Tuesday, January 14, 2014

From Boys to Men

The trolls who have been here recently seem mainly to have been chaps. A particular sort and an increasingly common sort. They are not the Men we were used to throughout history. Our society is producing emasculated men.

Much has been written and spoken about the 'rights' of 'empowered' women but it seems such empowerment has seeped right down to the bottom, especially in our Female-Dominated schools, to the detriment of masculinity and its proper flowering in our boys.

I could speak a lot simply repeating what my customers often speak about. But I prefer to let them speak for themselves. Even the ladies are beginning to speak up, empowered by a few glasses of Grace.

Here is one. Maggie Dent:

Why boys need a boyhood to become good men 

Given the current deep community outpourings of concern for the senseless violence present on Australian streets at night, the disturbing numbers of little boys being suspended and expelled from our schools, and the decreasing numbers of young men attending and graduating university, 
something is going wrong in the world of our boys. 
I lay blame on society, which seems to have stolen boyhood in the name of a sanitised, politically correct, gender neutral, bland childhood.
I could add in here that the root cause is Socialism and it's main weapon is Feminism.

IMHO, of course. I am but an 'umble Taverner.
One of the world’s leading writers on boys and men, Michael Gurian, believes the invisible drive at the biological core of manhood is the pursuit to prove self-worth. No one can give a man his self-worth – he has to give this to himself. The guidance of good men, of course, helps. 

To find this place, however, boys and men seek external ways to demonstrate potency, victory and independence – and this is what helps shape their search for meaning and purpose in life from a very early age.  
It is the warrior unfolding from within. 
There have been several shifts in society that have undermined our children and particularly impacted on our boy warriors.

Our little warriors are being smothered at birth. Those that get past being aborted, that is.

In days gone by, boys had the freedom to roam unsupervised on adventures that allowed them to be massively engaged in pursuits that helped them to learn and grow using life’s greatest teacher – experience. 
Our modern-day phobia that our world is unsafe, especially for our boys, is creating an environment where they are finding it ever more difficult to find that place of self-worth through external moments of potency and success 
We now run the risk of creating a generation of frustrated and angry young men. 
Again, IMHO, we have already arrived there.
The dominant male hormone testosterone is associated with sex and aggression and the search for social power, ambition and independence. Another key influencer (alongside cultural conditioning of course) may be that men have more receptors for the hormone vasopressin – which some researchers have associated with territoriality, hierarchy, competition and persistence, as well as the capacity to bond. 
Generally, boys are soft wired to be competitive and active, and are constantly in search of moments to prove their worth and value (in girls and women, oestrogen and oxytocin influence us in different ways, along with their cultural conditioning). 

The playground provides an early opportunity for boys to demonstrate worth but the safe, ‘fantastic plastic’ playgrounds of today are emasculating boyhood. 
We’ve removed the traditional monkey bars, seesaws and maypoles which were all wonderful opportunities to stretch oneself, hurt oneself when a poor decision was made and learn how to play well with other children – this is where we learnt healthy risk management. 
When it is said, "We have..", 'we' have done nothing of the sort.

THEY have. The feminists, the cultural Marxists, the Government dictators who constantly nag, cajole, threaten and force their creeds onto 'society' denigrating anyone who dares to speak otherwise.
Today’s playgrounds are less engaging and statistics show that children are injured more in modern playgrounds than in the scary old playgrounds because they no longer know how to cope with and manage risk. And keeping kids indoors certainly hasn’t made them any safer either. 
The demise of vigorous play as a valid and accepted part of the school playground has also had an impact. Not only did it allow for boys to discharge energy, it was another way children learnt the code of good play versus bad play. 
As boys tend to be less efficient at using language to resolve conflict, this is where they learnt non-verbal cues telling them it was time to leave and walk away. 
Leading play expert Dr Stuart Brown argues that we only develop an understanding of ‘play code’ in our childhood from playing endlessly with other children. 
Without a play code we can badly misread social situations and interpret a threat incorrectly and, without the ability to defuse the situation, this can turn into violence quickly, especially with a bellyful of alcohol. 

