Prove It

At Sunshine Mary’s, commenter Ephirius linked to an article that epitomizes why the current feminized version of Christianity (and everything else for that matter) is simply not up to the challenges we face today.  Megan Hill obviously cares very deeply for her sons, including her youngest who “doesn’t much care about winning and sometimes wanders away from the backyard ball game by the second inning.”  Unfortunately–

Baby, sometimes love just ain’t enough

Glen Burtnik/Patty Smyth, Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough

She cites C.S. Lewis’s as an example of “an imaginative and artistic boy” who would fall short of the “narrow standard that may be gaining popularity among Christians”: [emphasis mine]

Sent to English boarding schools from the age of 10, Lewis “does not seem to have fitted into the public school culture of the Edwardian age.” Instead of participating in the athletic competitions, Lewis listened to opera and read poetry.

And his differentness caused him trouble. “Boys who were not good at games,” McGrath writes, “were ridiculed and bullied by their peers. Athleticism devalued intellectual and artistic achievement and turned many schools into little more than training camps for the glorification of physicality. Yet the cultivation of manliness was seen as integral to the development of character.”

The horror!

As traumatizing as I’m certain the young, sensitive Lewis must have felt in those “training camps for the glorification of physicality”, the most rudimentary search on Lewis’s biography reveals that he survived trench warfare in World War I at the Somme.  I suspect he found that even more harrowing that whatever wedgies he might have gotten at boarding school.

Furthermore, as much as the hostile culture around him may have “devalued intellectual and artistic achievement”, somehow the meek little Lewis managed to go his own way and become a world-renowned intellectual and artist.

Yet all that Miller wants us to glean from her article regarding Lewis is that he was a sensitive boy and did great things for Christ, so we should refrain from “over-defining and forcing our young people to prove what does not need to be proven” by making effete boys feel uncomfortable.

It never occurs to her that regarding Lewis, she might not be dealing injustice but instead with a mere case of cause and effect.

Biological Projection

Women want to be protected, and they want to protect their children.  She sees discomfort in a negative light, and she assumes that discomfort is necessarily bad.  Rare is the woman who understands that Raising a Man is something about which she knows almost nothing.  In fact her instincts may run directly contrary to what must be done:

It can be scary as a mother watching this, but if we want our boys to grow up into strong and masculine Men, this is what will bring the confidence that comes along with accomplishing something for real.  It’s not a trophy that everyone wins for participating. It’s a real and true task that was learned and learned well by the boy himself.  That cannot be replaced by false words of praise.  Kids do know better.  Much better.

Stingray is wise enough to recognize that although “[I]t can be scary”, it might still be necessary.  Unfortunately she’s an exception.

For although Miller identifies a (small) part of what boys need to learn:

Boys are, little by little, training to be heads of households as Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23).

she also believes that:

…these skills, like any of our other holy duties, are harder for some individuals to learn than for others. It is unloving and unbiblical to assume that every Christian boy will naturally take on leadership roles or every Christian girl will immediately enjoy homemaking duties. Just as each one of us struggles to put on certain requirements of the Lord (say, patience and contentment) the personalities of some young people will make mastering their gender responsibilities hard work. We ought not to make easy facility in these tasks a test for true piety.

while forgetting that if something is “harder for some individuals to learn than for others”, then some people have to work harder to get it done.  Some people might even have to be pushed.

Doing What Comes Unnaturally

On one hand, Miller recognizes that certain things must be learned.  On the other hand, she implies that a boy without “easy facility” at being masculine somehow doesn’t need to be masculine.

Or more accurately, anything that needs to be done will sort of take care of itself.  A boy like her son who defies those narrowly constrained gender roles will somehow succeed despite his propensity to wander away from the baseball game when he gets bored, that somehow it’s okay for him to just do what he wants to do.

Yet she uses Lewis as her example, a man who was undoubtedly teased and bullied to a far greater extent than her son will ever be.  Perhaps living in such a hostile environment enabled him to survive the infinitely more hostile environment of the Western Front where he couldn’t just walk away because he’s not into fitness.  Maybe the horrors of World War I gave him the type of strength that any man needs to be able to go toe-to-toe with Satan on a regular basis like Lewis did.

Lewis preferred poetry to boxing as a child and suffered for it.  Some kids drop their passions under such pressure, Lewis didn’t and became a great man of letters.  He made it through a school that attempted to “over-define” masculinity, yet although he rejected much of what that school wanted him to become, he still became a man.

And if C.S. Lewis were raised the way Miller wants us to raise her son and others like him, that may not have happened.

If his own inability to confront challenges didn’t break him, World War I certainly would have.

Everything to Prove

Christian young people—thinkers and feelers, musicians and rock-climbers, wrestlers and poets alike—have nothing to prove.

