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Do you have a NEETS problem?

Allen Jones - Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Although not a new term, it is being applied more frequently in the US and it means:

 

Not in Education, Employment or Training

 

It refers specifically to a class of people, generally 18 - 34 depending on the country; 16-24 in the UK and 16-34 in Japan for example.

 

This is not a cultural phenomena based on country of origin, but it is most commonly seen in Westernized cultures.

 

Most of us would generally agree that we see this at almost epidemic proportions in the US. We all know one or more young people who have made a choice not to participate as a productive member of our society.

 

We have a very large number who are sitting at the edge of NEET by barely working (just enough to marginally get-by or fooling around with school because it's easier).

 

Within this demographic of 18-34 year old men in America (this is not exclusive to men, but that's my focus) we see an increasing number who would rather live on parents, friends, government, etc. than to get out and work.

 

  • Some find their way into useless education milking government grants because it's better than going to work.
  • Many you will find living at home with parents because parents don't have the courage to kick them out.
  • Some you will find living almost communally because it's cheap and easy.
  • Most you will find on some sort of government assistance.

 

Granted the lack of economic growth and job creation has contributed to this problem. But generally availability of some kind of work is not the real issue.

 

The biggest contributor is the lack of accountability and neglectful parenting. By neglectful parenting I mean parents who coddle their kids rather than teach them to work hard, earn money, pay their way and come to understand and experience personal accountability.

 

I also understand there are exceptions to this rule. Parents can do all the right things and your child could still become a NEET due to no fault of your own.

 

Why does this happen? Again lack of accountability most generally. Our culture and our government have created a climate where it's OK to be a slacker, not to be personally responsible for your situation, and subsist on government rather than being forced to get a job to eat.

 

And it's not just about a job. It includes Education and Training. They simply aren't doing anything productive for themselves or society. They essentially become leeches.They would rather be lazy than be inconvenienced by the investment of time and energy to work, go to school seriously, or get training for a skill as an apprentice somewhere.

 

I know that is tough talk, but what else do you call an organism that attaches itself to a host and feeds off it?

 

They may wake up when they get into late twenties, or even into their thirty's. But what a tragedy to lose all those years of their lives.

 

Until parents and government quite coddling and enabling these young people, each with enormous God given potential, and "cut them off" from all forms of financial support - they will continue to take the path of least resistance.

 

We need to support them appropriately with encouragement and love, they are not to be discarded. But true encouragement and love will look harsh to them, and to the other bleeding heart, progressive types who have created the situation. It means telling them:

 

  • "No" when they need some money or food
  • "No" when the need some money for gas
  • "No" when they want to come live in your home

It means looking them in the eye and telling them, "Because I love you I won't help you."

 

This is simply a product of the progressive ideas that have accelerated under the Baby Boomer parents, and have become ingrained in our cultural through our families, our institutions (including school), our government. It's the product of generations of lowering expectations across every area of life.

 

We often hear the phrase "I want my kids to have a better life than me". But "better" often is translated "easier" and that is not loving. That is irresponsible and harmful. The Hippocratic Oath is often quoted as "do no harm" and I think that is often and exactly what many (including and especially our government) are doing unintentionally; harming our young people.

 

What's the solution? It begins at home. As a parent you must hold high standards and expectations for your kids. You must hold them accountable for personal decisions. You must teach them early on and reinforce consistently, the fantastic biblical truth in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

 

Our institutions and government must help us as parents by reforming and creating an accountable class rather than an entitlement class (Vote! That is the only way that changes). But we cannot depend on a corrupt power structure like government that is too concerned with self-preservation than doing what is right.

 

So what do you do as a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend or mentor of a NEET?  Get a proper and healthy definition of "love" in your mind, read up, get tough and help them by making the current "nest" they are in too uncomfortable and force them into responsible, mature, healthy behavior.

 

You can find a very practical resource for this in my book Boys To Men - The Lost Art of the Rite of Passage. It is generally very useful for young women as well.

 

There are other sources as well, good books, classes, the Bible is a great place to start - begin by reading the book of Proverbs.

 

The problem in it's entirety is enormous! But if we will each do our part with the NEETS in our life, those young people still malleable in our care, we can make a difference.  Start with your own. Then care enough to become aware of whats going on around you and support causes, people and policies that will help these young people, not hurt them.

 

Let's be part of the solution!

 


What has happened to Man?

Allen Jones - Monday, October 05, 2015

I wrote my book Boys To Men two years ago. The point of the book and my passion is helping fathers (and others) produce real men and introduce them into our culture. I have been blogging off and on on the subject for a over a year now on the subject, pulling from news and culture, topically from my book, etc.

 

In my book I provided a definition of "manhood" that is a compass for me. Read my definition here: Definition of a Man.

 


 

A couple of things occur to me today as I reflect on the state of manhood or maleness: 1) We generally lack clarity on what it means to be a man, and 2) our young men don't seem to care and lack motivation.  I'd like to talk about these two elements a bit, because you have to have a "target" and you have to have a "desire".

