Posted by: joshjasper | June 29, 2009

Role Model

As thousands mourn the loss of Coach Thomas, I find myself sharing the pain that so many feel. We have lost a role model that so many young men looked to for guidance.  In a time in which boys and men are in dire need of a positive influence, we have lost someone special.

Yet again another young man has inflicted violence that is hard to accept, but not to understand.

Understanding this type of violence includes an examination of not only the individual, but also the community itself.  If what we are teaching young boys contributes to, supports, and condones boys and men acting violently, then why are we horrified when these same young men achieve these self fulfilling prophecies?

To be clear, I do not excuse the deplorable behavior of Mark Becker.  I am simply challenging our community to broaden our responsibility.

As future reports come forth about the shooting in Parkersburg, we may rationalize this violence by convincing ourselves that Mark Becker is mentally ill, or that this incident was an anomaly.  Yet understanding such heinous violence lies more in better understanding how we socialize men, and how they cope with their emotions ineffectively.

We as men deserve better.  Young boys and men must be taught that feelings of anger, sadness, and loss must not be expressed through violence.  Teaching boys that “real men don’t cry” and to “act like a man” has become a recipe for disaster.

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