Other trends that are sucking the healthy warrior spirit from our young lads include the ban on keeping score in junior sports competitions so nobody under 14 loses (or wins!). This must be so exasperating for lads, another stolen validation. 
Some early years’ centres have banned superhero play so children are not allowed to dress in capes and masks to lead the fight of good versus bad – this actually needs to be encouraged rather than shamed as this courage settles deep within a boy’s psyche. 
We’ve also seen bans on tree climbing, playing chasey and even removing sandpits to be replaced by more mat time, phonics in isolation, more desk work, less free play and homework for 4 year olds. 
If I was a 5 year old today I would be angry too.
THIS is how our misandric society want boys to be like.

Boys need to learn at a young age what happens when they make poor choices in the pursuit of conquering the world. 
Our modern-day warriors need to become accountable for their own actions before they hit the party scenes of late adolescence and make a mistake that may be life-changing. 
We need to celebrate the bruises, the occasional stitches and the rare broken arm because boys learn deeply from real experience and seldom from lectures, especially from well-meaning mums. These wounds are external signs that you are a warrior. 
Our children’s lives tend to be micromanaged, over-supervised and planned, and there is very little freedom and autonomy. 
I believe the impact on boys is particularly negative and increasing levels of depression and mental illness in adolescence may be telling us that there are some very deep instinctual drives that need to be nurtured in a healthy way, rather than denied and crushed. 
As Michael Gurian explains,  
the strong drive for self worth and value is a profound and sacred journey that is the core to a healthy manhood and it starts at a boy’s birth: 
“This core of manhood represents maleness at its best – self sacrificing, devoted to service, loving, wise and powerful and at its worst – brutal, shaming, destructive, dangerous,” Gurian writes. 
We need to seriously consider giving boys back their boyhoods and opportunities for authentic growth in the company of good men, or we are going to continue seeing more and more 'coward-hitting' warriors wreaking havoc in our communities.

Maggie Dent is a parenting author, educator, speaker and mother of four sons. In February, she is releasing a DVD of her popular talk Boys, Boys, Boys: Understanding, Nurturing and Connecting to Today’s Boys, which is already available as streaming media at

Maggie is welcome in the Tavern.



  1. "Angry young men" is not a modern phrase, so not all of the problems can be associated with anything new in society.

    Angry young men used to settle down to be productive people, active in their society, able and willing to change what made them angry in the first place. They could be activists, politicians, school governors, etc. who could make a difference and improve the world around them.

    What is new is the age at which angry young men stop being angry. Nowadays, angry young men rarely can settle down to make the world better. Instead they are joined by a growing number of angry older men, too. Older men have been forced away from their children, divorced against their will - often with devastating financial consequences that will last until their short time as old-age pensioners. The younger men are increasingly denied the opportunity to involve themselves in making the world about them better, or improving things even slightly.

    From new social views on masculinity that make it out to be more of a disease than a cultural benefit, through to quotas that push men out of positions they are well qualified in simply because they don't have the right gonads, men are being forced more and more to impotence in helping men, women and children to have good lives. They are no longer welcome, let alone encouraged, to take a part in the future of us all; many aren't even allowed to care for their own children.

    No wonder boys grow into angry young men. No wonder that angry young men stay angry. Part of masculinity is building things: whether it is building a business empire, building a legacy in politics or simply making a good family and home, men are being denied their chances to contribute. The masculine care that creates and maintains a healthy, safe society for everyone is being stunted, laughed at, discredited and denied.

    No wonder men are angry.

    1. An excellent set of points. It starts and descends, spiralling. The slippery slope. Ruin the small boys and rob adulthood of any redeeming opportunities. And NO ACCIDENT.

  2. I could explain to the feminists just what sort of problem they are creating with all their attempts to promote a twisted vision of equality will do, but I think in this case I will let someone far more articulate than myself do so:

    “There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that that have nothing to lose. People who have stake in their society, protect that society, but when they don't have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.”