 

1. On clarity (definition); in the absence of clarity there is almost always confusion (definition) and diffusion (definition).

 

  • Confusion occurs because there is no clear understanding of the goal. The consequence is each person goes their own way, they don't move at all, they stall out, or are carried away in the path of least resistance.
  • Diffusion occurs because there is no focus for mental and physical energy. The consequence is ambiguity and vagueness and little power and energy toward the goal.

2. On motivation (definition); the absence or lack of motivation almost always produces apathy (definition)  and lethargy (definition).

 

  • Apathy occurs because there is nothing inspiring to stimulate mental (imagination) energy and enthusiasm. The consequence is a person not caring or aspiring to a vision, usually noble.
  • Lethargy occurs because man is not inspired toward a thing (a goal) to generate kinetic energy to move and take action.

Note: every person is motivated in some sense toward some thing. I am referring to motivation toward what is good, healthy, noble, virtuous, productive.  

 

On this problem of clarity and motivation it must be said that this is an issue of leadership.

 

"Everything rises and falls on leadership." - John Maxwell

 

If you have read (or read my book) or read my blog, or know me, you know that I place the responsibility for this leadership squarely on the shoulders of fathers. My goal though is not to beat father's up for not leading, but to inspire them to lead!  

 

Good leadership provides both clarity and motivation. In the case of our young men, a father's responsibility is to provide clarity and motivation toward a compelling picture (definition) of manhood. There are inhibitors toward this grand role for a father. Some are familial and historical, some are cultural, and some are spiritual. However every father must rise above and push through these inhibitors if he is, by definition, going to lead his son(s).

 


 

The situation we often find ourselves in today though, is a generation of fathers who were not led well by their fathers. Consequently they are ill equipped, educated or even aware. If there is some "stir" in them to do better, they often lack confidence and support to act upon the unction they feel.


I submit to you that there is nothing more important to our future as family, community, nation, our culture.  I realize that is a big and bold statement, maybe even sounding nearly ridiculously overstated in light of ISIS, Russia and the middle east, mass killings in movie theaters, schools and college campuses, crime and poverty in the inner cities, mass exodus from Syria to Europe, and so on.

 

But let's examine the root cause for a moment. At the core of everything stated above is there not "man" involved and leading, instigating or perpetrating?  Each of these men are acting upon their beliefs, acting upon his goals with clarity and motivation.

 

On the other side of the spectrum we have a body of men who are oblivious and disengaged in any pursuits except what bring them personal gratification and fulfillment.  Each of these men are acting upon their beliefs, acting upon his goals with clarity and motivation.

 

Only those so completely committed to an ideological position, or totally ignorant to the facts or situation, would deny that we have a leadership crisis in our culture today, and especially in the home, and primarily with fathers. This situation is not solved by government intervention, government cannot provide clarity and motivation. The solution lies within the heart of each and every man.

 


 

Every man has a moral responsibility to his sons, his family, his neighbor, his community and to his God to lead his son(s).  Many fathers however abdicate this responsibility. They may live in the same home with their sons, but they don't have sense of their moral responsibility, no sense that they have a duty and responsibility. Often the father is absent all together.  Either way a vacuum is created when this happens.

 

For the father that is present at home but doesn't intentionally lead his son properly, he often times doesn't want to make the personal sacrifice and deny his own lower tendencies for personal gratification. He was raised poorly, has been so self-indulgent, and so immersed in a compromising, moral low-bar culture, that he has no sense of raising his son with a different standard. He often lacks moral clarity.

 

This may be the father that may be engaged with his son in sports for example, but also uses foul language, drinks too much, has pornography in his house (maybe introduces it so his son), treats his wife poorly and disrespectfully, spends more time at work than he should, spends money unwisely, divorces his wife, has an affair, hangs out with "buddies" who do all the same. But because he's at the games, throws the ball, and so on, he actually thinks he's being a good father. Where does this idea come that he's being a "good" father come from?  Our culture - the compromising, low-bar culture that we have allowed to take root in America. So many a man has grown up under this idea, myself included:

 


 

Then there is the father that's missing altogether. This father has for whatever reason completely abandoned any sense of responsibility for his son(s).  This man has left his son to the sharks of our culture.  Whether this is the man that just gets women pregnant because he's about his own lust with no commitments, or the man that is married and has children and then leaves the family, the result is the same. A young boy lost in an ocean filled with sharks and no land in site to row toward. This young man gets in gangs, shoots up a theater or school, gets caught in the currents of drug use and crime.  He often times becomes either the man who runs around hooking up and leaving, or gets married and then leaves his own family.

 


 

We may say this situation as hopeless. If you think about the enormity and scope of the problem, that fact that we have a plethora of government systems that work against the family, and an active movement or movements in America that reject any traditional footings for a healthy culture for the sake of progressiveness and equality; or literally mocks a man that has any traditional sense of responsibility in raising his son, any man who dares invoke God, biblical morality and values, or suggests that our current cultural condition is unhealthy.

