Boys Don’t Automatically Become Men!

From the September 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Ambitious, confident boys have become a vanishing breed.

Our society is certainly producing a lot of assertive, self-assured young women. Throughout the English-speaking world, they are storming college campuses and flooding the workforce. More and more, they are leaving boys in their dust.

This trend emerges early: in the female-dominated world of elementary school. There, 90 percent of the teachers are women; many schools are staffed completely by women. Governments acknowledge that boys lag in reading and writing—in New Zealand, for example, two times more 10-to-12-year-old boys than girls require remedial reading help—but efforts to narrow the gap haven’t worked.

By secondary school, grades, test scores and graduation rates all show girls outperforming boys by noticeable margins. In the U.S., nearly twice as many boys as girls repeat a grade. Only two out of three boys finish high school.

Women also dominate higher education. They outnumber men on America’s college campuses almost three to two. Last spring in America, women earned almost 149 degrees for every 100 degrees men earned. They dominate men at every level, from associate’s (167 for every 100 men) to doctoral degrees (107 for every 100 men).

College enrollment officers are scratching their heads, trying to puzzle out how to attract a greater number of qualified men. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has launched a probe to scrutinize whether colleges are actually discriminating against women by lowering male admissions standards. “In some circles, it still is not cool to be smart for boys,” laments one enrollment official at Rutgers.

For 28 years running, more women have received college degrees than men, and the gap has widened every year. This year’s U.S. Census figures revealed that all told, more American women than men now hold undergraduate degrees. Women have also pulled even with men in advanced degrees, and could pass them this year.

These numbers represent a cultural sea change. The education system is society’s incubator. Today’s students are tomorrow’s workers, spouses, parents. And the educational disparity between the sexes is fueling a revolution in traditional sex roles.

As the Prophet Isaiah foretold, strong men, wise men, honorable men are all gone! And society is ruled by women and children (Isaiah 3:4-5, 12). Increasing numbers of boys have no clue how to be men.

It is common to see grown boys who have cultivated no drive or ambition, no moral conviction, no ability or even desire to lead, and no bodily strength. They have few salable skills and a poor work ethic. They haven’t been taught any sense of honor toward women or responsibility toward children, nor of duty to provide for or protect them.

Meanwhile, more and more successful women are struggling to find men who are “at their level” educationally and financially. Surveying the singles scene, they’re having to ask themselves, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, “Am I willing to ‘marry down’?” Some women lament that men feel threatened by their achievements and simply won’t enter a relationship. This has contributed to an increasing number (a 145 percent rise in the last 30 years in the U.S.) of unmarried births among college-educated women, some of whom have simply grown impatient with looking for Mr. Right.

The education gap has also helped to flip the traditional family of a breadwinning father and homemaking mother on its head. Only one in five American families with children has a working dad and stay-at-home mom. The majority of America’s workforce is now female. In fact, nearly 40 percent of moms are their family’s primary breadwinner. “Now the standard working woman is a married woman with children,” says UCLA women’s history professor Ellen DuBois.

In the UK, almost half of women earn as much or more than the men in their lives. More than 600,000 British fathers are “homedads” whose wives or girlfriends bring home the bacon. The trend looks nearly identical in Canada and Australia. In general, today’s men spend over twice as much time on housework as their fathers did.

“How do you manage not to emasculate your husband?” a Telegraph reporter asked a friend who out-earns her husband. “I don’t manage,” was the answer. “If we disagree about how money is spent, I decide because it’s my money, and he hates it.”

This tendency has been aggravated by the global economic crisis, which has particularly rocked male-dominated industries. In America, of the 8 million jobs lost since September 2008, somewhere north of three fourths were held by men. Where unemployment among women is 7.8 percent, the figure for men is 9.9 percent.

Statistics suggest, however, that men are settling into their diminished role as providers. “The idea that men see themselves as breadwinners is collapsing,” says Rob Williams of the UK’s Fatherhood Institute. One short generation ago, 72 percent of men believed a man should provide his family’s primary income and a woman should be the family’s primary caretaker and homemaker. Today only 42 percent of men believe that.

It’s a shame. Because those traditional roles were not arbitrarily concocted by a primitive society. They were assigned by the Being who created human beings and made them male and female. We ignore proper, God-given sex roles at our peril. An understanding and wholehearted embracing of the God-ordained roles for men and women is a vital key to success.

A man’s divinely ordained responsibilities include leading, protecting, providing for and loving his family. By failing to educate our boys to embrace these duties as men, we are dooming them to perpetual adolescence and depriving them of the genuine satisfaction that comes from fulfilling their potential. Worse, we are striking a mortal blow to the stability of our families and our society.