Annie Holmquist

Why Father Figures are Important to Boys: And Why this Idea is Suddenly Controversial

While many would think efforts to model such characteristics and skills as the aforementioned ones are praiseworthy, Shaljean has met with some resistance. As she explains, many of the young boys in the program come from homes headed by grandmothers, single mothers, or same sex parents. Because of the ultra-sensitivity of society, the implication that these boys are at a disadvantage is not always well-received.

I’ve taught a weekly, inner-city preschool class for some years now. Currently, the class make-up is one-quarter girls and three-quarters boys.
Two members of this boy monopoly are a particularly dynamic duo, known for their grand (i.e. loud) entrances, boisterous singing, and penchant for asking to use the bathroom at the most inconvenient times. They also adore a fellow teacher of mine, whom they fondly greet with a flying tackle and joyous “Benjermin!” every time they see him.
Their fondness for “Benjermin” speaks to something many little boys need: a responsible, father-like figure to whom they can look up to and learn from.
Unfortunately, many young boys don’t have such a figure in their lives. This fact was recently observed by Sonia Shaljean, a UK woman who started the organization “Lads Need Dads” as a way to fight the “void of masculinity” present in today’s society.
Shaljean believes that matching fatherless boys with mentors, who then teach them the skills they fail to learn due to an absent father, will help to set many young men on the path to success. Shaljean explains how this works:

We unashamedly teach bloke [manly] skills: DIY, car and bike maintenance, carpentry, bush craft, fishing, plus T-shirt printing, DJ sessions, self defence, cooking and first aid. They need to be able to look after themselves down the line.

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Where Have All the Great Men Gone? (Not to Harvard)

Faith in God, admiration of virtue, respect for the institutions of marriage and family, and love for learning and discerning truth…were once commonplace convictions in Western civilization; now they are rarer than a white tiger. Nevertheless, our need for them has never been greater, and the men and women who are taught to cling to these as children will one day stand in greatness, even if they never set foot on Harvard’s campus.

The other day, Harvard senior Julie Hartman wrote a brief tale in the Wall Street Journal about what has been happening on that revered campus since COVID landed its microscopic self on American shores. She and her classmates have been denied the norms of campus life, treated instead to mask-wearing, social distancing, and endless COVID tests. But that’s no big deal, because students across the country have been subjected to similar protocols, right?
That’s wrong, according to Hartman. She points out that students at Harvard are often viewed as the leaders of the next generation, for that institution has been producing great men for centuries. “We may be the future decision makers,” she writes, “but most of us aren’t leaders. Our principal concern is becoming members of the American elite, with whatever compromises, concessions and conformity that requires.” In essence, Harvard students are simply the same cookie-cutter automatons that so many institutions produce today. Hartman concludes by saying that such a lack of opposition to “these irrational bureaucratic excesses bodes ill for our ability to meet future challenges.”
If today’s institutions aren’t producing great men and women, how can we average folks pick up the slack and do their work for them? And if we’re going to do that, just what exactly is it that makes a great man or woman? One of Harvard’s former professors, philosopher George Santayana, had some thoughts on the matter in his work, Winds of Doctrine.
Santayana first diagnosed the reason why we don’t have great men: moral chaos. “When chaos has penetrated so far into the moral being of nations,” he wrote, “they can hardly be expected to produce great men.” This observation, made in 1926, certainly checks out with our present-day society. From rioting in the streets to election irregularities, to gender confusion, to irrational and flip-flopping COVID mandates, we’ve experienced a full range of chaos penetrating our moral being in the last few years.
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Effeminacy Is Not Working for the Christian Church

If Christians want to rebuild and bring the “nones” back to church, then perhaps it’s time to try something beyond feel-good sermons and feminized emotional appeals. Perhaps it’s time for churches to go back to the roots of their own religion and reject today’s trendy, effeminate Christianity.

Sitting in a pew last summer, waiting for a small funeral service to start, I saw a young woman walk to the podium and begin to speak. To my surprise, she introduced herself as the minister who would be conducting the service, and then she began to lead those gathered to remember the departed through the songs, prayers, and eulogizing typical of funerals.
While the presence of this female minister initially came as a surprise, further consideration led me to realize that her presence was simply a natural consequence of the women’s liberation movement and the heightened emphasis on empathetic feelings in today’s society. Somewhere along the line, we got the idea that Christianity is a soft, nurturing religion. By those standards, the presence of a woman in the pulpit seems the most natural thing in the world.
Yet is such a course really working for the Christian church? A recent article from Christianity Today suggests otherwise.
Citing the steady rise of religious “nones”—those individuals who claim no affiliation with any religion—author Ryan Burge claims that individuals without a religious affiliation have risen from roughly 5 percent in the early 1970s, to almost 25 percent in recent years. Burge posits that these numbers are not as dire as they seem. Many of the “nones” should really be labeled “somes,” for they attend church occasionally and still entertain religious thoughts, such as belief in God.
Burge closes his article by quoting Wheaton College professor Ed Stetzer, who summarized the “nones’” problem by saying “’It would… be a mistake to think church as usual will appeal to the nones.’”
“Of course!” many would say. “This is exactly why church needs to become fresh, new, and original! Stop being so hard on sin! Become more nurturing!”
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Study: A Manly Father is Good for Children

We have today what authors Warren Farrell and John Gray call a “boy crisis”—a crisis where boys fail to become men, struggle in school, get in trouble, and have difficulty finding wives. Would we see that crisis begin to be resolved if we encouraged fathers to practice and model their manly virtues?

In an age where feminism seems to rule, there’s a lot of pressure for fathers to start acting softer and more feminine in dealing with their children. Not a trace of that “toxic masculinity” should come through!
Perhaps that is why we see increasing condemnation of competition (“everyone gets a participation trophy!”) or “dangerous” activities like winter sledding (“little Johnny could hit a tree!”), or allowing children to stray a few blocks from home without adult supervision (“they might be kidnapped!”). Why would we want parents, particularly fathers, to stress the traditionally masculine virtues of competition and adventure to their children when we’re trying to root toxic masculinity out of society?
But while this mindset is subtly promoted by today’s culture, it is now being challenged by a new study published in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinities. The study lists the stereotypical masculine characteristics—“competitive, daring, adventurous, dominant, aggressive, courageous and standing up to pressure”—as positive traits, and fathers who demonstrated these were “rated as showing good parenting behavior.”
Researchers expressed surprise at this link between masculine qualities and good parenting. The study’s lead author, Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, acknowledged, however, that “fathers who see themselves as competitive and adventurous and the other masculine traits tended to be really engaged with their kids.”
Perhaps this is surprising to those living in a “woke,” politically correct, feminist society, but it shouldn’t be to those who look at fathers through history. Take Teddy Roosevelt, for example. In a letter to a friend in late 1900, Roosevelt explained how he had been a sickly child—likely the type who would have been teased and labeled a sissy by other boys his age. His father helped him through this difficult childhood, not only through gentleness, but also through his manly character. Roosevelt explains:
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