 

But I say it is not hopeless! If you as a father and as a man will take personal responsibility for what is in front of you starting with your son(s), then the expanding concentric circles; grandsons, nephews, neighbors, we can make a difference.

 

There was a generation that looked beyond their own life and personal fulfillment.  They had a sense of legacy, sacrifice and commitment to the generation that would follow.  They laid down their lives for the sake of those coming after them.  This is the "greatest generation" as Tom Brokaw wrote about. This may have been the last great generation in our modern history.  This is the generation that went to WWII for you and I. This generation grew up often times through or in the aftermath of the great depression. They were not perfect, but they were often times noble men, who thought less of their own needs and more of the needs of their families, communities, nation and culture.

 

Leadership Men! I want to encourage every father, grandfather, uncle, man reading this blog to pick up the mantle of leadership for the young men in your life.  Get a vision for what a real man looks like, grab that young man close to you and expend your life and energy in the noble, worthy, essential calling of raising a great man.

 

We need you in the game, there is no space for bench warmers here.  We need guys ready to get into the game and play hard, playing for his teammates.  We need experienced seasoned vets willing to grab the rookie fathers and mentor and train them so they can get on the field and execute.  There is no lack of information and material to train, equip and inspire a father.  However, first he must be awakened to his calling to lead.

 

I hope to be a catalyst in that movement to awaken the men, and then be a useful partner in equipping and training them. I hope to be a great recruiter and find other like-minded men and inspire them to help grab these other men and begin to invest in them so they can be a part of the solution.  And finally I hope to inspire a generation of men who raise up sons and create a wave of up and coming men and fathers who will make a difference and turn the culture.

 

It begins though with one father, one son, one man at a time.  It begins with you and your son. My entire goal in writing my book, speaking, blogging, all my efforts, is to provide clarity and motivation in our men beginning with our fathers.  Let's do this together Dad and be a difference maker right where we are.  My book is but one resource, albeit a good one I think, to help you get started and make a difference beginning today.


There is no time like the present - Carpe diem!  Click here to get a copy of Boys To Men - The Lost Art of the Rite of Passage

 


 


 


The Intern's Take on Manhood

Allen Jones - Thursday, October 01, 2015

So my wife and I saw the Intern this week with Robert De Niro (who plays Ben) and Anne Hathaway (who plays Jules).  We enjoyed the movie, but it was also a little schizophrenic in its take on manhood and gender roles.


Jules is an internet startup phenom, whose husband quits his successful marketing career to be a stay at home dad.  The movie feels just plain awkward in some points where the husband is talking to his wife as if he's a mom; about playing with their daughter and other daily activities.

 

Granted I realize this is influenced by my own attitudes, but most anyone would find it at least a little awkward listening to the dad talk about playing a princess, and his activities with the other mommies and playing the mother/wife role in the movie.

 

Now just to clarify, I raised a daughter who loved princesses and we played games. However this interaction is a little too natural.


There are other scenes where he's in the feminine role and it's just strange. He's a little too natural playing the "wife" role in the morning scenes as Jules is preparing to leave for work, and in the evening scenes in the bedroom.


It culminates in him having an affair in part because he's lost his identity (go figure), and she has become so consumed in her work that they lost connection. It's a complete gender flip flop.

 

So the schizophrenic point comes in when Jules is in a bar with Ben and three other "interns" who are 20 somethings.  Jules has a couple too many drinks and gets "real" with her opinion and wonders what has happened to men, and begins to draw contrasts between Ben the traditional man, and the young men of 2015 who work for her.

 

It's funny and striking at the same time as she not only describes the young interns, but also her husband.  She reveals that something has been lost in regard to men when she surveys the men of today.

 

It also gives the typical treatment by providing the token pathetic male persona with the interns that are hired with Ben.  However Ben plays a sort of mentor to a couple of the guys, which was encouraging as they began to model him in the movie.

 

The other mommies in the movie who intimate that they think that Jules and her husbands role swap is strange, are portrayed as snooty, judgmental, gossips.  They look as though they are busy bodies with nothing better to do, as opposed to say intelligent women, choosing traditional roles with thoughtful opinions.

 

It's also absent of any truly masculine men with the exception of De Niro's character. Every other man is portrayed as soft, weak, gentle, goofy, ignorant, and in some cases effeminate.

 

The movie attempts to affirm the post-modern gender role swaps, while also acknowledging in a transparent moment that something is lost, not quite right with men. Ben's role is constantly affirming this choice the family has made, which seems a little off as well.

 

It was a funny movie, we enjoyed it for the most part - it is however pretty typical fair in the subtle attempts to shape cultural norms.


I suppose if you've been washed in politically correct lectures, feminist values, and bought up thinking we are nothing but a misogynistic male order, you'll either agree with the movies theme, or you won't even notice the things I mentioned.