    ― Martin Luther King Jr.

    This will be on you feminists. The MRM will not let anyone forget.

    From Iron John

    1. Our boys will not become well rounded and effective men and our society will fall as a result. Blame will be too late and the consequences visited upon those feminists and cultural Marxists that have cause it. Meanwhile it is up to viable men to continue their self-development past the daily events and achieve the very best they can be, mentally, spiritually, intellectually and emotionally. They will need Grace.

  3. "As boys tend to be less efficient at using language to resolve conflict, this is where they learnt non-verbal cues telling them it was time to leave and walk away."
    Um, or time to NOT "walk away". "Talk" is cheap.


  4. "As boys tend to be less efficient at using language to resolve conflict, this is where they learnt non-verbal cues telling them it was time to leave and walk away."
    Or NOT "time to walk away". "Talk" is cheap.


  5. I think that all children should be given back their childhood to explore for themselves safely with guidance but without interference (indoctrination). Childhood is also the stage where young girls begin to be 'taught' wrong thinking.

    The true instincts of men and women provide an equal balance that compliment each other. Our modern society has led us away from our natural instincts.

    1. It has always been difficult for parents to know where to draw the line. Too much or too little guidance / freedom. And children differ between themselves in their needs for independence and time to achieve it. Experience, testing themselves in encounter with life is the issue.

  6. "One of the world’s leading writers on boys and men, Michael Gurian, believes the invisible drive at the biological core of manhood is the pursuit to prove self-worth. No one can give a man his self-worth – he has to give this to himself. The guidance of good men, of course, helps."

    Generally, boys are soft wired to be competitive and active, and are constantly in search of moments to prove their worth and value

    The comment brought a couple of Scriptures to my mind.

    1 Corinthians 4:3
    But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself."

    And then there was Paul's faux boasting to the Corinthians, about how great a servant of Christ he was:

    2 Corinthians 11:23
    Are they [ministering] servants of Christ (the Messiah)? I am talking like one beside himself, [but] I am more, with far more extensive and abundant labors, with far more imprisonments, [beaten] with countless stripes, and frequently [at the point of] death.

    If there's any truth to men innately seeking a sense of self-worth--which I don't think is really true--then all the message of Scripture says that it has to go. The kingdom of heaven is accepted as a child accepts something from his Father, not as something "earned" from proving self-worth. (Matthew 18:3)

    I don't mean to be argumentative, although Scripture is my foundation. I am God's utterly unprofitable servant by His grace. As Paul said, I do not judge myself. Not for righteousness or outward performance--even those things are gifts and empowerment from God.

    With all love and respect, what today's men and boys need is the sweet release of recognizing they don't have to prove anything. People can work to survive, set goals and make plans, and "if it is the Lord's will, we will live." (James 4:15).

    Apologies if I somehow have misunderstood terribly.

  7. I think the exhortations of the scriptures that you mention are valid. They talk of matters far deeper in a man and a boy's soul. And they need to be used in proper context. I could also send you off to find scriptures that say "God so Loved the world....." which also has deep meaning.

    The world and mankind is to be loved. God made both 'and they were Good'. Perhaps not in every aspect after a very short while !! with us taking an active and miscreant role, but Loved and experienced as a prayer and a gift. That means also being the best of who we are at any moment - a matter most of us are spectacular failures at much of the time.

    Our natural aspects are important. Our soul is a human soul, meant for a while to be merged with a human body. Just as we are to honour and perfect the soul, so are we to honour and perfect the body, as far as may be enabled in a body that after a while deteriorates. A boy's body, spirit, adventure, competitiveness etc are 'measured' against his peers, by himself as well as them. He does that in order to know himself and where he is in the growing bizzo.

    Measured, not so much judged.

    Judging is a word so easily misapplied. We judge the distance between two banks of a river that we intend to jump.

    WE weigh evidence of wrongdoing in order to measure the degree (if any) of fault before we pass judgement - ie: condemn.

