This is Pastor Tim’s article which will appear in the Evening Leader on Monday, March 9, 2020.
I have been reading some articles this week about Toxic Masculinity. I want to know what it is and why it has become such an issue in recent years. There is no shortage of information on the evils of toxic masculinity on YouTube. Ok, I get it. Men are evil. Please accept my apology on behalf of my failing gender.
I can remember this conversation beginning back when I was in Seminary. Racism was the far more common accusation back in those days but now we have “-isms” about just about anything under the sun. Nobody is allowed to have an opinion anymore. Apparently, we are just a product of a bunch of prejudice and hatred for the whole world. Honestly, I didn’t realize what a hate-monger I was.
I look at the world today and compare that to the world my Dad grew up in. He was born on Veteran’s Day in 1942. His generation didn’t grow up with all of these “-isms.” Was that world perfect? Of course, it wasn’t. But there were no gender-confused kids, conversations about redefining marriage or people so self-absorbed that they can’t see past the end of their nose. School-yard bullies got to be the bully until another bully put him in his place. Boys played with trucks and girls with dolls, not because anyone forced then to – that was what they wanted to do. Boys worked things out by getting in fights and girls cried it out together. That is a system that worked for all of human history.
I am not saying it was a perfect system, but at least in that system, we built communities. We knew our neighbors and we had relationships. That system had healthy checks and balances that allowed us to be in relationships. We understood where we all stood and had a basic level of expectation that allowed us to trust each other.
That concept is laughably gone today, and the reason it is gone is because the beliefs and practices that perpetuated that system have been labeled either damaging or outdated. We would all sit in church together and worship God, the Creator of all of us. Not only did that connect us to God, but it also connected us to each other. In this world where we label natural behaviors like being a boy toxic or allow children to make choices for themselves that they have no business making, it is no wonder we have erected walls to protect ourselves. We now have absolutely no idea what to expect from each other.
There are plenty of things from the past that I do not want to ever come back. I am not saying the past was perfect. But there are some guiding principles about men taking responsibility and loving and respecting their families that we have allowed to slip away, and we are all the worse for it. And do you want to know who comes into my office to tell me how much losing masculinity has hurt society? Women. They want a man to be a man, act like a man and take charge like a man. Men do not need to use violence or manipulation to be in control of a situation – that is how children assert control. Men who act with honor and respect and who take their role seriously are in short supply and the reason they are in short supply is because from a very young age, boys get the message there is something wrong with them.
The only thing wrong with them is no one is teaching them what it means to be a good man. I literally thank God every day I grew up with a good man in my home. He wasn’t always fair, he wasn’t always right but he was always clear-headed and calm no matter how out of control things seemed to be. He approached it with a level head. He spoke to me man to man even when I was very young.
I am 45 years old and am still praying I can grow up and be just like my Dad. Call me toxic if you want, at least I know who I am.