 

Go see the movie, it's entertaining. But be thoughtful about what it's communicating and advocating. And let it stimulate your mind and cause you to reflect about how you are raising your sons and daughters.  What are they learning about gender roles in school and from culture?

 

If you are not intentional about it, culture will form their attitudes and values rather than you!

 

My daughter and I sat down and had conversation about the movie and it's portrayal of gender roles, masculinity, femininity, pros and cons and long term outcomes.  It was a great conversation, and if you don't have these conversations with your kids - your missing the boat and potentially neglecting your responsibility as a parent.

 

You are responsible for raising your children, instilling values and shaping healthy attitudes.  Don't let the culture nanny steal away your kids from you and create something you had never intended.

 

For more information on how to raise young men in this culture, get a copy of my book Boys To Men - The Lost Art of the Rite of Passage, it's a great starting point for becoming intentional with your sons and raising a real man. Click here to order: Boys To Men

 

   

 

 


Porn a problem? You think!

Allen Jones - Friday, May 29, 2015

News flash...

 

More porn websites are visited monthly than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined!

 

It's a staggering reality when you think about it.  This is insidious and destructive in so many ways.

 

This statistic is shared in a documentary being released Friday about young girls being recruited into the porn industry (read the article here: Fox News Story)

 

The industry is a problem for sure, but not the root cause. The industry would dry up and go away and these young girls would not be exploited if the demand disappeared - capitalism - simple supply and demand!

 

The problem is broken, depraved sinful men, who start out as broken depraved sinful boys, whose father's are so lost they don't know they are sick, or don't care enough to take the time to raise their sons properly. 

 

Broken men perpetuating the problem by raising broken sons.  I know because I was that son raised by that father.

 

We as father's have the power to stop this! Read my book Boys To Men - The Lost Art of the Rite of Passage to at least get started on the solution.

 

Too much is at stake. When you choose to perpetuate this problem by not getting yourself healthy, and raising healthy sons, you are literally putting vulnerable little girls at risk, not to mention families, and our society.

 

We are the problem...and we are the solution.

The Boy Scouts Afraid of Water

Allen Jones - Thursday, May 21, 2015

A recent blog post by Bryan Wendall of the Boy Scouts has created a stir.  His post on May 6th reiterates a rule established a few years ago by the Boy Scouts about safety. You can read his post here: Water Guns & BSA.

 

That rule was used to justify something that seems completely ludicrous, and motivated by pervasive elements in our culture - political correctness and the emasculating of young men. 

 

This rule was sited to justify young boys not being able to shoot each other with water guns...yes, I said water guns.  I know, I know, you have to read it twice to make sure you didn't misread it.  Then your initial reaction is "this can't be true!"  

 

Sadly, it is true.

 

The post specifically sites a BSA rule that says; “Water guns and rubber band guns must only be used to shoot at targets..."

 

Just when you thought our culture could not get more ridiculous. It would be funny if it were a joke, but unfortunately it's not.  It would almost be understandable if it were an overly cautious mother writing this post, but it's not, it's actually a man, or a male anyway.

 

I pause to reflect back on one of our favorite Christmas movies, "A Christmas Story" and Ralphie and his BB Gun and the famous line from his mother - let's say it all together now out loud - "you'll shoot your eye out."

 

This though is not an overzealous loving mother, this is the Boy Scouts of America, and a man on their staff writing this article.  Truth is that he is accurately siting the rules of the BSA which is remarkable.  This is not a new rule, but neither is it "ancient" in the BSA.

 

When asked "why the rule", Wendall was satisfied with the answer by an unnamed scouter; "A Scout is kind."

 

Awesome, a Scout is kind.  Kind takes a kitty out of a tree. Kind helps a little old lady with her groceries.  Kind is helping people with their yard word, etc.

 

This is not kind, this is emasculation - or the politically incorrect term - wussification. (I know I'll probably get in trouble for that one)

 

We have what I consider an epidemic in our society and that is weak, soft, feminized men, and it is insidiously perpetrated by political correctness, and perpetuated by the very offspring of this movement. Case in point Bryan Wendall.

 

I don't know Bryan, but I can't help but wonder what went wrong to cause this 30ish year old male to go so soft on something so innocuous.  I mean really where is the common sense?  If my boys were in Boy Scouts and this came down, they would be out like flint!

 

Seriously think about the end of this kind of indoctrination - and I believe that is what it is.  What happens when these young boys are men.  If their father's don't call this out as "stupid" and correct their sons, but rather pathetically role along with this, what kind of men will these boys be when we need them to aim a weapon at an enemy?

 

Let's get real here.  We have enemies, foreign and domestic, just talk to any military person from the last decade. What if their strongest guiding principle is a misguided understanding of "being kind" and that you don't point "weapons" (to include a water gun) at people.