Pardonez-vous le français, but BULLSHIT.  I won’t go into girlhood, but the purpose of boyhood is to prove you’re becoming a man.  You’ve got to prove you can make it through experiences you find unpleasant, you’ve got to prove you can win at things in which you’ve no “easy facility”, and even if you hate sports, you’ve got to prove that you can earn respect in a world that admires athletes.

You’ve got to prove that you can handle being made fun of, you’ve got to prove you’re a leader and that you merit respect.  Even poets can earn respect from athletes (not easy, but doable), but that’s only if he proves to them that he deserves their respect.  The pleading blog posts of his mother isn’t going to cut it.

Things are getting rough out there, and if Ms. Miller’s young and sensitive son can’t prove to himself that he can take care of himself physically, he’ll probably always feel inadequate, and he may well get eaten alive by an unethical man who isn’t quite so inclined towards “snuggling”.

It’s harder for her son that other kids; I get it.  That means it’ll be harder for him and even harder than that for his mom.  Tough shit.

We’re under assault from every angle (she makes a great point about the prevalence of homosexuality putting extra pressure on boys), and it’s going to take tough men to fight back.  Not all of them necessarily need to be physically tough, but each needs to be a mental badass.

And one of the best ways to become strong on the inside is to pop right back up after getting flattened on the football field.

You think you’re son’s going to do okay in a world like this without finding that sort of strength?

Ms. Miller, both you and my son have my prayers.  You each have some challenges ahead.

But please, even though it’s not your job to throw him in the lake like John Wayne in Stingray’s video, it is your job to get the hell out of the way and let other men turn him into a man.

His very life, and perhaps his very soul, depend on it.

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22 Responses to Prove It

  1. “You’ve got to prove that you can handle being made fun of, you’ve got to prove you’re a leader and that you merit respect. Even poets can earn respect from athletes (not easy, but doable), but that’s only if he proves to them that he deserves their respect. ”

    This starts to get at the heart of it.

    The intellectuals MUST go through that trial by fire. It is an absolute necessity.Intellectuals by their nature are meant to lead men.

    We all instinctively know this. So, it follows that they must develop the ability to respect the aspects of masculinity they don’t have, often by having their noses rubbed in it a few times until they gain a minimum level of that masculinity to earn the respect of their peers. The same kind of respect they’ll need later in life, now already tempered with a grounding in the reality of what their strength is, and what their weakness is.

    Otherwise they will fall into the sins of pride and vanity. Thinking they’re always right. Getting grand ideas of absolutely wrong and evil subjects. The world doesn’t need a new Marx or Machiavelli quiet yet would be my guess.

    • Martel says:

      “The intellectuals MUST go through that trial by fire.”

      Absolutely, although I’m not sure they’re naturally inclined to lead. Common sense can be far more effective than intelligence. Wisdom’s what we’re looking for, and unfortunately it doesn’t coincide with high IQ’s nearly enough.

      What we suspect about intellectuals is that they have a weapon that most other can’t quite understand. Intelligence can do enormous amounts of both good and harm.

      I think other men instinctively feel they need to test intellectuals to learn whether or not they’re connected to reality, the physical world that we all know can make or break us. Countless times the new lieutenant joins the unit, the desk jockey wants to change things up on the assembly line, the economist comes up with some program, and the real world simply refuses to match what they learned in the classroom. But if one of those guys comes in and actually knows his stuff, he’ll be respected.

      There’s no way to get that leaving the game in the second inning.

      For the more theoretical intellects, it’s of even more importance that they live in the real world. Nietzsche, Rousseau, and Kant never had real jobs, and they’ve almost ruined us. Paul made tents, and he had an incredibly positive impact. Jesus was a manual laborer for a reason.

      A real job keeps your “pride and vanity” in line. Considering that pride+vanity+smarts=disaster, this is beyond important.

      • Exactly right.

      • Martel says:

        Thanks. The Army provides a good example of how this plays out. A 2nd lieutenant fresh out of OCS takes over a platoon. Officially he’s now in charge.

        “Underneath” him is a platoon sergeant with sixteen years of experience who’s deployed four times, has worked with every type of soldier, been trained on everything several times. He’s “seen it all”.

        If that new lieutenant comes in and seeks out the advice of his “underling”, if he sees him as a valuable resource, if he shows him respect, he’ll get it back.

        If he hops in and simply assumes that he can remake the entire platoon according to whatever theories he’s learned and treats the platoon sergeant as an inferior, he’ll get no respect whatsoever.

        After he’s earned respect, if he wants to implement some harebrained scheme, the platoon sergeant will back him up and help immeasurably.

        Intellectuals who get this make incredible leaders, intellectuals who don’t, don’t.

