• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

“Be a man, a real man...”

By Christopher Joynt

South African’s as a whole, but men in particular should hang their heads in shame.

It is as if the cloth, the very fabric of our society is coming apart like a rag exposed to battery acid. Some undefined societal acid is spreading through the males in this country like wildfire, eroding and dissolving large swathes in its path. Where to start and who to blame?

For me, as an educator, I can only think in terms of our boys as a starting point.

They are the ones who should be exposed to living breathing examples of role models who treat women with the utmost respect and love from day to day, but unfortunately they are not.

The warp and the weft of our societal cloth started falling apart long ago and for various reasons.

Boys growing up without fathers in their formative years will seek a father to fill that gap and often they gravitated towards the wrong example. Roaming around with the wrong friends will often land them with the tough guy from the neighborhood who would be the worst example of male behavior and these behavioral traits will become part and parcel of your child's future male behavior.

Society as a whole is coming apart at the seams, and our children are paying the price. Divorce, substance abuse, alcoholism, confinement to prison and general absence all play a role in the child's development and future male behavior. Nothing can replace the influence of the father figure in a child's life so make sure you are there and setting the correct example. Fathers, uncles, pastors, grandpa's teachers, coaches remember, you are teaching the boys of today to be the men of tomorrow.

Often even the 'good' fathers will set the wrong example. Boisterous youngsters 'sowing their wild oats' and behaving disrespectfully towards girls and women are often flippantly excused with the words 'boys will be boys' and by doing so you are condoning their disrespectful behavior.

By no means am I advocating the concept of the patriarchal society because a good cake depends on the correct mix of ingredients, but If you want to see the change in this country then you must be the change. Be a father in every sense of the word. Put a guard in front of your mouth, your boy will register the way you address your wife, girlfriend and women in general. Hollywood slang should not be the way when we as South African address our women. Be a man, a real man.

Our boys are inundated with enough bad examples of how to treat women in movies, video games, music, politics and sports. Has this become the South African way? Is this what our youngsters are striving to achieve? Take a good hard look at yourself gentleman. Is this the best you can be?

Go forth and be the change in society. Make it happen, for your boy's sake.


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