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Just a Guy Wanting His Sons to be Men

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Does anyone remember when men were men -- when boys looked up to their fathers and other men and wanted to be just like them in their "manly ways"?

father with his two sons

Bruce Sallan: Now, with elementary education completely hijacked by women, there's been a systematic change in how boys are educated and raised. When is the last time you saw a male teacher in elementary school? Do you really think the self-esteem movement has done anything but diminish any real accomplishments?

Why are boys dropping out of high school at a much greater rate than girls? Why is the percentage of young men entering college now substantially less than young women? Why are boys in elementary school made to read books about subjects that are clearly of a female nature or subject vs. the books they would organically choose to read?

I heard a very wise woman, Alison Armstrong, on a talk show explain that men weren't being feminized as much as they were being emasculated. And, in other ways, women were being taught not to use their feminine skills and assets, but to be more masculine. Both sexes lose with this approach.

Our differences should be celebrated, not changed. Shame, for both genders, was an established societal tool that helped determine behavior, as the risk of being shamed was deemed undesirable. Shame no longer exists. I think both sexes are weakened by these changes. I worry for my boys. But, what do I know? After all, I'm just a guy.


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50 comments so far | Post a comment now
susan October 31, 2009, 10:09 PM

If you want your sons to be men, and look up to their dad, then be a man worth looking up to (which I am sure you are.) Don’t blame women. Real men don’t blame women.

Mamimi November 1, 2009, 6:32 AM

I agree with Bruce 100%. I just long for the days when kids were what they were, when only the kids who won got trophies, and when kids were encouraged to try harder in order to succeed instead of being told that they’re winners all the time and for very little effort.

Anonymous November 1, 2009, 8:50 AM

kids are weenies these days

sara d November 1, 2009, 5:19 PM

seriously susan can it!


loved this bruce

Sara November 2, 2009, 4:28 AM

Bravo! Yes…it is very challenging for boys and we are losing our boys because of it. It’s not just that there aren’t enough strong male teachers, in elementary school, there is a lack of strong, “man” role models at all ages. However, it does seem the tide is changing a bit. Thanks for your efforts here!

Julie November 2, 2009, 6:41 AM

Hmm - I find the comment about women hijacking elementary school and male grade school teachers quite odd and inaccurate. I’ve discussed this with my friends, our mothers and grandmothers and none of these generations have ever had male elementary school teachers. Men in the elementary field has always been rare - they typically go for older age groups - high school and college. So while the reading materials may have changed in your child’s school it has nothing to do with a lack of male teachers that has ALWAYS existed.

Sonnie November 2, 2009, 10:39 AM

I have found that my daughter does much better in classes that have male teachers. They are the only ones that seem to get her dry sense of humor.

deaddrift November 2, 2009, 4:06 PM

@Julie: I agree. I can recall exactly ONE male teacher from my elementary years. @ The author, Bruce: I find myself questioning the ‘masculinity’ of your own education, based on what I have seen in this article and your subsequent responses to other posters. You made a number of assertions of fact, without documenting those statements. When other posters challenged you to provide sources, you refused, but reiterated your accusations, based solely on your feelings or perceptions. It seems to me that a rational, unemotional response (i.e., a ‘traditionally male’ response) to this situation would be to DOCUMENT the declining male presence in elementary schools, the “hijacking” of education by women, the prevention of boys selecting their own reading material, etc. None of those things are true in my experience, and I am both a male teacher and the father of a son in public school.

Or you could just man up and admit that you are talking out your a$$.

Meg November 2, 2009, 5:13 PM

The problem with our educational system goes beyond a blog. Yes the word hijacked is strong and honestly I don’t agree with it, but instead of flipping out on Bruce maybe we should flip out on the people who have control over our declining educational system for ALL children.

Denise November 2, 2009, 9:01 PM

To Deaddrift - first of all, what sort of man hides behind a lame name like that? Bruce is writing a blog; not an academic thesis which requires footnotes and a bibliography. Yipes, get a life and look who is really a man? Bruce who puts his face and name out there while you, DD, criticize from the anonymity of your computer. I think Bruce is right on and you’re the one that is full of it. And, in my experience, the changes have been EXACTLY as described in his blog. Schools are overly feminized, hurting both boys and girls. I have one of each and I know from experience. Anyway, we love you Bruce and we realize this is a blog! A Blog. An opinion. With your name and photo attached. I say you’re the man. Keep it up and thanks.

Chrissy November 2, 2009, 11:18 PM

Dear Susan,
You are so right. Men abandoned teaching. (As well as their families)
Both my parensts are retired school teachers.
For the last 20 years of my father’s career is male freinds berated him for continuing to be a teacher. They thought he should leave for a better/more prestigous job.
I can tell many of my friends’ parents as well as my parents’ friends who were divocred the father basically stopped their involvement with their kids when the re-married. Not all but most did.

