Msgr. Charles Pope’s ode-in-prose to his male mentors was half uplifting, half depressing for me. As wonderful as it is to read passages such as this:
I am grateful for these men who made such a difference in my life. My father too, though I was often stubborn with him, pointed the way.
If you’re raising children, don’t give up, don’t despair, and certainly don’t stop insisting or challenging. There were times in my teenage years when, if you saw me, you’d wonder how I ever got to be a priest. It did not look so good for a while, or that I’d amount to anything. But God sent men like these, and many others beside. And though I often balked, and was slow to learn, though I made mistakes, and did not always follow the sound advice I was given, I actually was listening. And, having been trained up in a godly way, I have not turned from it now that I am old(er).
Thank you Lord for these good men. Thank you for all those who showed me the way. Help me to do the same for others. And when I get discouraged Lord, help me remember that these men did not give up on me, and neither should I give up on those you send me. Thank you Lord. Thank you!
I can’t help but think about the millions of young men growing up in Girly Ghettos, where men are sparse and uninvolved.
Rampant single motherhood has driven men out of homes… then out of schools… then out of churches… then out of entire communities. As the sight of men with children becomes increasingly foreign, it has become natural for us to wonder about the nature of mentoring. The country’s rampant and ever-increasing homophilia, combined with our national pedophilia-obsession, means that we now view any male-to-male interaction in a sexual manner, and that goes double for relationships involving younger men.
Within our family men still play a strong role, and the Catholic Church still has male leadership, so we are lucky. But other than his male relatives and the priests, men are a complete no-show. He can pass them in the street, or see them drive by in their trucks, but that is about all. Men are increasingly an oddity; a bit of a freak-show.
Women are the norm, and boys are limited to measuring themselves against their mommy or mommies, which leads to effeminacy (emulating women) or machismo (doing the opposite of women), rather than the healthy and balanced masculinity that men once handed down to the youth. This is the precise opposite of the manner in which the sexes used to be separated and mommies were useful for figuring out what women are like.
My son’s catechism teacher, his gym coach, his school teachers, choir leader, his swim coach, his bus driver, etc. are all women. Every last one. Even our “mail man” is a “mail woman”. The only non-family man he interacts with is the milk delivery man, and I suppose it’s only a matter of time before men are driven out of that business, as well. There used to be a man next door whom he’d help with wood-chopping or playing with his dogs, but his wife has thrown him out, so he’s gone now too.
Just last week we received the following email plea from our local YMCA:
Right now there is a waiting list of children ages 6-18 looking for caring, responsible adults, especially men, to be Y mentors. Just two hours a week of your time is all we ask and all activities take place at a Y location. Help with homework, play games, read books, go swimming, or just talk and listen. Y mentors receive free training and support from Y staff and a free one-year membership to the Y. Being a mentor has never been easier or more rewarding!
There’s an overwhelming need for Y mentors, especially men. Please help make a positive difference in a young persons life.
You don’t say? Gee, I wonder how that shortage came about? You’ve come a long way, baby!
Too bad about the boys.