The Breakdown in Male Culture in America
There is an emotional and psychological crisis evident in American boys and men, which is finally being noticed primarily because of the increasing violence and poor academic performance of boys. Yet public discussion has not gone far enough in that it has so far only asked how to get boys functioning again. We argue that it is insufficient to be content with trying new ways to get boys to function again in what is clearly a dysfunctional system. This crisis illuminates the need for a re-examination of several major components of our national culture. Huge changes in men’s work and family roles are reducing the time that men actually spend with boys. This is interrupting the essential transmission of male love, wisdom, and integrity from generation to generation. Boys may seem to be no different than the other Americans who are now swimming in excess consumerism, destructive media exposure, addictions, and the frenetic pace of activities. But boys are more vulnerable because the increasingly fractured male culture has left a vacuum of values and guidance, which allow these other influences full room to undermine their development of values and “character”. Fortunately, there is a “Men’s movement” beginning to lead men and boys into a wholeness that is new in our times. To understand how the men’s movement is beginning to succeed, we must begin by understanding the culture it is recovering from.
A Process of Healing One Man at a Time
To achieve authentic manhood, men and boys must first learn nurture and validate themselves from the inside so that they can truly accept that they are good enough. But usually boys and men will need unconditional acceptance from the outside before they can incorporated that knowing into their core. The first step into this deeper world is learning and practicing emotional awareness. Men and boys need to know their own feelings and intuitions. Next comes a process of “uncovering” the soul from disabling family and cultural baggage. Here is where men and boys identify the masks they wear as well as the costs these masks have had. Now they have a chance to see themselves and their unique gifts in a deep way. With this clarity they can begin to get a more complex understanding of how the larger culture works, and how to integrate their gifts into the new world they see. This leaves them free and empowered to give services to society that spring naturally from honoring their own creative calls. They can balance this with a realistic understanding of limitations and responsibilities.
Group Mentoring Through Splatball