Dylann Roof, the South Carolina church shooter, was condemned to death last week. Not many people would disagree with his sentence — and many factors, including parents who divorced, likely contributed to his mental instability. Roof is a disturbed young man — he couldn’t look his victims’ families in the eye last week, even when they offered him forgiveness as Christians.
Now more than ever, we need parents to raise boys to be strong men. In today’s world, anything goes and men are constantly being criticized or dumbed down in the media, pop culture, and on the internet (think about your favorite sitcom — the dad is sort of a dufus, right?). Yet my opinion may be called anti-woman, misogynistic or even bigoted by some.
In order to show our sons how to be men, we must lead by our actions, not just our words.
I love my wife. I love my sisters; I love my dear departed mother. I respect all of them. I respect any woman as equally as I respect any man — as long as they haven’t done anything to lose my respect. Women have been an integral part of the founding, protecting and advancing of the United States of America.
The world, however, is becoming male-dominated again. Russia. China. Iran. They are all male-dominated societies. The most obvious potential problem confronting America is the co-opting of Islam by the radical elements of that religion. Societal male domination is fundamental to the practice of Islam — and we are busy emasculating men in many segments of American society.
Our future will most definitely involve conflict, and today we deal with the lack of a well-defined, obvious enemy. Our fathers and grandfathers had Nazi Germany to unite against; our fathers had the Soviet Union. A recognition of radical Islam is totally ignored by the Left, which is causing even more internal divisiveness and national insecurity.
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A secure future for America is dependent on strong men. In order to show our sons how to be men, we must lead by our actions, not just our words. The following behaviors are an essential part of doing that. None of the following attributes or actions are exclusive to men, but all true men will have them.
Be present. A man is there for his family, physically and emotionally. He knows this may sometimes conflict with being present in other area of his life — leisure time with friends, extra work commitments. But he must keep his priorities in order: family first. A man who is not present in his sons’ lives cannot be the example those boys need.
Be strong. A man defends himself, his family, his community and what is right. He speaks his mind and is not afraid to stand up to those who try to bully or silence him.
Be honest. A man does what is morally right. He does not take what is not his. He should not only be honest with others, but with himself. He must sometimes combine being honest with being compassionate — not everyone is mentally strong.
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Be compassionate. A man helps those in trouble or those who fall on hard times. He realizes that some are weaker or challenged in some way, and he understands he may need to help out.
Be consistent. A man who does the right thing should do it every time. He is fair and does not waiver on decisions made justly.
Be responsible. A man does what is needed to help provide shelter, food and clothing for his family. He helps provide a stable environment. He passes on his knowledge and ethics to his children. He accepts his role as a man and works hard.
Follow through. A man keeps his word. He knows people count on him and he does what he says he will do.
Laugh. A man enjoys life and is not afraid to show it. He laughs not at others, but with others — and at himself. He makes his children laugh, knowing laughter is good for mental health.
Live your life in front of your boy understanding he will truly follow in your footsteps.
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Live. A man lives life. He does not spectate. He is active with his family. He experiences new things with his family, knowing that it will sometimes change their perspective in a fresh and unexpected way.
Love. A man loves his family and respects his wife. He does not equivocate on that fact. He is never ashamed to show it. He knows that love is needed for emotional health.
Our society is increasingly a fatherless one. Is there any question this disappearance of fathers is coinciding with the growing demand for government assistance and outrageous increase of inner-city crime?
Fathers, sons will do what you tell them to do when they are growing. Once they are men, however, they will do what they watched you do. Don’t just use the platitude of “Be an Example.” Live your life in front of your boy understanding he will truly follow in your footsteps.
John Cylc is an eight-year U.S. Army veteran and lives with his family in eastern Tennessee. His primary advocacy is promoting and protecting Second Amendment rights.