and the power associated with your job title.

Nearly 3,000 years ago, the prophet Jeremiah complained about the same thing: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches.”

Ehrmann finished on a positive note. “At the end of your life, when you want to measure what kind of man you are, it’s all about relationships.” (1) the capacity to love and to be loved, and (2) a commitment to a transcendent purpose.


Back to Jeremiah, who finished his godly perspective on a similar positive note: “. . . that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Click on Veritas and select the October 2006 for an Adobe Acrobatdownload of the entire article.


5 Responses to Teaching Boys about Masculinity

  1. Adam Scheidegger says:

    Man oh Man….or wait…today it might be not-Man. This issue is one I’m passionate about. I believe this lack of real, selfless, strong Men today has provided tons of opportunity for not only lack of ideal leadership, but lack of strong marriages, friendships, and overall good character. What the heck!? I’m not a pessimest…I can see a better future of more capable men, but really, how hard is it to just take good counsel from other Godly men, be real with one another, and lead in public with integrity? Surely if just these three things were more in place, the women of today would have to take notice and begin to shift as well.

  2. leejagers says:

    I think the key word in your comment is “selfless,” Adam. All the wrong things we teach kids about manliness are basically selfish. The healthy things involve an awareness of others with caring interaction with them. Like you, I say “What’s so tough about that?”
    — jlj

  3. leejagers says:

    Thanks for visiting, akugel. I spent some time on your blog yesterday and went back again today. Very thoughtful and good use of YouTube

  4. Jane Musser says:

    I love these comments on “what is masculinity” it is so challenging to raise two boys in this world and stay true to what is a man. One twin loves any ball, racket or bat he can get his hands on, the other loves music, dancing and trying on mama’s shoes. I am raising great husbands and fathers (who I hope will cry when they need to) who spend time with their families. That is the measure of a man! Thanks for brining up this topic!

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