Endangered Species

Deer hunting with my son, Luke

Deer hunting with my son, Luke

Masculinity is endangered. Sit-coms and commercials portray men as bumbling imbeciles. Action movies portray every agent or soldier as super-human killing machines. Neither of these depictions are accurate. They’re both caricatures created by (and for) people who have had little or no contact with actual men. They don’t know any soldiers, agents, or dads who are both loving and strong.

It’s like people are just guessing what men might be like based on things they’ve heard. Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne are just as far from reality as the sit-com dad who needs his wife to open a jar for him.

But let’s be honest, we’ve contributed to this tragedy. Had we set a better example there wouldn’t be these gross misrepresentations.

So in what ways are we fueling these ridiculously off-the-mark stereotypes? For starters, men are on their laptops instead of outside playing catch with their sons. Daughters see their dads watching TV more than they see them reading books. And men are looking at pornography instead of dating and romancing their wife. It’s little wonder we’re being portrayed as either weak or robotic.

If you want to change how society views men, change how your family views you.

 

Pornography

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Alright guys, we need to talk about porn. It’s not harmless. It’s not something all guys do. And it’s not “just looking.” It actually rewires the neuronal pathways in your brain.

And oh yeah, it’s also extremely addictive. More addictive than crack cocaine. That’s because cocaine will eventually leave your system, but pornographic images can stay with you forever. This is according to Mary Anne Layden, of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Cognitive Therapy, who has labeled porn the "most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today."

This is a serious problem.

Ultimately, porn leads to dissatisfaction with real life. Eventually you’ll be dissatisfied with yourself and with your wife. Maybe not at first, but eventually it’s inevitable. You can’t argue with neuroscience. And that will lead to depression, which will make you turn to more porn. Eventually it won’t be enough.

Don’t give porn any place in your life. Don’t settle for a sad vicarious life, proven to lead to depression and addiction. Do real things. Real sex with a real woman. It might not look as perfect as porn, but it’s real. And real is amazing. Real is beautiful. Real is healthy.

 

The Need to Read

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Ever hear someone say that they hate reading or that they “aren’t a reader”? Maybe you’ve said those excuses yourself. Does that same logic apply to exercising? Eating healthy? Brushing your teeth? Is that our standard for deciding how to live? If you “aren’t an exerciser” or you hate eating healthy, does that give you a pass? Of course not! The truth is there’s zero excuse for not reading either. 

We’re living in a literary smorgasbord. Amazon can get any book in the world to your doorstep by tomorrow.

Our minds expand reading biographies like Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Our awareness of history is blown up by Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. We are in awe of human endurance in The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz, and we laugh and are encouraged by Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

You exercise, eat healthy, brush your teeth, and you read. You do this because you’re smart enough to know it’s good for you. Not because you necessarily feel like it or love it.

Amateurs only read if they feel like it; pros read consistently because they’re always working to improve themselves. Go pro!