  2. earl says:

    “You’ve got to prove you can make it through experiences you find unpleasant, you’ve got to prove you can win at things in which you’ve no “easy facility”, and even if you hate sports, you’ve got to prove that you can earn respect in a world that admires athletes.”

    I would add…it’s more important to prove these to YOURSELF…than others. Because what people see is variable…only you know what you had to go through.

    • Martel says:

      True, but there’s something about it being noticed by others that kicks it up a notch.

      Still, it’s your own heart that’s the ultimate judge.

  3. Jeremy says:

    What is the most common thing in masculinity across all cultures?

    —> Rites of passage for males entering into adulthood.

    Why were all these disparate cultural elements established independently across the world?

    Because all men instinctively know that they are the ones who must deal with shit where the rubber meets the road, so the next generation of men better have the confidence to deal with all manner of crap and get through it.

    • Martel says:

      Great point.

      The closest thing we’ve got to a “rite of passage” in America today is the 21st birthday in which you drink so much your hair hurts.

      I think our lack of ceremony reflects that we no longer believe that anything is sacred, manhood least of all. Whether it was my high school graduation ceremony or my secret fraternity initiation ceremony, it always bugged me that it was never taken seriously.

      Rites of passage call attention to the sacred nature of that instinctive knowledge “that [we] are the ones who must deal with shit where the rubber meets the road”. That’s the point where our hormones meet our higher selves, and it’s what we routinely piss on.

  4. Stingray says:

    it is your job to get the hell out of the way and let other men turn him into a man.

    And to realize that this is going to help one’s son more than anything else. That we are indeed, not standing back and doing nothing. Rather we are allowing it all to happen.

    Thank you for the linkage, Martel. Really good post.

    • Martel says:

      I think I’ve made this point to you before, but when a mother is married to a man she trusts, it allows her to better be herself. She’s doesn’t have to worry about smothering her kid or protecting him as much because she knows his father will give him the requisite ass-kickings when necessary.

      Likewise, a man with a feminine wife can push a little harder because he knows that Mom’s love will help him feel safe and secure. Like you say, a woman being feminine gives her husband greater freedom to be masculine and to transfer that masculinity onto his son. A kid like the sensitive son in the article really needs BOTH of them.

      One thing I didn’t get to here but that I might do another time in reference to the John Wayne video is to clarify that a MAN has to do that sort of thing, not mom. If a boy’s mother does something like that it can shatter his sense of security. Dad’s supposed to push him, but mom’s supposed to protect him. We were given two parents for a reason.

  5. Ton says:

    Simple observation does away with the myth of women being biologically programmed to protect children. Child abuse is not rare among women, neither is frivolous divorces, or abortion. The myth does do wonders as cover for less savory aspects of female behavior. A woman’s desire for a nice home in the right school district is likely to be as much about her materialism, and status seeking as it is about the kids education. Most families being better off with a smaller amount of debt and more cash in the bank and Jr going to a decent enough school. The myth is even better cover for government control and expansion.

    A man is at a disadvantage if his ability to endure, overcome and achieve is not readily observable by other men. We don’t have a herd per say, but we have our own form of hierarchy and a preference in the kind of men we want to interact with. You want a proven man to be your business partner, tax attorney etc etc. When you’re an older man and in a leadership position, you naturally want to delvope, promote etc young men you see with the potential to endure, overcome, achive, lead etc

    We still have rites of passage. Like when a boy’s old enough to be in deer stand on his own. It’s not particularly formal but it is one none the less. I think the biggest issues isn’t a lack of formal rites it’s that most men don’t do anything particularly dangerous and masculine. If a man sky dives and takes his boy to do it with him, that’s a sign to the boy he has arrived in his father’s eyes. Don’t much matte what that thing is. Hunting, spearheading, motocross. But if the man works, goes homes and watches tv…. there isn’t anything for the boy.

    • Martel says:

      “Simple observation does away with the myth of women being biologically programmed to protect children. Child abuse is not rare among women, neither is frivolous divorces, or abortion.”

      There are also countless cases of women shielding giving up their own lives for their children.

      I think that the purpose for feminine solipsism is to make them better mothers (the reason God gave them this instinct). I’m not sure if that instinct requires training to become “I want it so that my kids have the best” or if that part also comes naturally. I suspect it’s a bit of both.

      Either way, feminism actively encourages female selfishness for its own sake. Perhaps you’re right, but even if I am, I think we’d both agree that the “you go girl!” attitude that feminism encourages is horribly destructive.

      “A man is at a disadvantage if his ability to endure, overcome and achieve is not readily observable by other men.”

      Very much so. I’m not as good in a fight as I should be, but I look like I’d kick ass so whenever blows are about to start, the other guy backs off.

