602 Comments

This is a beautiful piece of understanding and empathy. I hope to see a lot more from McCaffrey Blauner at the FP.

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Many cultures have manhood rituals. After a boy endures the ritual, everyone treats him like a man. He is no longer viewed as a child or allowed to behave like a child. America has no such ritual. Are you a man when you turn 18, when you lose your virginity, when you get your first "real" job, when you move out of your parents house, when you kill your first deer? Depending on your family, any one of these could be true. But without a defining moment and without the recognition of others regarding one's manhood, many boys drift into adulthood but never reach manhood. And grown men who behave like boys aren't good for women, children, or society. And there are far too many of them walking around.

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Sep 6, 2023·edited Sep 6, 2023

While I may have occasionally felt the need to do risky things to "prove my manhood" as a teenager, I never considered the destruction and damaging of other people's property to be even remotely okay. Maybe that's because I learned early the value of a dollar and how much work was required to earn one, and empathized with the people whose hard-earned property I would be destroying. Harmless but annoying pranks? Okay. Vandalism and destruction? No way. That respect of private property is probably also why I matured into a conservative.

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Graffiti is a good analogy. In a pre-social media time it was a way to publicly show off even if you did it solo. Now any dumb and brazen act can get you some “fame” if you upload or livestream it.

However train riding is not a good analogy for rioting. The former - you’re just risking your own ass. The latter impacts others, sometimes fatally.

There’s no substitute for good parenting.

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Completely agree. Let's give kids a high school diploma at 16 and eliminate child work laws for 16 and 17 year olds, so they can work just like anyone 18 and over. And let's loosen up a bit the work laws for 13 - 15 year olds. Let's let young people have a role in society earlier, so they can get involved, and they can have a way to earn and innovate and channel all their natural energy and exuberance into something that is productive for both them and society.

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I'm not sure much has changed. I'm 50 and in my day we rode the hoods of cars, played tag jumping from ice floe to ice floe on the frozen Detroit River, and shot each other with fireworks. I had any number of amazing male role models in my life. Sometimes boys just do dumb stuff.

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In times of peace, we must give our boys rites of courage.

Every boy becomes a man by learning to provide (with skill and diligence), protect (with courage), and procreate (with commitment).

As we have biased modern life in favor of feminine traits only starting from the youngest schooling, we neuter the good and natural impulses of our boys. We can reclaim manhood by:

1. Honoring hard work and skilled trades.

2. Honoring useful risk-taking as a way of building courage.

3. Honoring a respect for marriage and family.

Teach these three things to boys and they will become good men.

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Through Kairos, a non-denominational Christian prison ministry, I've been inside Perry Correctional 12 times. While there I've listened to the stories of men serving hard time for violent crimes. No matter their skin color, they all had the same story. Single working mother, no father figure, plenty of time to run the streets and learn from slightly older boys the game of crime. One gentleman, a tall, incredibly fit guy whose physique was daunting to even the toughest of the residents, was looked up to by all the others. Robert (not his real name) had spent his time inside learning everything he could on a variety of subjects, from law to the bible. At the end of our four days inside Perry, I approached Robert to say goodbye. He burst into tears and hugged me, squeezed my hands then prayed a prayer of gratitude for our visit. When he was finished he said "Mr. Malik, if only I had someone like you in my life when I was a kid, someone to teach me right and wrong, how to treat a woman, how to grow up to be a man, maybe I wouldn't have pulled that trigger. I'll be eighty six before I'm eligible for parole. Eighty six. What will be left for me then?" What could I say? In thirty minutes I'd be driving home and he'd be back in his tiny gray cell. "God's peace my brother" was the only thing that made sense. The break up of the traditional family, through the belittlement of the father figure, will haunt our country for generations.

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Having a kid is a responsibility not a right. No one should have kids unless financially and or emotionally able. It takes a lot of work and time to raise kids so having a family or family support makes sense - that doesn’t have to look like a traditional family.

Can we teach young kids (& adults) to use birth control?

Some teens will always attempt higher risk behaviors for a variety of reasons- the increase reported in the article was concerning. I’m not sure it’s all attributable to social media but look how social media affects adults too (especially politicians)!

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I'm a mom of a 17 year old male. He just did a 6 day solo hike up 12,000 feet, carrying a 50 lb. backpack. I was terrified but I also know boys need to push boundaries and test their limits and I'd rather him hike than drive drunk on a freeway or worse. Teenagers -- rich and poor -- need something other than buying sneakers or video games or social media. or smoking pot. But-- there is very little for many of them to do, especially where I teach in Compton.

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This is poorly written bumf.

FP: what’s going on with some of your content selection these days?

Please let’s get back to the substantive output your audience so appreciates.

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Sep 4, 2023·edited Sep 4, 2023

I once heard someone say "America's problems would be solved if every kid had my parents." There's truth in that, and something missing in the above article.

Yes, the boys are the same no matter the generation, but their prospects, satisfaction, and potential, is so affected by family structure that it's nearly a sin to omit the factor.

Humans need structure, not just young men. That structure can be self-discipline, or it can be a relationship with a parent where they don't want to screw it up with stupidity. For my dad, it was telling his best friends to pull over and let him out of a car in the 1950's, because he had promised his mother not to drag race. For me, it was being a 5 sport athlete. There is a world of activities that young men can dive into that are productive, and it does not take a privileged or high IQ child to know the few boundaries and the reasons for them. Drugs, criminality, unprotected sex. These are not difficult concepts, and the likelihood to avoid them speaks volumes about the relationship of the child to their parents, and the involvement and awareness of the parents.

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There is nothing worth admiring in the reckless kids who stand on top of moving trains. There is something to be admired in the kids from that milieu that don't do it. That have overcome their circumstances. When these kids have the example of mass theft, property destruction, refusal to enforce the law no wonder they take the path they do.

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Before irresponsible parenting comes irresponsible procreation. And Roe v Wade was just overturned so that’s not an argument.

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There may indeed be something to admire, but I think there is far more to criticize, abhor, revile, bemoan and regret. Got me to thinking about A Clockwork Orange.

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“The crisis we face is not really about children being dumb. In fact, it’s not really about children. It’s about adults not knowing how to be adults. Not knowing, or forgetting, how to steer our angry young men out of the pitfalls of adolescence and toward something better.”

Yep.

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