Developing Healthy Masculinity
by Rick Johnson
September 17th, 2015
As a culture, we have done a poor job of inspiring our young men with a vision of greatness.
Too often, by the time our young males are in their late teens, they have already began to wallow in cynicism, narcissism, and moral morass. They have become jaded and lost that spark of idealism and passion that allows the less common man to accomplish great things and overcome terrible circumstances. They have lost (or never been taught) the vision that inspires them to live a selfless version of life that compels them to use the masculine power God has endowed them with to lift others beyond what they would be without his presence in their lives.
There is nothing more inspiring than seeing a group of clear-eyed, passionate young men in pursuit of a noble cause. And there is nothing more discouraging than seeing a gang of dispirited, broken young men, eyes and hearts guarded, with no sense of direction or honor in their lives. These males live for their own self-gratification and often use their power to prey upon others instead of protecting and providing for them.
Dads help boys best by first teaching them to understand a vision of what healthy masculinity is all about. Boys need mentors—they cannot successfully jump the broad chasm between boyhood and manhood by themselves.
But that requires us as adults and as a culture to try and determine what authentic masculinity looks like and what it means. Without a foundational concept and distinct parameters, it is very difficult to teach a young man, much less hold him accountable to, some nebulous standard that is unclearly defined.
Far too many boys head off into manhood without any idea what their roles in life are or how to perform them. Especially for boys without involved male role models in their lives this can be devastating.
It is crucial that we train him to be prepared for his roles as leader and provider for his family. Boys who are not trained are blown around like leaves in the wind, never having substance in life. Boys need to understand what their roles as men, fathers, and husbands entail as well as how to fulfill those roles.
The world is a frightening place, but boys who have training and knowledge approach those roles with confidence. Boys who don’t get that training at home will find advice from someone or somewhere; usually from sources that are not healthy.
Have you developed a vision of what healthy masculinity looks like to intentionally teach your son?
Rick Johnson is the founder of Better Dads. His passion for families has expanded his work to include influencing the whole family with life-changing insights on parenting, relationships, and personal growth. Rick is the best-selling author of 11 books on parenting, marriage, and masculinity. He is a popular keynote speaker at men’s and women’s conferences and retreats.
More of Rick Johnson: www.betterdads.net