Boys need to become men- we need to encourage them to be the valiant, courageous protectors of the home that they once were.
So much of our society focuses on the power of women. Birth control, abortion, equal pay- these were all major issues in the recent campaign. It is true, women have great power and influence. I worry that focus on women is depriving boys the motivation to "man up".
One of my favorite humanitarian, micro-credit ventures is the Nobel Peace Prize winning, Grameen Bank. Where lenders grant loans (usually under $30) to people in poverty to help them climb out, without requiring collateral. The Grameen Bank grants 97% of it's loans to women. "Studies have shown that the overall output of development is greater when loans are given to women instead of men, as women are more likely to use their earnings to improve their living situations and to educate their children. They are more likely to benefit families and in turn society." (source) While at the same time, loans given to men were more likely to be squandered on alcohol or selfish endeavors This is a sad commentary on today's men.
I believe that families are ordained of God. I believe that by divine design, fathers should provide for and protect their family. It is good for men to be motivated by the welfare of their family, to work hard and provide. It is a heavy burden they carry and one that in this day and age is very difficult to do.
My thoughts are not aimed at current situations where women might be required to work to supplement income for their families. My thoughts are aimed at what we are teaching our sons and daughters.
1. Teach young men to PROTECT their children.
I loved this quote from the book, Manning Up. (I want to read that book-- out loud to my children.)
“It’s been an almost universal rule of civilization that whereas girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity, boys had to pass a test. They needed to demonstrate courage, physical prowess, or mastery of the necessary skills. The goal was to prove their competence as protectors of women and children; this was always their primary social role. Today, however, with women moving ahead in an advanced economy, provider husbands and fathers are now optional, and the character qualities men had needed to play their role—fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity—are obsolete and even a little embarrassing.”
Surprisingly, I return again to the subject of abortion. (I do NOT understand why my mind continues to stray to this devastating trend.) In 2011 over 1,200,000 babies were aborted in the US (source). In years past, couples were more careful when engaging in sexual intercourse. When women did become pregnant, social stigma was such that men were encouraged to step up and take responsibility for the life they created. Because i believe that any two people, committed to the same goal, can create a happy life together, I believe that those societal pressures were a good thing. I believe that it was good for men to feel pressure to provide and protect their families. It is interesting to me that men protecting their families may have been able to save 1,200,000 of our young from brutal death. In the recent 9/11 attacks on the NY Trade center, a staggering 2,753 Americans died (source). We feel pride sending our men to protect our national liberty but feel shame in encouraging men to step-up and protect their own offspring from a more certain death. I am Pro-Choice for men.
My friends and family who support the Pro-Choice agenda all claim they are not Pro-Abortion. They repeat the slogan, "We are for a women's right to choose." Insisting, nobody is really pro-abortion. I beg to differ. Obviously 1,200,000 couples (I hope it was a joint decision) ARE pro-abortion. That is ONE MILLION TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND of America's young that were murdered last year alone. It is staggering. What a cruel form of birth control, what a sad commentary on society.
Was it interesting to you to watch images from hurricane Sandy, as NJ nurses worked bravely to rescue baby Nyu born at 28 weeks gestation (source)? Did you think, like I did, that if he were just a few weeks younger, our same nation would be fighting to protect his mother's "right" to kill him? We need to protect our children. We need MEN to step up and provide for and protect the families they are creating.
There are TWO parts to this equation. Boys need to provide and protect and girls need to learn to be CONTENT with less. In our society we value FINANCIAL SECURITY, SELFISHNESS, MATERIALISM and WEALTH more than we value strong families, morality, sacrifice or hard work. This is dangerous. Families are not more successful when they are wealthy. There is much goodness that comes from the struggling years. Children who may not have every worldly pleasure have compensating qualities. In exchange for Nike shoes they are developing gratitude, humility, patience, and learning to be content with little. These are great lessons. I believe that we are killing our children because we are afraid we can not give them Disney World or fancy clothes. Be careful. Men, provide for your families. Women, teach your families to be content with less, don't be afraid of the struggle- it is good.
2. Teach your sons to GUARD their thoughts and remain sexually pure.
I love this quote (from here)--
"You adult men—fathers, single adults, leaders, home teachers—be worthy models and help the rising generation of boys become men. Teach them social and other skills: how to participate in a conversation, how to get acquainted and interact with others, how to relate to women and girls, how to serve, how to be active and enjoy recreation, how to pursue hobbies without becoming addicted, how to correct mistakes and make better choices."
"Commenting on the survey, a former U.S. cabinet secretary stated: “This year’s survey reveals a new kind of potent peer pressure—digital peer pressure. Digital peer pressure moves beyond a child’s friends and the kids they hang out with. It invades the home and a child’s bedroom via the Internet.” The demonstration of righteous courage will often be as subtle as to click or not to click. Missionaries are taught from Preach My Gospel, “What you choose to think and do when you are alone and you believe no one is watching is a strong measure of your virtue.” Be courageous! Be strong! “Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved.” (source)
Current ideology suggests that sexuality is genetic and that we should listen and act on the thoughts and urges that present themselves on the stage of our mind. Contrast that with modern-day religious teaching that encourages us to CHOOSE what thoughts we entertain. I am not suggesting that there is no genetic component to our sexuality. But, I do believe that we each have MANY genetic tendencies. Like the parable of the talents. Some we can bury and some we can invest. It is ultimately our CHOICES, not our tendencies that create who we will become.
President Packer describes our mind as a stage (source). He says,
“The mind is like a stage. During every waking moment the curtain is up. There is always some act being performed on that stage. It may be a comedy, a tragedy, interesting or dull, good or bad; but always there is some act playing on the stage of your mind.
