This month we are talking about making deposits in our son’s lives. As most of you by now have seen the Gillett razor commercial and have an opinion about it. GOOD for you that is exactly what Gillett wants. Same for Nike, as long as you are talking about them good or bad their advertising dollars are working.
The first thing I want to discuss is no matter if you have a beard down to your crotch or not a single whisker on your face, this does NOT make you a man (thanks Duck Dynasty). I know men that have both crazy long beards and chest hair and men that have no body hair at all including leg hair. These attributes have nothing to do with the beliefs or character of a man!
In my opinion, Gillett went too broad on this subject (when you only got 30 seconds I get it). While a few of their points were spot on (how we treat and talk about women etc.) some were not. Let us take the two young men fighting at the backyard BBQ. Why are these two young men fighting? Was one of them sticking up for his sister? Was the other bullying one of them? I am not condoning violence at all. My dad taught me, you walk away from a fight if possible but if your back is against the wall and the person will not allow you to avoid the confrontation you have to protect yourself and others, especially women and smaller people that cannot defend themselves.
This is the first deposit I want to discuss. We must teach our young men you have to be willing to stick up for weaker people and bullying is NEVER the answer to anything. Your sons need to see this in your relationships with their mother, sisters, grandmothers, and aunts, people you deal with daily and even random strangers. We also need to explain to them that they have to get a friend tribe that this is the rule. Once you run with other young men of this character, they will help you step in, confront bullies, and help protect weaker people.
The second is to love hard; in a society these days of instant hookups options, our young men are learning that commitment is not required. We need to teach them through our relationships with our significate other (see first article for refresher if you need to) what a loving committed relationship looks like.
The third is to work hard, in a society of participation trophies and everyone makes the team we have to teach our young men nothing comes without hard work and sacrifice (well nothing worthwhile that is). In addition, that failure is ok and that you never really fail unless you quit. They learn this too from your actions they observe. Have conversations with them about some of your past failures, how you learned from them and overcame them.
The fourth is no ego or pride. If you wrong someone or say something you regret to someone you love you apologize. I have had to show both my son and daughter this by apologizing to them for something I said or did in front of them or said to them. This has paid dividends when I started doing this they started doing it. They have come back to me and apologized for their actions and things they have said. This is teaching our young men and women accountability and it is ok to say I am sorry.
The fifth is manners towards everyone and respect for women. My dad taught me that manners would get you through more doors in this life than whom you know or how much money you have. A simple please and thank you goes a long way. We must also show them how to treat a woman. Open doors for her pull out chairs for her protect her honor etc. (do not order dinner for them that is just creepy). Anytime you go out with your significate other they need to see you, holding doors open and they need to be trying to beat you to the door to hold it for their moms and sisters.
The point I want to state here is the definition of a man has nothing to do with their outer appearance but rather their actions and charter. The School of Man helps men remember this. We have been able to bounce ideas off each other of how to be better men and how to make our sons better men. The School of Man is a group of men that is there not just for me but for my kids too. This group of men challenge me to be a better man and father every day.
Until next time, make those deposits!
If you would like to send me other suggestions for items we should be teaching our young men please email me Adam.firstname.lastname@example.org