The STEM school shooting in Highlands Ranch, CO is disturbing to all of us. We may differ in our convictions of what the main solutions to this scourge in our nation are, but I think we agree on at least three things: 1. These kinds of repeated trauma leave an enormous heart and soul wound […]
American culture does a good job of creating, idolizing, and then rewarding, young men who are convinced of the following life principles:
- Life is a party. Rock on.
- You’re the master of your domain. You get to decide how life goes. Others are at your service.
- You’re special. The rules that govern others don’t apply to you. You get a pass.
- You’re invincible. You’re forever young. You’ll avoid the natural consequences of injury, illness and aging.
- It’s all about you. You’re the center of the universe. Grab it.
In 2008 Michael Kimmel wrote an extremely informative book entitled Guyland in which he defined an American sub-culture, males 16-26. These are young men who “shirk the responsibilities of adulthood and remain fixated on the trappings of boyhood, while the boys they still are struggle heroically to prove that they are real men despite all evidence to the contrary.” p. 4.
Kimmel was prophetic, but he may have under-estimated the age range of Guyland. It seems too often to apply to older men who ought to know better.
In one breakfast of scanning the newspaper this week I came across these stories:
1. The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker wrote a moving editorial regarding Charleston church murderer Dylann Roof. He’s the self-professed white supremacist who slaughtered 9 African Americans while attending a Bible study at their church. (Just typing those words makes me both sick and angry.)
Roof may want the public to believe his insistence that he wanted to start a race war, or that he has justified grievances against blacks he supposes are the cause of his life of misery and social rejection.
Parker eloquently lifts the veil to the real truth of what drove him to this awful act:
Media confession: Beryl and I watch American Idol regularly. Because it often actually moves us.
Sometimes the performances are lukewarm; every now and then they are jaw-dropping. Recently, Kelly Clarkson, the Season 1 winner, told a story through song that brought tears streaming down my cheeks—and those of the judges and many in the audience.
We intuitively know dads matter, but in our dramatically changing family culture that often questions the value of fathers, we sometimes need a reminder. Kelly gave us a jaw-dropping one.
Her song, Piece by Piece, compares her experience with a father who disappeared when she was a young girl, to her husband who is a present, loving father to her kids. “He filled the holes you burned in me when I was 6 years old…He restored my faith that a man could be kind, and that a father could stay.”
Yet again, we come face-to-face with the bewildering, heart-breaking news of another mass killing in the U.S. This time, for my wife, Beryl, and me, it pierces even closer to home—3 killed, 9 wounded in Colorado Springs, our home for the past 16 years. Revulsion, grief, ache, and anger boil to the surface.
And, just days later, another horrific scene of slaughter takes place in San Bernardino, CA. We watch the horror unfold in stunned disbelief.
Coming so shortly after the bombings and killings in Paris and Mali, a world that already felt unstable and unsafe, now feels even less safe and even more bewildering.
What is going on? I feel compelled to comment, mostly on the Colorado Springs event, because it happened in my backyard. I’m intentionally bypassing the political issues of abortion, terror or gun control. There is another time and place for that conversation. I’m landing on the common thread in these stories that motivates me more than any other.
Most people who know much about men, know that anger is a frequent trait that we struggle with. It seems to be a reflexive emotion whenever we encounter frustration or disappointment. It comes out in road rage, kicking the cat, yelling at the kids, or abusing wives. It’s awful and it’s destructive. A second emotion […]
Not long ago I heard a speaker, sadly I don’t remember his name, say, “Don’t just give people rules to follow; give them values to believe in.” I think that is remarkably perceptive advice. Rules constrain people into obedience due to another person’s position of authority or ability to punish non-compliance. Values unleash a person […]
So, I was enjoying a cup of coffee and conversation with a friend at Starbucks, when all of a sudden I was staring at Danny Devito and Jack Nicholson. I took a double-take. What in the world are they doing here? But on my third-take, I had a sense that something was wrong. While these […]
If you’re a man, I have good news for you, and I have sobering news for you. The good news: you matter. Despite the questions our society often raises about the value of men, and especially fathers (think Homer Simpson), you have a deeply important calling as a man. Your presence and your words have […]
Though I enjoy golf I rarely shoot as well as I think I should. The truth is for as little as I actually DO golf, I have no right to think I could shoot any better than I do. When I was younger I used to get pretty frustrated at my inconsistency— the unbelievably awful […]