This past Christmas, what did my nephews want? They each said, “I want a GUN!” When I talked with my sister, though, she informed me they aren’t allowed to play with toy guns anymore. In fact, the school they attend won’t allow them to make guns out of sticks or point fingers like a gun. No more “Pow Pows” or “Pew Pews” (just in case you love Star Wars).
According to Washington Post, while toy guns are disappearing from stores, they were developed with good intent 150 years ago. They were used for play and “as training tools for boys who would follow their fathers into hunting.” When a dad handed a gun to his son, it was like handing down a tradition. It was a bonding experience. However, the modern day father might not be apt to take his son(s) hunting.
With history like that, it’s easy to see why taking a gun from a man was like taking his masculinity. But by taking toy guns from boys are we taking their boyhood? Are we preventing boys from being boys? With recent events, it’s understandable why schools fear boys having mere thoughts of a gun, but are we throwing the baby out with the bath water? Does a child playing with a toy gun lead to aggression later on in life? How do we delineate between normal hyperactivity and anti-social behavior?
Repressing normal boy behavior is not the answer. As Robert Moore discusses in King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, masculine energy does not go away. It does not die, but instead “goes underground, eventually to resurface in the form of emotional and physical violence…” Interesting concept isn’t it? Censoring natural behavior in boys has consequences.
But we continue to make them pay. Did you know 67% of special ed students are boys? Boys make up 70% of D and F grades in the US public schools. 20% of boys will be diagnosed with ADHD before they reach high school–twice as likely as girls. Is there a bias against boys in education? Could it be school shootings are the direct result of our society’s attempt to subdue boys?
Men are fed up. I could cite many statistics about depression and how 80% of suicides are male, but instead, look around. There are absent fathers (emotionally and/or physically), growing obesity rates, and an increasing presence of Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW). In US churches, men make up only 39% of congregations. Maybe it’s because men no longer believe they are needed by society, and some misandrists would have us believe this true.
What does it mean to be a man today? A lot of conflicting messages abound. Gender roles are disappearing, and men are confused how they should act around women. Should I open the door for her? Do I pay for the date or split the cost? Should I just wait for her to ask me out? Gentlemanly behaviors are criticized as misogynistic, so many men are now split down the middle, either checking out completely or acting like jerks because they find/believe this is what women like.
We have become a culture of motherhood, not fatherhood. Researching sexism has shown me broad misandry. The terminology used in studies and the definitions feminists commonly use, such as patriarchal and paternalistic are derogatory terms, and they are derived from father. It’s demeaning to fathers.
We need fathers. When fathers are absent from homes, higher crime rates, pregnancies, drug problems, and childhood obesity rates climb. On the other hand, when fathers are active participants with their children, behavior problems disappear, and children perform better in school.
I can’t think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection. Sigmund Freud
More and more females are becoming main household breadwinners, and that is a good thing. Fathers spending more time at home is a good thing. Dads interact differently than moms with kids. In fact, “in infants and toddlers, fathers’ hallmark style of interaction is physical play that is characterized by arousal, excitement, and unpredictability”…characteristics not necessarily supported at school.
All this to say, it’s important for dads to encourage boys to be boys, to hand down traditions (even if it’s not with toy guys), and to raise up the next generation of successful and strong men.