We have today what authors Warren Farrell and John Gray call a “boy crisis”—a crisis where boys fail to become men, struggle in school, get in trouble, and have difficulty finding wives. Would we see that crisis begin to be resolved if we encouraged fathers to practice and model their manly virtues?
In an age where feminism seems to rule, there’s a lot of pressure for fathers to start acting softer and more feminine in dealing with their children. Not a trace of that “toxic masculinity” should come through!
Perhaps that is why we see increasing condemnation of competition (“everyone gets a participation trophy!”) or “dangerous” activities like winter sledding (“little Johnny could hit a tree!”), or allowing children to stray a few blocks from home without adult supervision (“they might be kidnapped!”). Why would we want parents, particularly fathers, to stress the traditionally masculine virtues of competition and adventure to their children when we’re trying to root toxic masculinity out of society?
But while this mindset is subtly promoted by today’s culture, it is now being challenged by a new study published in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinities. The study lists the stereotypical masculine characteristics—“competitive, daring, adventurous, dominant, aggressive, courageous and standing up to pressure”—as positive traits, and fathers who demonstrated these were “rated as showing good parenting behavior.”
Researchers expressed surprise at this link between masculine qualities and good parenting. The study’s lead author, Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, acknowledged, however, that “fathers who see themselves as competitive and adventurous and the other masculine traits tended to be really engaged with their kids.”
Perhaps this is surprising to those living in a “woke,” politically correct, feminist society, but it shouldn’t be to those who look at fathers through history. Take Teddy Roosevelt, for example. In a letter to a friend in late 1900, Roosevelt explained how he had been a sickly child—likely the type who would have been teased and labeled a sissy by other boys his age. His father helped him through this difficult childhood, not only through gentleness, but also through his manly character. Roosevelt explains: