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Chuck Norris once said:
Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth.
At first glance and if you were to take it literally, this might come off as a harsh slam against men, but if you dig deeper you can find some truth to it.
See in today’s society we are in a dire need of quality men to step up and be role models for today’s youth. No longer can it be assumed that professional athletes are “angels” (unless they literally play for the Los Angeles Angels). Gone are the days of watching our favorite athletes and telling our parents “I want be just like them when I grow up”. Instead, we are corrected of that thought by our elders before we even get to verbalize it. The criticism is warranted as today’s athletes have done nothing to help their image.
It seems as if every time I flip on the T.V. another athlete is being fined, suspended, jailed or in court for some reason. Take for instance former- Baltimore Raven running back Ray Rice. Last year the former National Football League star was charged with domestic violence against his then-fiancé Janay Palmer when he struck her in an elevator and knocked her unconscious. He then proceeded to drag her unconscious body out of the elevator. The NFL eventually suspended him two games for the incident, but the Ravens released him and he’s hasn’t played since. We want our boys to grow up to become men of integrity but we can’t expect them to learn integrity from abusive athletes. There is no room for it.
Violence and abuse are not the only negative issues that boys are exposed to today. Prejudice and discrimination have grown over the past couple years. Prejudice has been directed at athletes such as former - Missouri Tiger football star and former- NFL player Michael Sam and current- Seton Hall basketball player Derrick Gordon, who both came out as gay. See we need to be more open and welcome to others with different lifestyles. Some male athletes are forced to be their “true selves” behind a curtain because they fear they will be treated differently or unfairly if their coaches, teammates or classmates know of their sexuality. Sam and Gordon should not be seen as people to make fun or slam, but be seen as role models for their courage to defy the preconceived notion that being gay means you are not athletic.
As a society we’ve come to a fork in the road.
Road #1, this is the path that has us emulate the athletes we see on the television. We promote drugs, cheating and violence; we refuse to be our “true selves” in fear of discrimination.
Road #2, this is the path where we stop the discrimination; drop the prejudices and provide our young boys men of integrity; men who know right from wrong and aren’t afraid of being themselves.
Men of integrity need to be emulated by boys. And men of integrity need to be promoted by the media. If these type of men were promoted more then maybe we wouldn’t be as worried about the future of our boys.
Why do we celebrate International Men’s Day? Because it’s a celebration of gender equality, positive gender relations, and anti-discrimination. If we don’t celebrate we are admitting defeat and telling our boys that their future is their own problem.
American poet Robert Frost once said:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
So imagine yourself standing in front of that fork in the road. Now ask yourself this- which road should I take?
Should men take the road that seems the easiest; the road that society illustrates? Or do we heed Frost’s advice and take the “one less traveled by”?
The choice is ours.