We are constantly being reminded that there are endangered species of mammals, animals, fish, birds, etc. which are growing closer to extinction. The Asian elephant, blue whale, tiger, giant panda, black rhinoceros, whooping crane, and silver shark are all on this “dying out” list. Certain groups such as the Endangered Species Program and The World Conservation Monitoring Centre spend enormous amounts of money and time trying to preserve these species headed for extinction.
After 35 years of working with and counseling people in all walks of life, I have discovered another endangered species which will have a much greater impact on the human race if it gets much closer to extinction. This species is a part of humanity and is called a “male mentor”.
A male mentor is an adult male who is ultimately willing to have a lifetime (or significant amount of time) relationship with a younger male in order to help this novice reach his full potential in this life. A “male mentor” can come in the form of a father to his son(s), grandfather with his grandson, an adult male with a neighborhood boy, or even a coach of a basketball or baseball team for youth. A “male mentor” lets a younger male know how to act, talk, and behave so when he grows up he will be a mature, responsible man.
What has caused the endangerment of the “male mentor?” The breakup of the American home has made a huge contribution to this devastating problem. A family is broken by mom and dad saying they are not in love anymore and cannot stand to be in the same house. So, in many cases the father leaves the home and has very little contact with his son(s). If a boy is fortunate enough, he may see his dad a couple of days a week or it could be much less. Once some fathers leave, they do not return and I know of boys who have never even met their fathers. Then the media, through sit-coms, cartoons, and overall lack of respect for fathers, make them all out to be bumbling idiots. Why, they could not teach their son(s) even if they were present in the home. Plus you have those fathers who live in the same house but become an absentee father because they are always at work or doing something “important”.
A great need for “male mentors” exists in our culture. A crisis faces America in terms of several generations of boys who have grown up chronologically, but have no idea how to be well-adjusted adult males. Way too many American boys grow into adolescence and eventually into adulthood without a clue as to who they are or what they are to be. Poor self image quickly becomes the filter they see the world through. Boys and teens have anger and rage inside of them with no idea of how to rid themselves of this internal hostility. They have become extremely self-centered and selfish while totally embracing “entitlement” as their worldview. Boys without a “male mentor” are treating girls/women with a lack of respect which aids in the boys’ conversion of becoming verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual abusers. Fear, anxiety, confusion, a poor work ethic, and a lack of sexual identity are often their constant companions.
Is there a need for “male mentors”? Absolutely!
In part II I will be sharing what a “male mentor” looks like.