“Be a man! Boy’s don’t cry, why are you crying!?
We’ve all heard this kind of sentiment in so many words and expressed in a variety of ways. Men of all ages have had to live attempting to live by the code of men that should hide and bottle up their strongest emotions and feelings. We must be careful about how we use the term of course. While it is a real thing, we have to define what exactly we mean by ‘toxic masculinity’. We first have to understand what it means to be a man. For every man, it will have a certain level of uniqueness; but in general, there are a few attributes that are common to all men to some degree.
Being A Man
Every dad has a syllabus planned for what he wishes to teach his children, if he is a good man; then quite naturally he wants to instill in his children the best teachings and traditions he can. These are the building blocks of masculinity imparted from father to son, uncle to nephew, grandpa to grandson. I’m guessing you were probably expecting some fancy, google sounding explanation. No, I would rather not want to confuse you. Google the term ‘manhood’ and you’ll see what I mean. Society has no end to various perspectives on what it means to be a man. The following are some attributes of what true masculinity is made of.
- Self Sacrifice-
- Self Reliant
- Spiritual and God Fearing
- Self Control
Active Fathers Are The True Models of True Masculinity
I have always been an advocate for children taking up martial arts as early as they are physically and mentally ready. Under the tutelage of a keen instructor experienced with working children, the martial sciences can help children learn and practice a myriad of skills and help them develop healthier habits. For boys and young men, these skills also help them to further develop healthier concepts of masculinity.
For myself as a father, it’s something I’ve taken from my own childhood. Growing up, my siblings and I all had some form of physical sport we adhered to. My younger brothers had football and basketball and I had Taekwondo and other martial arts. There were even moments our interests crossed over, and we were able to share what we knew about our hobbies and interest with each other. While we didn’t know it, our dad was subtly teaching us about what it meant to be a man. The first, being how men (or young men, rather) interact with others. And by supporting our interest, even if he didn’t share those interests was one of the many powerful lessons we took and apply as fathers ourselves.
Fatherhood and Masculinity
An amazing aspect of fatherhood is having the opportunity to see those experiences and the benefits they bring. If you haven’t figured it out, it’s not society that shapes men to be good, positive, and productive men. It’s fathers that take their role seriously, but not too seriously to instill in their boys what masculinity really looks like. How it allows men to experience a fuller range of emotions and share their feelings with others. It allows men to cry without shame and to experience deep love and affection, both socially and romantically.
It enables men to:
- Accept their bodies even if they’re not perfectly muscular and sculpted
- Treat women and girls with the same thoughtfulness with which they like to be treated
- Use their privilege as men to advocate for women and others
- Create and maintain healthy and positive friendships
- Develop as emotionally available caretakers and parents to their children of both genders.
- Accept that anger is no excuse for violence or abuse.
- Experience and enjoy touch and affection with other men
- Create instead of destroying.
- Develop a healthy and positive spiritual practice and belief.
Let’s keep the conversation going dads, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.