Today at the Huffington Post, there is a post written by Tom Matlack more or less pointing out 25 things he wants his boys to know. I was intrigued by the title, as I do enjoy lists such as this and as a fan of the Art of Manliness, I am always interested in learning more things that maybe I have forgotten or just never knew.
Unfortunately, he gets a few things wrong. So, here are my comments in bold and italic on the things that he got wrong.
1. It’s harder to take a punch than to throw one.
2. Find the people who make you laugh and follow them around like a golden retriever. Laughing is like a vitamin. You can never get enough of it.
As important as it is to have friends that make you laugh, it is also equally important if not more so to have friends that are always there for you, and are willing to build you up as a person. Someone who builds you up and challenges you to become a better person is a good friend, and these are the people you want to surround yourself with. Sure, Robin Williams can be funny from time to time (when he’s not being crude), but I wouldn’t want to follow the guy around just because I get an occasional chuckle.
3. A guy who hugs a lot is comfortable in his own skin.
This is a great point. I think men need to learn to hug a bit more. Now, I’m not saying that as a guy you should be going around and hugging all the men you encounter, but if you have a really good friend who happens to be a guy, well, hug away.
4. Read poetry.
Poetry rocks and should be read more.
5. There’s nothing wrong with looking at porn, but having sex with someone you care about is a thousand times more fun.
No. Just no. There is many things wrong with porn. Pornography teaches men to objectify women. It completely removes the act of self-giving love from sexual intimacy and teaches him that sex is about HIS pleasure and that she is to be used in order for this pleasure to be achieved. Pornography also completely cuts yourself off from God’s love and completely hardens your heart. Not to mention that it is completely addictive and the images generally become engraved in his head until the day he dies. It causes high expectations on your spouse and generally often will lead to him wanting to do degrading sexual practices on her to imitate what he has seen. She will feel used and lusted after and will NOT want anything to do with him. Secondly, would you say the same things to your daughter(s)? How about your wife? What makes it perfectly acceptable for boys to do it and not girls? I’m assuming a bit here, but I have noticed a general attitude where its okay for boys to do these things, but “if my daughter does it…”. Sexist much?
I do agree with the 2nd half of his statement, except it should be your spouse and it would be infinitely more better and fun.
6. When you feel like crying, for joy or out of pain, let ‘er rip. If you don’t get those tears out, they will calcify in your chest and make it harder to love as fully and deeply as you would like to.
Agreed. Crying is not a sign of weakness, but shows that you are indeed human. The old saying of men don’t cry is a load of crap and needs to be thrown away.
7. Crank the tunes when you have to clean the house.
8. Look deeply into the eyes of the one you are falling for to get a glimpse of his or her soul.
It surprises me that you are not expecting your son to be straight. I understand that you may not know and he could end up this way, but at least guide him properly. You as his father demonstrate actions to your son. The words you give him will have a lasting impact on his life.
9. Spend a chunk of time every year with people who are much less fortunate than you are. It will fill your heart with gratitude.
Yes, this is important and I fear that many Catholics as well as Christians don’t do this enough. Volunteering also has its health benefits.
10. Never lie about anything really important. The first lie will cause you to have to lie again and again to cover up the truth. And each time you’ll chip away an important piece of yourself.
How about don’t lie? He’s right that it will hurt you but how about don’t lie period?
11. Find work that makes you happy. If you can change the world in the process all the better.
12. If you get the chance to travel across the country or across the globe, take it. You will learn way more from people who are different from you than the ones who are the same.
Having traveled to the Eastern Caribbean, I have to completely agree with this statement. I didn’t think I would learn anything from the people down there, but I did. I’m going to comment more on this on my post regarding my honeymoon within the week or two.
13. Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing. But you are going to make mistakes. Tons of them. The real question is what you will learn from them.
14. Don’t be in any rush to get married. Divorce really sucks. A good marriage can start when you’re 21 or 61.
15. There’s nothing wrong with a Cuban cigar once in a while.
16. Money and power look good, but they won’t fill your being with joy the way your family will.
17. If you like guys, I will fight for your ability to have equal rights in every way.
Again, why are you even giving them this option? This is something that should be addressed at the time that they come out, IF they ever do. Secondly, just because they are your kids, doesn’t mean that their behavior is right. I will admit it, pre-marital sex is wrong. In fact it is a mortal sin. I will cover all the mortal sins regarding sexuality when I get back into my mortal sin series, but the point still remains. When your children do things immoral, you don’t have to back them for it. You also don’t need to fight for their equal rights. We as a society have come to the conclusion that if something is illegal and someone is struggling with this vice, that instead of helping them overcome this vice, we picket and rally until the act becomes legal. This is a travesty and we need to stop doing this. You have your faults. You know what they are, and you know how much you struggle with your faults. You wouldn’t want anyone else to bare that cross, so why make other acts that people struggle with legal?
18. Find a way to move your body that gives you pleasure. You don’t have to be an athlete to be a man, but your body is a temple and you need to care for it, enjoy it, and use it to express yourself.
Yes, this also includes not doing immoral acts with it… Keep your body healthy as well as your soul.
19. Drinking can be fun in moderation. Just make sure to ask for help if you find yourself blacking out or doing things you regret.
If you are blacking out and doing things you are going to regret, 1. You will not know it, it is too late. 2. YOU ARE NOT DRINKING IN MODERATION. Moderation is when you are in control over your actions and are not letting it get to you. You are at the point of drunkenness. How about you tell your sons that they should be careful when they drink?
20. Radical honesty will get you very far in this world. Most people don’t have the guts to speak their mind, regardless of the consequences.
21. Always give your spouse birthday presents in bed.
22. Find a spirituality that you can wear like a loose coat that keeps you warm no matter the weather. God should provide you comfort not make you feel ashamed of yourself.
Spirituality and God don’t always fall within the same sentence. Buddhists do not believe in God, yet this is a spirituality. Frankly, if you are wearing it like a loose coat, then you aren’t really practicing, nor believing your faith. It is just kind of a side thing that you do for convenience. Secondly, God does provide comfort to us. He also challenges us to become a better person each and every day. You should feel ashamed as there are things that God has told us not to do, that indeed are not good for us. You know the part above where you mentioned he should ask for help so he doesn’t do things he regrets? What feeling is it that causes that regret? Is it shame? We are to a point where we no longer challenge each other. Jesus has been reduced to as a man who “didn’t condemn nobody and taught us to be more compassionate and understanding and accepting”. This is half truth and half bull. Jesus did come to teach us these things, but He also told the prostitute to SIN NO MORE. He taught that you shouldn’t harm people because of their sins, because you too have sin, but more importantly that you should STOP sinning. If you’re going to quote scripture, make sure you include the parts that you don’t like as well.
23. Sex is great but holding your spouse in the middle of the night is one of the best feelings any guy can have.
24. Live passionately. Dream big. Don’t back down.
25. Always remember I love you, no matter what happens. You cannot lose me. I will always be there.
I didn’t comment on everything because for the most part I have to agree. I figured the things that needed correction were more important. From a secular point of view, this is a really well written article that completely summarizes how men should live today, but, it is lacking in substance when you really break it apart.