Throughout the majority of my adolescent years I played sports so that I could have a conversation with my dad and to gain his approval of me being man enough to be his son. Even though I was blessed to reach the pinnacle of football and play in the NFL, I would say it came at the expense of having a genuine loving relationship with my dad.
I want my son to experience love, respect and support. I want him to be able to be his authentic self. I want him to be free to express his manhood however he feels most appropriately represents him. With intention and dedication, I can give him that at home. Outside the walls of the loving, supportive home we strive to create and maintain, I rely on the men and boys in our community.
I wondered would people treat me differently if they knew my flaws, failures and pain. After all, I had never been authentic before. I always wore the correct mask for the situation.
The evolution of masculinity has also brought us to a place where men are engaging in different roles and activities at home.
Society has authored a very incomplete story about manhood. That story shaped mine and served as the genesis for a very critical part of my identity – of my manhood.
I am commonly asked by fathers: how do I explain what’s going on with #MeToo and all these high-profile cases of sexual harassment and assault to the boys and young men in my life?
I’m often faced with the same question: “how do we begin to undo 18+ years of socialization and shift an entire culture of male domination on campus?”
Out west, we have a variation on “Man Up.” I hear, and have often said, “Cowboy Up.”