 

I believe in safety, and I believe in gun safety in particular - but if we think our sons are so stupid that they cannot make the distinction between aiming a water gun and shooting a friend and aiming a real gun and shooting a friend, God help us.

 

Boys are boys and they are created with a certain instinct, I believe God given, to protect. Who do we think we are to try to rewire the God given instinct created in the male species to protect and fight? 

 

Culturally and socially we are one of two things:

 

  1. Ignorant to the consequences of emasculating and feminizing our young boys in regard to our future as a nation and a society, or
  2. Devious and wicked in the intentional redesign of the American male

If your a Dad, please, I beg you:

 

  • Fight for your son's masculinity Fight for your son's maleness
  • Fight for his future wife and kids who will need a traditional, real man to lead and protect and provide
  • Fight for your son's God given design as a man
  • Fight against the cultural erosion of the American male who wants to hijack your sons male identity
  • Fight against the elements that want to feminize and redefine what it means to be a man

Dad's we cannot be asleep at the wheel on this issue - if you ignore it, if you are apathetic toward it, you will wake up one day eating the bitter fruit of your negligence - in one form or another.

 

Let me help you with my book Boys to Men - The Lost Art of the Rite of Passage.  It's a guide to helping fathers, and others intentionally raise a specific kind of man - one that we desperately need a resurgent of in American society, in our families, institutions, communities.

 

Dad's lets fight the good fight for our sons!  You can get more information on my book and other solutions by clicking here: Boys To Men that book.

The Powerful Impact of One Young Man's Lie

Allen Jones - Thursday, March 26, 2015

Do you think character and integrity really matter?  Do you think character and integrity is anyone elses business but the individuals?

 

Try this one on for size.  A young man tells a lie and:

 

  • The entire United States of America is flipped upside down for 6 months
  • A city is set on fire
  • People completely unrelated to the events lives are disrupted all across the U.S.
  • Businesses across the U.S. suffer losses
  • Two innocent men get shot
  • U.S. government is sidelined for months
  • Another innocent man's life utterly ruined

And more...

 

Does anyone know the name Dorian Johnson?  

 

Very few I bet.  But this one young man, in a matter of moments, because of poor character and lack of integrity tells a lie.  Everyone will know his buddy though who he told the lie in regards to.  Michael Brown.

 

You know the story - the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.  Dorian Johnson was Michale Brown's accomplice in the robbery preceding the shooting of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson.

 

We all know what happened in our country for 6 long months.  There are so many damaging consequences as a result of Dorian's choice to lie rather than tell the truth, I can even begin to go into them.

 

Who is to blame for Dorian Johnson's lack of character and integrity?  Ultimately he is of course. But who else may be culpable...how about his father?

 

Did Dorian Johnson:

 

  • Suddenly have a break from his character training by his father?
  • Did he get any character training from his father?
  • Or worse did he model what he saw from his father? 
  • Did he even have a father present?

A moment of testing like this comes to every man.  The situation may be different, your son may not be faced with lying about something like a shooting or criminal activity. But make no mistake...a break in character and integrity is not a victimless failing.

 

The decision he makes in that moment is less about that moment and circumstances, and more about how he was shaped and raised up to be as a man.  The seed for that moment was planted much, much earlier in his life.

 

  • Don't think your role matters dad?
  • Do you think you can take a day off from being an excellent role model for your son?
  • America you don't think the role of a father is that important in a young mans life?

One moment in one young man's life, one choice to tell the truth or lie, and he negatively impacted millions of peoples lives, some irrevocably.  From being inconvenienced in a traffic jam because of a protest blocking a freeway to two police men being shot in Ferguson, to businesses being shut down, to a community nearly completely destroyed...from one decision!

 

Our role as fathers is not raising sons.  We have sons, they are the raw material. Our role is raising men, not a male, but a man and a particular kind of man at that. Click here for the definition of a man.

 

I wonder if Dorian Johnson's father, upon seeing all this unfold:

 

  • Feels any personal responsibility for any of this? 
  • Blames his son?
  • If he even cares?
  • If his father even knows who his son is?

There is no greater responsibility for a father than helping his son(s) become a real man. A father has a great responsibility to his son, to his family, to his son's future family, to his community. Character and integrity, a real man are not created in a day, they are created daily.

 

A father does not have the luxury of:

 

  • Taking a day off
  • Leaving this to chance
  • Wishful thinking
  • Ignorance

As a father of a son you have an enormous opportunity in front of you..seize it for the gift and challenge it truly is. There is unbelievable potential for good or ill in that little package you received called a son. And no one determines the outcome as much as you.

 

Raising a young man in the 21st century is no joke!  You may not have had a great role model, example, or training growing up yourself.  You may be like me when my 20 and 22 year old sons were 2 and 3 years old - saying to yourself, "what the heck and am I supposed to do?"

 

Let me help you. Boys to Men is a book specifically written for you!  It will help you consciously, proactively and practically raise a good man. Check it out today: Boys To Men - The Lost Art of The Rite of Passage.

