I am a strong advocate for men. Clearly and unambiguously so. This has nothing to do with being anti-feminist – it has to do with recognising a real and growing problem with our young guys. In most areas, pay especially, to me, pay difference based on our appendages is strange, wrong, but seemingly entrenched. This is not the point of the post.

We have a major problem with our boys – in the way we raise them, in the way we treat them. I live in New Zealand, and even here in our comparatively egalitarian society we are massively failing our little guys. This says nothing of the way other countries work, but things are kindof similar elsewhere if I’m reading it correctly.

Put simply – we hate our little dudes. I think in general they way we raise kids is to some degree questionable, but especially so in the case of boys. I actually hear and agree with a lot of feminists – our guys are indeed off the rails in a lot of areas. The causes however I could not be more at odds with them over. They blame our boys directly, and I blame the way we have raised them. Boys are taught that they are cannon fodder. Worthless and meaningless. Their video games are just about senseless slaughter and they sit and play them all day long – without a shred of enjoyment.

This is not how you raise kids.

This is how you feed kids into the organ grinder of an uncaring society. When we get mass shootings as a result, we throw our hands up and say how can this be – its pretty obvious how this can be. Our kids – boys and girls, need our love. Unconditionally. This needs to come before anything else. I dont subscribe to either side of the political field – but on the subject of family – I am distinctly conservative. I have a little girl of my own, and family is more important to me than anything else – family is the most core thing in my life.

Young lives are by definition somewhat difficult. They are finding their own path, challenging authority. No problem – its what they do. As thoughtful parents we realise that fact. Its when our kids don’t feel loved, when they don’t get listened to that the real problems start. I’ve heard of a trend in the US around letting kids (like under 10) make a lot of the decisions around the house. sorry, but seriously, that is not showing your kids love. That is just a wanton disregard for being a real parent. Your job as a parent is to call the shots. Does a general defer to his favourite little sergeant over where we bomb today?

The best answer – talk to these people. There is nothing more valuable than giving these guys, or anyone for that matter, your time. The time you give these people shows commitment. Just like money is good in business, time is good to show someone you actually care, and a continual engagement proves you do. And that is what our kids need.

Now, the flipside. There would be an instant chorus of hate for this schmaltzy story from most – there IS no time. And dont worry. I get that. Society seems rigged against us. Companies are downsizing to cut cost, and squeezing more and more out of who’s left. There never was a social contract between the corporate world and families, more so, the opposite view is held, that a corporation’s ultimate responsibility is to its shareholders and maximising profit, whatever the (social) cost. We can argue that all day, but the current trend is very clear – less staff, working harder, stagnant pay. Here in New Zealand, where we have a veil of egalitarianism, it is very much out of favour to raise any voice of complaint against what is ostensibly called the status quo. I say ostensibly because the “Status quo” keeps shifting, seemingly always in the favour of corporations. If you look closely at New Zealand employment law, there are no protections for New Zealand staff – if a company wants to bring someone in from overseas for a reduced rate, then the only thing stopping them is a very weakly enforced “Labour market test” – and that is rigged in the favour of the employer – because to challenge that you have to make a complaint – ie. it is reactive rather than proactive, and your head is above the trenches by that point. You’ll never work for that company again. In the US, all my friends say the situation is far worse. I only mention it because it recently happened to me – I designed most of the mobile network for a major city in NZ, a role came up in my old company, I knew all the guys, ticked all the boxes, except cost (and the hidden nepotism box) ergo – no job.

So what has this to do with our kids?

Less Certainty. Less time. Thats what. The less time we spend, the less opportunity to have a meaningful impact on their lives. Our boys, for all the tough acts we love to think they put on, seem to be the most susceptible to this. While we watch 300 and love to reminisce on our past glory, we need to be able to tell these guys in this age how much we love them. The importance of family *IS* and the lionesque appeal to rugged individualism *IS NOT* what is needed for survival in this modern environment.

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