What’s on my mind today is something that I read on Facebook a couple days ago. It was the lamentation of a female friend of mine. I think it’s important for us as men to take the time to understand how men are being perceived in the world.
If you are going along with your life and you are a pretty decent guy it’s real easy to forget what women and other people experience. It is really easy for us to go through our life never feeling threatened or marginalized. So this is what she wrote:
“Let’s make girls wear different clothes instead of teaching boys how to act. Let’s have girls take self defense instead of teaching boys how to act. Let’s have drug detection aids for drinks instead of teaching boys how to act. Let’s tell girls not to walk the streets alone instead of teaching boys how to act. Not only does this show we don’t care for our daughters, I think it shows we also don’t care about our sons.”
I find it sad that a woman in this day and age we live in would feel the need to write this. What makes me even more sad is that it is tragically true. Rather than instruct boys in how to behave as men, we as a society want to remedy the situation by altering the way women live.
I couldn’t let that just sit there, so I responded with my own comment, I wrote: “Sadly, boys are just that, regardless of their age. I’m trying to help teach boys how to be actual men. I think that is what has been lost. There are good men in the world…but there needs to be more, and the responsibility falls on the few good men to be examples for the others, and speak out.”
I felt a need to remind her that there are still good, decent men walking around. Many of them are listening to this podcast, men like you. What are we going to do guys? All of us have females that we love; our daughters, sisters, wives and mothers. What can we do that will make the world a better place for them, a safe place?
Like I said in my comment to her, I feel the responsibility for making corrections lies squarely with us, the actual men who are in the world. Who else is going to do it? You can’t legislate this kind of thing, you can’t pass laws that make men respect women more. No external force is going to have significant influence. It will have to come from within the ranks. If we don’t do everything we can individually and as a group, then I fear nothing will be done and it will keep getting worse with each generation.
You might be wondering what I’m talking about. What impact could you possibly have on the behavior of other males? Here’s what I think about that.
It goes back to something I have said many times, and that is the importance of our example. You can be an example for every man or boy you come in contact with. You don’t even have to speak to them, just live your life in such a way that any person who happens to be watching can notice if they are paying attention.
Another thing we can do individually, is speak to the men we know. When the opportunity arises to have a conversation about the behavior of men at large—don’t pull any punches. Let them know what your goals are. Tell them you are trying to be a better man than you were yesterday, every day of your life. Share with them the satisfaction that comes from being a better man. This is another way of also being an example.
My last point is a controversial one. I think men should speak out whenever they see someone mistreating any other person regardless of gender. This is a controversial point because many people are afraid of making waves. Afraid of getting beat up or abused their self. People often prefer to sit back and hope somebody else says something so they don’t have to.
OK. I’m not telling anybody what to do here, I’m just telling you what I think. I think it’s our obligation to speak out whenever we see an injustice occurring or whenever we hear someone speaking in a way that marginalizes another human. Again I ask…if we don’t do it, who will?
If every good man on the planet started doing these things immediately I think it could have a significant impact. I believe many of the so called men who behave badly towards women and others aren’t actually bad people, not really. Instead I think that no one ever told them different. Many of them have never had an example of what a decent man is. I believe many of them simply don’t know any better.
That’s where you and I come in. Through our example and our conversation and our speaking out we can have an impact. If your actions make one or two other guys consider their behavior, that’s huge. If all of us start doing that it will really add up.
So that’s what I think. Short of some sort of world-wide catastrophe that reshapes society from the ground up—this is what we have to work with. If we don’t do something, each of us in our own little corner of the world, then who will? The answer, is nobody.
Ok guys, now head out into the world and take charge of your surroundings. Be an example everywhere you go. Have conversations with guys and speak out whenever you see someone getting treated badly. Live the life of a man who is committed to being a better man than he was yesterday…and that is what you will become.
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