 

There is no time to start like the present!  Don't waste one more day wondering what to do, or how to do it. Every day matters in his life with you.

 

Role Models 2015 - continued

Allen Jones - Friday, March 06, 2015

Continuing the conversation about role models from the previous blog, I want to bring it down to reality and practical application.

 

As fathers we can get caught up in the highs and lows of being a parent, particularly when thinking about being a role model for our sons (or our kids in general).

 

We live in a culture that quite frankly tells us that if we are not doing something really fantastic or dramatic are we really doing anything at all?  Like going on an expensive trip for example, or taking our family out for a big day outing, which can also get expensive.

 

In other words we tend to slip into a mentality that thinks that role modeling for our sons is driven around events that have a lot invested into them, both time and money.  We think that we have to "create" some exciting environment or experience.

 

We often will look around and see what other men are doing with their sons, or our sons will tell us what their friends are doing with their fathers, and because we do not have the same resources, we can begin to feel inadequate or inferior.  And this can take the "fight" right out of us.  I get it, really I do.

 

We can actually slip into a place of self-pity if we are not careful, and inadvertently, silently make it about us and what we cannot do in comparison to others, and forget this is about our sons. This is not new. There always has been and always will be others who have more resources at their disposal.

 

We need to get over that issue right now!  We cannot worry about what others are doing with their sons.  Honestly I have seen plenty of money poured into other kids by their fathers with tragic results. It is not the amount of money spent, nor is it the incredible event that makes the difference.

 

What is the key?  It is the daily faithfulness of a father that his son observes and participates in. It is a son who watches his father get up every day and do what is right. I gave a list of these things in the last blog.

 

This blog is about you dad. I want to encourage you to do the best you can with what you have and remember that it is your faithfulness that matters, not your money.

 

Don't be discouraged by what you see around you, because if you were to see the end of some of those efforts and relationships and families, you wouldn't want it.

 

At the end of the day, money spent, trips taken, events created do no substitute for living a faithful, integrity filled, character driven, values based, ethical, loving life lived out for them to see and partake in.

 

Live your day out with those things. Allow your son to see you do the right thing day in and day out. Seize the teachable moments that come your way with your son.  A life is built little by little, line upon line, precept upon precept.  Seize those little moments and teach him the truly important principles in life:

 

  • Each time he sees you make a sacrifice for your family and others
  • Each time he sees you exercising self-discipline
  • Each time he sees you love your wife
  • Each time he sees you be kind to another person
  • Each time he sees you act honestly with integrity

You are being his ROLE MODEL. Those are the things that will produce good fruit in your sons life when he matures into a man.

 

You live with him every day. He sees you every day. You are the most influential person in his life for many, many years.  Don't ever short change your sons life or your legacy by exchanging the faithful execution of living well for your son every day, being faithful in the little things, for the myth of extravagant experiences or events at the expense of character development.

 

You are truly his role model; embrace the call, seize the moment, live a life worth following.  You can find helpful ideas, techniques, tools and resources in my book Boys to Men - The Lost Art of the Rite of Passage. You can order the book or get more information by clicking here.

 

Don't put off to tomorrow what you can do today - begin today to the man and father your son needs you to be.

 

Role Models in 2015

Allen Jones - Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The conversation hasn't changed much in recent decades, but the urgency has increased. Our young men in the making need role models.

 

It doesn't take a social science expert to see this, it is fairly obvious to look around and see the evidence in the quality and character of young men today.

 

That is not to say that all young men are wandering aimlessly through life, I know lots who are not. However that is mostly due to the circles I run in.

 

When I step out of my circle I see lots of evidence of the need for good male role models.  And here is the deal. Our culture has and will continue to prop up an image for young men that on the one hand is unattainable, and on the other hand usually encourages poor values of making a lot of money, decadence, lack of personal discipline, selfishness, narcissism, arrogance, pride, rebelliousness, fame and so on.

 

Of course I'm talking about our pop culture and sports stars for the most part, who generally are not good role models for our young men. That is not to say that all sports stars or people in our popular culture are bad, they are not.  But the majority are poor examples.

 

And truthfully for the vast, vast majority of young men, they will never come close to the kinds of lavish, extreme lifestyles they are conditioned to lust for through these examples. But they don't know that at their young ages.

 

So rather than settling into great values that will build a great life, they model a popular culture image that is often the antithesis of these classic and enduring values.

 

The reasons are pretty simple; lots of money to be made by getting these young men hooked on these folks, and a strategic spiritual attack that goes to the heart of our potential.

 

The antidote?  Fathers. There are contrasting realities that demonstrate this profoundly. This might get misconstrued as racially inspired, but it's not, only facts and observations that speak not to racial inequality, but social truths.

 

It is the the absence of fathers, good male role models that is the most direct correlation to drug and alcohol abuse, incarceration, teen pregnancy, crime and poverty in our society. This is most notable in the inner cities of our country, but it's not exclusive to those places either.