    We are exhorted to judge as we ourselves will be judged, with mercy and justice but no-where in the scriptures are we exhorted to be blind to ourselves or to others.

    St Paul makes many, many Judgements. He exhorts people to preach the Word and if it is rejected, to turn our backs on the ones who refuse to hear. We have to judge just what they have done in refusing. We have to make a decision as to what is good and what is bad. That is a judgement. When he says he does not judge himself you need to look at the context. He is saying he has no need in this instance because the Judgement is God's more properly appropriate than his. He is not meaning that he has no right or necessity to judge his own actions, thoughts, words etc. Of course he has. In fact he has a duty to judge himself and all around him. Not to simply condemn, which is just one modern meaning of the word.

    Non need be a condemnation.

    Our self-worth is a matter for each of us to grow and develop in honest, just and merciful appraisal. We seek the advice and sometimes the approbation of our friends. We 'measure' against an ideal.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts. Perhaps my reply will indicate acknowledgement and understanding of your thoughts, and you might clarify potential misunderstanding.

      This may or may not sound like a semantics discussion, but the keyword I see is "worth."

      Some of what you are describing is not an association of "what is my self-worth?" but "what is my condition?" We are certainly commanded to do this, such as (for example) the self-examination we are meant to do while taking communion.

      "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master." Matthew 10:25

      We aim to be Christlike and bear fruit--good things.

      But as I think your reply is saying and agreeing, there is a difference between examining the condition of oneself and others, and judging someone else and others and it's vitally important to understand the difference.


      Galatians 6:4
      4 But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [[a]in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor.

      Likewise, this implicitly identifies a potential temptation: "how do I compare against my neighbor?" God cares nothing about how one person compares against another in any way, so in no way is one's peers his "bar" as it were. Rather, God gave a man his unique role and measures the individual with the task he has at hand.

      I do not believe Scripture approves the notion of "proving self-worth" in the way this piece of writing portrays. "

      I do agree that masculinity carries with it ambition and socially-independent thinking. But--for a down-to-Earth comment--many men do, for example, associate their (say) financial success or social status with their self-worth (even Christian men!) and some openly encourage that thinking such that men who (say) suffer unemployment feel worthless or the successful feel like their successes/popularity proves it. Yet what are outward results? "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the world and loses his own soul." (Matthew 16:26)

      Back to what you're saying, yes, a man may examine the condition of his heart and thoughts, such that he may bear fruit--a notion not the slightest constrained to a gender. But by comparisons to others? No. To prove his worth? No--that leads to boasting among other things, about actions, condition of righteousness, or worldly status. But to resemble Christ inwardly, "cleaning the inside of the cup so that the outside will be clean also" (Matthew 23:26)? Yes.

      Perhaps you can bear with me and clarify. Moment-to-moment, before God, I understand that every moment an opportunity to obey in all kinds of forms as the "action" of a command demonstrating faith (the book of James mentions faith with works, like Abraham). Again, this is not limited to men either. There is a humanly pitfall well-identified in Scripture that I do believe is at stake.

    2. I am sorry for the delay getting back to you sir. You give me much to think about and I am sure we could continue to refine the points. We agree on so much and the differences are interesting. I have been thinking while pulling pints and wiping tables. Life has to be lived.

      Perhaps a table in the corner when it gets a bit quieter. We can discuss in greater depth and more easily over a pint. I suggest that you give me a call. You have my Skype connection. Please feel free to use it whenever you see a green or gold sign that I am about. It often says 'away' when I am within earshot.

    3. Amfortas,

      I think the place where I may be able to meet you half-way is that a man tends to "find himself," or rather his area of competence and identity (his "calling" as it were) on his own, in a way, because of a man's more socially-independent thinking.

      I think that women, on the other hand, develop their identities a bit more in terms of how they respond to others; they still fall on the spectrum of how to do such things right and wrong as men do, but I think they evaluate themselves more in terms of their people-responder nature.

      That's my take for now. ;)

    4. Indeed. We each live on a continuum, a dimension, several of them, and discovering our true selves is achieved alongside making those selves.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..