I have been reading a book called "Why Men Hate Going to Church". It's very good. The church I work for strives to be a man-friendly place--which is to say--not too feminine, not too safe, too soft, or too touchy-feely. We have work to do on this, but it is one of our specific goals.
At any rate, one of the things the book mentions is that boys follow men, not religion. And, I believe this is true. It's one of the reasons single-parent homes struggle with leadership issues when it comes to raising teenage boys. And, it's one of the reasons I am very committed to attracting men to our Treasure Island Kids experience...I want the boys to have men to follow. This is not sexist. This is not "old-school". This is just social anthropology.
As an example, last night I encouraged Wylie to pick up a book we bought about a boy named Avi and the battle between the Merrimac and Monitor during the civil war. Now, I got this book (and I do have quite a bit of the male-warrior spirit in me), but my suggestion last night that he start reading it was not what ultimately got him to begin doing so.
It was his father's interest.
Tim is a manly man. He's a pilot. He is an athlete. He is big and strong (and handsome!). And, he maintains an interest in a lot of very cool stuff. One of the things he was interested in as a boy was the Monitor and and the Merrimac. So, Tim starts talking about the subject....
Wylie is all in. He conquered five chapters of the book in one sitting because his dad engaged him on the subject.
Boys follow men.
It stands to reason if we want our sons (or any boys) to follow after a particular set of ideals, philosophies, or beliefs, we better find some men who cling to those and encourage our boys to follow them.