 

You can see the same results in more rural and suburban areas as well. I know I live in that world and I see it all around me. It doesn't necessarily look the same, a little more sophisticated wrapping, but the same core issue.

 

In the instances where you see intact families with an engaged father and role model present, these statistics change dramatically for the better!

 

The answer to the problem is good role models. A young man needs to consistently see a man of influence in his life:

 

  • Get up every day and go to work
  • Work hard and provide for his family
  • Love and care for his family
  • Love and care for his wife
  • Make personal sacrifices for others
  • Save money and be financially responsible
  • Live a disciplined life
  • Respect other people
  • Take time with him and invest in him personally
  • Show him the "ropes" of life
  • Have goals and a move toward them
  • Take risks and live life fully
  • Have a sense of adventure
  • Know his maker God, and honor Him in his life

I am fortunate enough to know plenty of men in my life raising young men who get this and are doing all these things and more. These are men who understand they do not live unto themselves, but they have been gifted with young men to nurture and raise into great men.  Our future.

 

They are not perfect men, they are not perfect fathers or husbands. But they are faithful, committed men who see beyond the moment and their personal gratifications. These men see legacy, they see generational, they see their future in their young men.

 

You can read more about this subject in my book Boys to Men. If your a young father to a son, you don't have to grope in the dark to figure out how to be a good role model.  Many of us did not have great examples, but that is not an excuse not to be one. You can get equipped by reading my book, and other great resources that are available.

 

Be a difference maker in the life of your son, and in the lives of young men you have influence with. Be a real role model they can follow.

Is he passive or a fighter?

Allen Jones - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Your son...is he passive or a fighter? Are you passive or a fighter?

 

And by this I am not referring to his aggression.  I am not referring to his position on military action, getting into fights, politics, etc.

 

I am however talking about his attitude toward very important things that matter and make a huge difference in his life:

 

  • Faith
  • Character & Integrity
  • Vision, values and goals
  • Chivalry
  • Sexual Integrity
  • People
  • Money
  • Work ethic
  • Stretching himself
This is not an exhaustive list, but it is an important list of the things that will define a man and his legacy. They are things that will determine the quality of his life and affect his posterity. They are the things that will make him productive and useful to his family, to his community, to society and to his God.

 

This though needs to be made perfectly clear: These things don't come to a passive man. He must fight for these things.

 

Most would agree, I should say anyone that has lived more than a day will generally agree, anything virtuous and worth having must be fought for both to attain and to retain.

 

Let me tell you a silly little story:

 

I was buying a car for my daughter recently. Long story short, I looked for months and looked at lots of cars. When I talked to the man (every instance was a man) about the car and asked all the pertinent questions, when I asked very specific questions about the condition of the car I was repeatedly lied to. I made many trips to look at cars that were nothing like what was described. These men literally lied and were deceitful on the phone to get someone to come look at their car.

 

I wondered each time this happened, what were they thinking when they were dishonest with me knowing I would be standing in front of them later. Truth is they didn't care. They didn't care about their character, they didn't care about integrity. They wanted to sell a car and the ends justified the means.

 

It was a really disappointing experience for that reason alone. To encounter so many young men who were so passive about their character and integrity that they would act this way. They had no qualms with the fact that I may be driving an hour or more, taking time away from my family, etc.

 

The few instances when I couldn't keep my mouth shut because I was so frustrated by their dishonesty, and I challenge them on it, they simply shrugged and said something like "sorry man" and left. No sense of conflict present at all in them for having behaved this way.

 

As a father you can teach these things to your sons, you can instill them, model them, etc. And you should as it's your responsibility in being a father to sons.  However your sons, and every man for that matter, will have to make a decision as to whether he will fight for these things or have a passive attitude toward them.

 

It's easy to be passive, that is basically going with the flow of the stream of culture, taking the easy routes through life, never putting yourself into a place of friction or resistance. Passivity is an attitude that a person has. It usually comes from not really caring about a thing.

 

A man will generally fight for what he cares about.  And we tend to think about fighting for things that are more tangible and immediate.  We will fight to protect your home against invaders, we will fight to protect our kids against a threat, we will fight terrorists. These are all good to fight for by the way.

 

When it comes to less tangible or abstract qualities like faith character, vision and the other things previously listed, because we don't feel an imminent threat or consequence, and because they cause us to have to discipline ourselves and deny some of the base and less admirable things about our human nature, namely our lusts, passions, laziness, greed, selfishness, etc., we don't fight for them.

 

This is what I am talking about when I ask is your son passive or a fighter. These qualities have to be fought for. They don't come naturally to us, nor are they sustained without a fight. I'm not suggesting that you have to fight non-stop 24/7, but our sons will have moments and seasons in life when they will have to fight their own tendencies, and a culture that has devalued these qualities, if he's going to live his life well. 

