As today is International Men’s Day. I thought I’d look at what is a modern man? It’s a bit like asking how long is a piece of string? Just like the modern woman there is no one size fits all.
Old Fashioned Man
Let’s get stereotypical here as that’s what we humans do isn’t it?
Old Fashioned Man spent his wages in the pub. Took no part in child rearing, cooking or household chores. Well except for man’s jobs. Mowing the lawn, painting etc.
If you exhibited any so called feminine traits. Compassion, an interest in your children, shunned aggressive testosterone sports or activities. You were mocked and ostracised from the lads gang.
So Have Things Changed
Yes and No.
Sadly there are still relics of the old order out there.
Men who think they are superior to women.
Abusers both physical and mental.
Men who think physical prowess and strength are the only traits that make a man.
There has though been a shift in attitudes.
Many more men take a much more active role in childcare and household duties.
There is a growing band of men leaving the workforce to become the primary care giver.
Acceptance of men not interested in typical manly pursuits is better.
It’s actually cool to be a geek. OK maybe not cool. They are accepted more though.
What Else Needs To Be Done
There is still a way to go.
Tweets like the one from Piers Morgan pouring scorn on Daniel Craig for carrying his child in a baby carrier don’t help.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard a fellow parent say “Boys will be Boys” as a reason for allowing physical aggression.
Even worse is the “Boys don’t cry” statement.
Yes they do! Why shouldn’t they cry when they are upset. It’s a human emotion. Not limited to girls.
Raising Modern Men
We have to let our boys know they can and SHOULD talk about their feelings.
Be they happy, sad or confused. Not just express anger.
We should teach them that being different is OK. That diversity is a good thing.
We must teach them that kindness and empathy are traits that will serve them well in life.
That saying sorry is not a sign of weakness but of strength. It does after all take greater courage to admit we were wrong or we stuffed up.
Most importantly we must teach them that it is OK to make mistakes. It is what they learn from those mistakes that is the important thing.
We must show them positive role models they can look up to and aspire to be like.
Hopefully then they will grow to be the kind of men we want in this world.
They in turn will pass this onto the next generation of boys.