I’m hard on men. Times are hard and I know men can take it, despite the push back I get. I don’t like what men have become and also understand men are a reflection of the times, a paradigm shift in ideology, growth, in some regards, but surely undergoing a overhaul. I’m a product of a different era and perhaps my struggle is a failure to embrace, or at least invest myself in this new evolution of men.
I grew up when men were men. The strong silent type was admirable, even desired. The roles men played were clearly defined: provider, protector, morally straight and upright. Men were the big sails moving their cargo through rough waters. Tattered, torn and weathering the big gusts of wind that often throw the ship off course but always moving its freight forward and to more calmer waters. Men of my era told stories for each rip and tear in the big sails. There was a sense of pride in knowing these men put themselves high on the mast, catching the hard bracing winds. Delivering the ships cargo safely and in tact was the mission and men of my time sacrificed themselves, their personal happiness, many dreams put aside and remained exposed. There was always a sense of accomplishment when the valued freight reached its destination even as the big sail watched the rudder (mother) receive more credit for the voyage. The rudder is important, no debate, credit is due.
Somewhere in the evolution of men the rudder became more important than the big sail. Tattered and torn the big sail remained strong and silent even giving due credit to the rudder for its capacity to steer the vessel through the high waves and treacherous rocks and reefs. It was still the big sail that fueled the movement. The big sail only cared about the cargo reaching its destination.
Boys without the big sail are stranded at sea. Aimlessly floating at the whim of the tide. Now it seems as if these new men of today’s times disregard their role as the big sail. With so much attention paid to the rudder boys without benefit of the now obsolete big sail struggle in their role. The rudder has become vocal in its protest of the unreliable wind catcher as if the catcher is also responsible for the winds it is designed to harness. Today’s culture demands accurate arrival times, calculated voyages and celebrate the direction provided by the rudder. Now days various engines with a variety of fuel sources have rendered the big sail obsolete. The value gained in the experience of the voyage has waned. We’ve become a rudder-based culture wanting to arrive at a destination now.
In these shifting times boys on their voyage to manhood yearn for the recognition of the rudder. Boys on their voyage to manhood are repeatedly reminded of the importance the rudder plays in their arriving at their destination. Everyone celebrates the rudders precision in guiding the seemingly aimless and floating boys. Boys are little sails growing into something that no longer has value, the big sail, and desiring to become something they never can be, a rudder. No more stories to accompany the rip and tears of the voyage, no more pride at moving the cargo across the sea of tsunami waves, and few examples of the grandness in becoming the big sail.
I’m hard on men who abandon (lost at sea) their boys. I also understand that men who do not embrace themselves as the example for their boys didn’t have a father to show them what they could become. The lack of example has become multi-generational. Many boys begrudgingly grow to become men they only hear have become obsolete: no role defined. The role of men as fathers has been displaced and with fewer and fewer examples boys struggle in their identity and grow to become men who battle with themselves. The fight is always internal although the battle is often waged externally and for all to see. After years of witnessing lost battles the desire to commit, as men use to do, has gone by the way. No more stories of conquest. Even fewer stories of the voyage. Men today hide their rips and tears in shame. Men were not designed for shame so men hide.
Time has come for men to reemerge from the shame of feeling irrelevant. This is a call for men and fathers to come from their hiding spots. Now, perhaps more than ever, men need to open themselves as they once did and catch the strongest winds. Telling the stories of their tattered and frayed edges, their sacrifice, their investment in the voyage of delivering the cargo.