 

I just watched American Sniper and in the movie Chris Kyle's dad teaches his sons that you fight for each other, you don't allow others, especially your own to be bullied or picked on. I bring this up because it was a lesson taught and reinforced by a father that shaped the attitude of Chris, and was a primary motivator in his decision to join the military and fight for the country.

 

A father can make a difference in his sons life in shaping him, and we should.  We should work hard to instill virtuous qualities in our sons lives, and teach them to fight for those things. Teach them that they will continually have those "gut check" moments when a part of them wants to take the easy path and compromise his character in a moment, acquiesce in a moment and compromise his integrity, capitulate in a moment and compromise his values. These are the fights they must win.

 

This world is full of passive men and we are paying a price for it. As father's we need to be raising men who will fight for their character, who will fight for their integrity, who will fight for their values, who will fight for women and the vulnerable, who will fight for their sexual integrity and be faithful, and so on.

 

Passivity comes naturally, fighters are made. Let's put a little fight in our sons for all the right reasons.

 

You can find more information about how to do this in the book Boys To Men, I encourage you to get a copy and read it. It will be a great resource for you as a father and as a man, simply click here.

 

 

A Father of a nation, a father of sons

Allen Jones - Saturday, October 04, 2014

In my last blog post I ended it by making mention of John Adams.  I just finished reading a fantastic book that I highly recommend.  It is a big book and I was intimidated as I opened it but it was a page-turner.  The book was called John Adams, written by David McCollough – a great author.

 

As I was reading about John Adams as a founder and father of our nation, I was surprised to read so much about him as a father, and I was delighted and intrigued by this aspect of the story. It obviously caused me to think about myself and my sons.

 

He had three sons, John Quincy Adams who became our sixth president. There was Thomas who was a failed lawyer among other things, but settled back in his hometown as a farmer. Finally there was Charles who failed at most everything he did and ended up as an alcoholic who died in his 40’s.

 

Talk about the spectrum, sons that ranged from President of the United States to derelict (by most measures). The same man (and wife) raising three sons with the same principles.  They all went to Harvard.  He taught them all the same values. John Adams was, above all things, principled, consistent and steady.

 

They all had dramatically different experiences with their father, which undoubtedly factored into the outcomes.  John Adams however made observations of his sons; usually comparing them to each other, and in so doing predicted certain outcomes for them.

 

He had high expectations for his sons, which was good, but he seemed fairly determined that there was one path to success – which was a Harvard education, and being lawyers, etc.

 

The relationship that he had with John was by far and away the closest and most personally rewarding to him.  The relationship with Thomas was not as close or affirming, but supportive.  The relationship with Charles was one of disappointment.

 

Now let me clarify that I am not criticizing John Adams as a father, just using him as an example. I’ve been a father long enough to avoid quick judgments.

 

Who knows what the outcome might have been for Thomas and Charles if their had been in environment that challenged them to be their best, but made room for them to discover what they were really gifted at and motivated by.

 

If John Adams had it to do over again, he might have approached fathering and leading his sons a little differently. He did feel as though he had failed his two sons to some extent, primarily Charles.  And that is one thing I think all of us fathers can agree on that we would choose to avoid.

 

John Adams definitely had a predetermined attitude toward what his sons should be, and it factored into his decisions and expectations; the sons going to private schools, boarding schools, Harvard, being highly educated, full of knowledge, well read, etc.

 

Who doesn’t think those are noble and good ambitions for our sons?  But I go back to what I had written in the last blog: “Is it possible we didn’t see them as raw material to be shaped and molded into their own unique person…”

 

John Adams was a great man for sure.  I take both encouragements from his story and lessons to be learned.

 

As great a man as he was, he was not perfect and made mistakes and that is encouraging.  I also learn from him the realization that our sons are unique individuals, and not simply clones or “mini me’s”, and the consequences of not understanding that can have long lasting implications.

 

In reading his writings about his sons, it is quite obvious that there were three very distinct personalities.  Can’t any of us with more than one child relate to that?

 

I remember reading long ago from James Dobson, that in my case with two sons, I have two unique human beings.  I cannot as a loving, competent father shove them into one narrow style of parenting.

 

It is my responsibility to get to know and understand the unique individuals that God has given me in my sons.  To nurture in them the potential that exists latent in them. To help them gain confidence and chart a path that allows them to be free of arbitrary expectations and comparisons to each other.  And all the while instilling the fundamental principles that cut across all personality traits and temperament types, to help them succeed as unique individuals, and create a purposeful, fulfilling life.

 

Fathering demands much from us, and stakes are high. The good news is you don’t have to learn this all on your own by experience.  Take the time to learn and read and grow, become the best father you can be, and raise great sons in the process.

 

Start with Boys to Men, my book.  I think you’ll find it encouraging and helpful to you, but don’t stop there!  There is a lot of good material and resources to be a great dad.  But it doesn’t happen by osmosis – you have to invest in yourself.


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