A Little Bit of Toughness Can be a Good Thing

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Sometimes it seems to me as if we are living in a Kafkaeque world where common sense has all but disappeared. After reading and writing a book review on Raising Boys by Design, I wanted to share some after-thoughts–especially in light of an interesting news story that appeared in today’s morning paper.

We have forgotten that a little bit of toughness can be a good thing.

Sometime ago at the beginning of 2013, a little six-year old boy was suspended for pointing his little finger and saying, “POW!” Who would imagine that fingers could be so dangerous! Yet, this is the kind of draconian rules that are being handed down in schools today.

Believe it or not.

Another school has taken a different approach. Athletic events cannot have “winners,” or “losers” and all athletic events must end as a tie so that nobody’s “feelings,” will get hurt. At another school, the traditional Thanksgiving holiday has been cast aside since it was hurtful to Native Americans. Similarly, children cannot play cowboys and Indians—Heaven forbid!

The latest close encounter with political correctness running amok occurred yesterday when  Aledo High School defeated Western Hills High (Fort Worth, Tex.) by the lopsided score of 91-0. One parent filed an official bullying report because of the public whipping.

Texas regulations require Aledo’s principal to launch a full investigation into the bullying allegation. I hope the charges will be dismissed because of the absurd premise that underlies the allegations. In life, there are often winners and losers; no amount of political manipulation will correct this disparity—not without destroying the very forces that pushes individuals and communities to achieve beyond their limitations.

Part of growing up requires that we realize that sometimes we fail to realize our goals. However, this realization need not engender pessimism or despair. Responsible educators and parents ought to teach children that every person can achieve personal excellence in any field of endeavor if they have the passion and the will to achieve their dreams.

The students at Western Hills High School and take pride knowing that they tried their best to play against Texas’s toughest football team but failed. There is nothing wrong with losing and it is tragic that the some misguided parents wish to punish the excellence of one of its local teams. Instead, they should be bursting with pride and use the experience to improve their game.

Had our grandparents indulged their children to shy away from “winning,” it is doubtful our soldiers would ever have defeated the Nazis and Japanese Empire during WWII. Whenever Israel is fighting for its life and is on the precipice of victory, too often, the State Department does everything to deny Israel its victory because we don’t want Israel to appear as the “Victor.” This attitude will only lead to greater tension and conflict between Israel and her neighbors.

As I mentioned in the previous posting, Robert Bly’s Iron John stresses the need for men to help cultivate vigorous masculinity through images that enhance valor, strength, protectiveness, and emotional centeredness. Without the help of our fathers playing a constructive role in parenting, our young boys will eventually look for other outlets to become men through participation in gangs. One of the worse things a mother can do is deny her male child the opportunity to explore what it means to be a man.

It is important to note that men have traditionally been the head of each household, the breadwinners who often took on all sorts of combat roles in times of war to protect their families against all outside attacks. Traditional fathers knew how to discipline and set boundaries for their adolescent children. Today, much of this old traditional child-rearing is no longer fashionable. In fact, it is often lampooned by people who ridicule the societal role of the traditional male. By raising soft males, our society is doing a disservice to our country and our families. Effeminate males are too afraid to fight for what is right and to protest against what is wrong. How will such feeble willed-males ever be able to protect the hearth and home from foreign attacks? God imbued men with testosterone for a good reason because it helps ensure the preservation of the human species.

Masculinity is something we should teach our boys in schools to celebrate—and not eradicate or effeminate.

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