Anita (England) November 3, 2009, 2:12 AM

Oh dear, you Americans really get yourselves all worked up! Here, in England, our teachers work to the national curriculum and ‘both’ boys and girls ‘must’ reach their targets. And I have to say, the teachers work extremely hard to see that they do – to a point of exhaustion, put on them by the government – and the ‘Parent Teachers Association’ (in all schools) meet regularly to come up with ideas to keep the children motivated and happy. For instance, my little boy’s school openly encourage dads to work with their sons and set up a workshop called, ‘Dads and Lads’. Every Saturday, a Dad takes his son(s) into school and does Dad and son things – it’s proved a great success. Also, the school runs after school clubs – run by the teachers – which are geared at boys or girls, or boys and girls (and a breakfast club so that early to work parents can go to work happy that their child is eating breakfast). But I think the reason you will find a higher women to men ration teachers in ‘first, middle and high schools’ is that from an early age, girls want to be teachers. Why is this? Simple, boys live with computers and high technology and therefore, when grown up, they want to work in that area – or be a police officer or a fire fighter etc. Teaching isn’t a ‘fashionable’ profession for boys. It’s not until a child reaches college or university that you will find more men teachers, and that is because professors and their specialised field are usually based there. So, instead of whingeing, America, actively work with your teachers more.

deaddrift November 3, 2009, 6:21 AM

Name, address, and photo, Denise? Did you forget them?

boys are the new girls November 3, 2009, 7:52 AM

It’s not just schools were boys have been “man downed” but in our society as a whole. Boys today have become whiny, crying little girls. That was boy don’t grow up to be manly and responsible.

Anita (England) November 3, 2009, 7:56 AM

Mmm – deaddrift! Is that some flotsam and jetsam thing? You know – dead driftwood… Bruce and I blog for the same papers back in England. Today, I received praise from my editor for my blog on antisocial behaviour, which I think gives me voice to say, ‘What are you talking about?’ I think what Bruce does is put forward an opinion which merits healthy discussion. I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with that. What I do have a problem with is people taking a stab at the writer rather than addressing the issue in question. Maybe if you did address issues better, then you wouldn’t have the problems you do. It’s as I said earlier, boys don’t choose the teaching profession because it is not seen as fashionable. Also, some children can be most difficult to handle, and those witnessing their behaviour know that they would never want to be at the receiving end of future difficult to handle children. You say Bruce should ‘man up’ – I think you should ‘man up’, and start by using your name and not hiding behind a silly a pseudonym like deaddrift – or Mr Drift Wood!

mindy  November 3, 2009, 9:23 AM

thanks for a great article….
I concur ~ and, i love alison armstrong : )

David November 3, 2009, 11:34 AM

Bruce is making some solid observations. I consulted the National Education Association’s website and there it is reported that about 10% of the nation’s elem. sch. teachers are males. I am a male and taught elem. sch. from about 1978-‘81 in South-Central L.A. for the L.A. Public School System. In my last assignment, I seem to recall there were about 8-10 male teachers out of a very large faculty (the school had about 1,800 students, very large). We were more often than not appreciated for being able to bring some male energy into the classroom. Many of the pupils had few if any flesh-and-blood (as opposed to media) male role models except us. I don’t know what it’s like nowadays. I think words like “hijacked” and some others don’t really help us understand the nature or extent of a very complex situation. I also am not sure what connections one may make of the heavy concentration of exposure to female adults in elem. sch. and, in various academic dimensions, lower rates of performance by males. Still, I think that there could be something unsettling, if not sinister, about what’s hapepning.

deaddrift November 3, 2009, 5:35 PM

Hi Anita! My, you English are so cool and detached, aren’t you! Sorry dear, did I miss your last name, and other identifying details? I’m sure it was a simple oversight.

Perhaps you are right that my comment to Bruce was too personal… but if you’ll read it again I think you’ll find that at its base it is a substantive challenge to the author to produce some evidence for his claims. The excuse (and it IS an excuse, not a valid reason) that this is “just a blog post” makes no sense on the internet, where inline hyperlinks to documentary information are the very name of the game. IF things are as bad as Bruce claims — and I disagree that they are — then there SHOULD be easily accessible online supporting evidence. That’s my point. You yourself say “boys don’t choose the teaching profession,” but you have now heard from two male teachers on this very thread.

Personally, I think Susan is the only person posting here that has anything worth saying or reading, and I include you, Bruce, and myself in that assessment. Anyway, I’m done.

FYI, “dead drift” is a fly-fishing term. I’ve used it as an internet handle for years, and I’m not about to stop because another anonymous poster has issues with it.

deaddrift November 3, 2009, 5:39 PM

On rereading I would also like to commend nance for her insightful comments.

Anita (England) November 4, 2009, 2:27 AM

I do know that dead drift is a fly-fishing term – my dad was an excellent angler and I spent many a Sunday afternoon with him doing what he loved. That is why I felt I could manipulate the term. I still stand by what I say that boys don’t choose the teaching profession. Twenty years back, yes, but not today. It’s not sort fashionable. And why put yourself in a classroom of hard to teach children when you can do something less stressful? I’m not sure what American high schools are like, but English high schools have their fair share of some very tough cookies, and working with them is most difficult. I actually applaud the English teachers. Not only are they dedicated, most approachable, but also they work extremely hard. I have an autistic child. I cannot thank them enough for all their help and support in making sure my little boy gets the very best education he can. And because of their dedication, he is doing very well and is a happy little boy. Oh, and personally, I don’t give a monkey if you think I don’t have anything to say worth saying – you are a minority.


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