      “You want a proven man to be your business partner, tax attorney etc etc.”

      We know that a man who can look us in the eye will be straight with us. They’re more likely to tell us that a problem’s on the horizon before it becomes a major issue, and even if there’s a conflict, they’ll “fight fair”. A weak man is more likely to slit your throat in your sleep, either literally or metaphorically.

      “We still have rites of passage. Like when a boy’s old enough to be in deer stand on his own. It’s not particularly formal but it is one none the less. I think the biggest issues isn’t a lack of formal rites it’s that most men don’t do anything particularly dangerous and masculine.”

      Rural America has those rites of passage, suburban America doesn’t (except for the occasional father who knows enough to make sure his son gets them), so I stand partially corrected.

      Furthermore, a lot of those ancient rites of passage were intrinsically connected with danger, i.e. ceremonies to honor a boy after his first kill on a hunt, etc. But even if it wasn’t danger that induced the ceremony, there was always the sense that it had been earned.

  6. Ton says:

    The comments side tracked me…

    Regarding the woman who wants to keep her son safe and away from athletics. A woman’s capacity for deception is beyond measure. This includes self deception. She could be worried for his safety, or she could worry about her baby boy becoming a man, with self will and power enough to no longer be easily controlled and manipulated. A woman’s capacity for self deception is large enough that she is likely to be unaware of the underlying reasons for her “protection”.

    Also a possible factor is, the us athletic largely don’t understand what it takes to be good at athletics so they dismiss the mental aspects ( drive, determination, discipline etc) as nothing more then being gifted physically. I reckon the reverse is true as well

  7. Martel says:

    Regarding your first paragraph, I think the female mind is very complicated. I think that a mother shielding her son from challenge is shit-testing him. When a woman gives a shit-test to any man, when she gives it, she wants him to fail, but she also wants him to pass. She wants her little boy to stay sweet and dependent on her, but she also wants her little boy to tell her to stuff it and grow into what he’s supposed to be.

    The second paragraph is accurate on both counts. Smart kids have no idea how much mental discipline is required to kick ass on the field, and the jocks often just assume that the kids get good grades only because they’re smart and have no idea how much time they spent studying.

    If I ever have a son, whether he’s naturally athletic or bookish, I want him to develop both what comes naturally to him and what doesn’t. If he likes to read, dad’s gonna make him spend time in the weight room and master a martial art. If he loves fighting, dad’s gonna sit his ass down and teach him how to use his brain. Both skills are essential. You’ve got to learn how to master what comes naturally to you, and you’ve also got to learn how to master what doesn’t.

  8. Ton says:

    Count out the number of abortions vs the number of cases women sacrifice themselves to save their children. Or how often they abuse their biological kin vs outsiders. Or bolt on their family vs sticking it out etc etc. None of which shows a strong do what’s right for kids instinct. Instinct works its way out, like a baby rooting for a nipple, no training required. Training overcomes instinct (or strengthen it, depending on the instinct) but instinct comes out on its own.

    The female mind is not complicated it’s convoluted.

    If your “good enough” in a fight to keep folks from messing with you, you are good enough.

    • Martel says:

      i don’t deny those instincts are there. However, watch a little girl with a kitten or playing with a baby doll and it becomes quite apparent that there is some sort of feminine nurturing instinct.

      It’s not the only instinct, obviously, and it needs to be nurtured as the selfish instincts are suppressed. Nevertheless, it’s there.

  9. Saw this today…

    The conflict of whether children should be protected from fears or pushed to overcome them is familiar to every parent who has pulled a frightened child back from a diving board or coaxed the kid to plunge. It’s familiar to mental health professionals as well, who have long understood that avoiding fears is the hallmark of clinical anxiety.

    But new Mayo Clinic research has yielded important insights on “avoidance” behaviors, showing they predict which children are more likely to suffer severe anxiety later on.

    …”It’s OK for your child to be upset sometimes,” Whiteside said. “It’s valuable for them to struggle and persist. Being a good parent doesn’t mean your child is always happy.”

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0913/anxiety_prevention.php3#.UknrXT-nIUA

    Or as TMBG summed it up…

    This could lead to excellence
    Or serious injury
    Only one way to know
    Go, go, go

    P.S. Who’s Miller? You cite Megan Hill as writing the article you linked to, then start referring to this Miller without listing a first name.

  10. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2013/08/02 | Free Northerner

  11. Victory or Death says:

    Soo we should just do away with standards because her little mamas boy doesn’t meet it? This is how degeneracy begins

  12. Victory or Death says:

    BTW and more importantly, you should also prove than you can be depended on when shit hits the fan

  13. Pingback: Solipsistic Motherhood | Alpha Is Assumed

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