“Have you noticed that shady little thoughts may creep in from the wings and attract your attention in the middle of almost any performance and without any real intent on your part? These delinquent thoughts will try to upstage everybody. If you permit them to go on, all thoughts of any virtue will leave the stage. You will be left, because you consented to it, to the influence of unrighteous thoughts. … When they have the stage, if you let them, they will devise the most clever persuasions to hold your attention. They can make it interesting all right, even convince you that they are innocent, for they are but thoughts. What do you do at a time like that, when the stage of your mind is commandeered by the imps of unclean thinking, whether they be the gray ones that seem almost clean or the filthy ones that leave no room for doubt? If you can fill your mind with clean and constructive thoughts, then there will be no room for these persistent imps, and they will leave.”
I have a friend who insisted that she could never make herself a lesbian. I whole-heartily disagree. As a society we KNOW this is not true. We have all watched Super Bowl commercials. Companies spend MILLIONS on 30 seconds of ad time. Because they believe that a THOUGHT when given only half a minute of your attention, can influence you. "The price is going up. The 2011 game on Fox averaged $3 million per 30 seconds and the 2012 game on NBC averaged $3.5 million." (source) Advertisers are spending 3.5 MILLION dollars for 30 seconds of your thoughts. They KNOW thoughts influence behavior.
THE WORLD KNOWS THIS IS A FACT-- DO YOUR CHILDREN KNOW IT? Of course we want to protect our children from common homosexual propaganda from pornography and from the transitional soft-porn. Exposure to sexual erotica CHANGES people. Protect your children- teach them to guard their thoughts and to avoid evil. Teach them what they do when immoral thoughts or images are presented to them, BECAUSE THEY WILL BE EXPOSED TO IT. Repeated exposure desensitizes us. Let the initial coughing fits of an experimental smoker serve as ample warning. Avoid any type of addiction. Teach your children, as President Monson counseled, “To make [decisions] wisely, courage is needed—the courage to say no, the courage to say yes. …
“I plead with you to make a determination … right now, not to deviate from the path which will lead to our goal: eternal life with our Father in Heaven.” (source)
I believe you CAN influence your very nature by what you expose yourself to, by the company you keep, by the thoughts you entertain, and by the acts you engage in. I believe that a young girl who is modest and chaste, can become promiscuous and desensitized by repeated exposure to sexually explicit situations. I believe that young children exposed to abuse or dysfunction are changed. Their very natures are scarred and their sexual identity is marred. I believe it is possible to return to virtue no matter how far you have walked down different paths.
There is DANGER in teaching our young people to discover who they are by listening to their thoughts and urges. Instead we need to teach them to CHOOSE who they want to be by carefully replacing dark, immoral, selfish thoughts with thoughts and actions that lead to edifying, wholesome, productive activities. Too much of today's view of sexuality is centered on self-pleasure. We need to teach our children to use their sexuality to LOVE others, to focus outside of themselves on creating a family or serving a spouse with their sexual urges. Yes, sexuality can be a beautiful gift. But it is a gift that must be bridled to enjoy it's highest power.
3. Teach your sons that THEY decide who they are. Do NOT let society convince them that they are something they don't want to be.
I have one more thing to say concerning same-sex attraction. Do NOT allow society to equate traditionally feminine and masculine characteristics with one's sexual identity. This is dangerous. I believe sexual gender is one of the few absolutes in life. I believe that our body's gender mirrors the eternal gender of our spirit. We are intrinsically male and female and it takes both MALE and FEMALE to create life and both male and female to give children the best foundation for life. While we may be able to change the appearance of our bodies we cannot change the nature of our spirit. Botched circumcisions do not change the DNA of the soul. (read this story).
Saying that, I want to scream to society. Men, who are kind, sensitive, caring, creative, dramatic, fun, physical, nurturing, domestic... are not inherently female. Some of the BEST men I know have these creative tendencies. These qualities make strong men, not just gay men. Females who are not concerned with primping and gossiping and typically girly things are not inherently lesbian. These are the strong, pioneer women who have built the foundation of our country. Protect your children from the damaging messages that society is sending. BOYS are still boys even if they like to paint their fingernails as a child. TRUST ME. ALL BOYS LIKE THAT. These androgynous social characteristics make better men, better fathers, better women and better mothers. Many of the best marriages I know seem to link more masculine women with more feminine men. My husband makes better bread than I do and I am a strong, bold woman. Don't let society convince your children that their gifts and talents disqualify them from a healthy, happy, family life.
Thanks for reading my daily wanderings.
I don't know why I feel so strongly about these social issues.
Abortion and same-gender attraction are issues that affect my family and my friends.
My soul is compassionate. I want people to be happy. My heart aches for those of you who are battling with your thoughts and past choices. This is a HARD battle, but one that we can win. (read about Josh Weed, and Ty Mansfield- these are men that are winning the battle they continue to fight.) I believe with all of my soul that true happiness DOES NOT come from indulging in behavior that is selfish, lazy, or even natural to man. True happiness comes when we CHOOSE the type of home we want to create FOR OUR CHILDREN. True happiness comes when we work every day to become the type of parents THEY DESERVE. Beware lest you be deceived. Teach your children. Save your children. Fight against the trends of society that will destroy our children and destroy our homes. This is the fight of our generation-- we are in the final battles.
Let's teach our girls to be women and mothers, teach our boys to be men and fathers. As we protect our families we will be protecting our nation.
Read these talks-- they are WONDERFUL.
1- Brethren, We Have a Work to Do.
2- Be Valiant in Courage, Strength, and Activity.
Read them, even if you are not LDS.