What is 21st century masculinity?


I recently have been wondering to myself what exactly it means to be male anymore. For myself but also for my boys and for my male students. The image of masculinity has been challenged and changes so many times that I don’t even know what it means which is ironic because we are now encouraged to challenge our children to decide their own gender and then embrace that decision but at 37 I can’t tell you clearly what it means anymore. So what do I do about it? Sounds like it’s time for an adventure!!!

I am going to embark on a journey to try to make sense of masculinity in 21st century america. I feel like maleness is under attack. I hear all the time about how privileged my gender is. I hear conflicting messages about expectations for men. The images we consume about masculinity are various and nebulous. It’s time I try to figure it out.

If you’re also interested in what it means to be a man and what masculinity means nowadays then stay tuned or better yet, engage in this journey with me and perhaps together we can make sense of things. It is a confusing time and it seems that having any confidence in masculinity is seen as aggressive and wrong, but it cannot be accepted that there is entirely something wrong with a whole gender. I reject that sentiment and I’m looking forward to exploring masculinity and defining what it means for me and my boys. Cheers!


The Love!

Glad I got them white boards for their rooms! ❤️


Super Dad Kenley Jansen

Love this shot! Great player loving his son!




It’s that time of year. It is always a very stark contrast. I can identify the exact day that seniors reject more learning and try to coast their way to the end. This year, it was Tuesday. I had only one lesson left in this unit of economics. It was the easiest of them all and all they had to do was have a discussion with me then take some notes from a 40 minute video. I couldn’t have made the lesson any easier. They still didn’t want it. Talking rather than engaging, playing with their phones, putting heads down. It was the day the learning died. They were done. I don’t fight it too much because I know they’ll win. I could make demands, threats and scream and yell, but I embraced a long time ago that if a person doesn’t want to learn, they won’t. These students didn’t want to learn.

I also know that when we get close to the last day of the semester and seniors finally remember that if they don’t pass my class, and some others, they won’t actually graduate, and so the scramble to get their grades up will begin. They will beg, plead, cry and do anything they can for mercy and a passing grade. Some will even do some work!

It’s frustrating as a teacher but it is the same thing every year and we are finally there. Senioritis has taken hold of the class of 2018. We had a good run guys. It’s been fun.



I have a number of memories as a child that shaped who I am and sadly, a number of disappointments. In many ways, the failures of my parents have helped me to be a better father because I refuse to make similar mistakes. One of them seemed simple and it didn’t really occur to me until much later that my father failed at something very simple.

Despite of my amazing beard now, like any boy, I once was baby faced and smooth chinned. The horrible and frustrating process of puberty changed that of course, and eventually hairs sprouted on my face. No one really said anything about it but then one day, my dad plopped down a can of shaving cream and a package of disposable razors. He didn’t say any words to me. He didn’t teach me how to shave; just handed me the tools and left.

As you may imagine, I spent the next several years hacking up my face. I even remember telling my mom that I was excited because I decided to save time and shave in the shower; blind. She gasped and told me to never do that again. No explanation, didn’t have my father show me or teach me anything about shaving at that point either. Just a strong warning to not shave in the shower.

It wasn’t until I was in the army and many years older, that my roommate gave me some shaving advice when it became a burden to me because I had to shave every day and was still cutting my face so bad it would bleed. Years later I realized that it was definitely my dad’s job to show his only son how to shave and he just…didn’t. I still don’t get it. I know this though, I will absolutely show my son’s how to do something that they will likely do hundreds if not thousands of times in their lives. It’s my responsibility as their father.


Keeping Promises

I messed up a little then salvaged it. I’m not going to beat myself up over it too much because it worked out fine, but still, I should have known better. Sometimes being a dad and running a household gets exhausting and the constantly having dishes to wash and laundry to do and then getting ready for the next day can cause me to get very task oriented. It works but I sometimes miss things. I missed one the other day.

My youngest boys wanted me to read to them again. I had put it off a couple times. I shouldn’t have to be honest. It was easier, but I should have taken the time. Then at bed time, Landon once again asked me to read to him. I blew him off casually and went down stairs to clean up. The youngest followed me and told me his brother was sad because I didn’t read to him again. My heart broke. I knew I had messed up.

I immediately went upstairs and climbed up into their bunk bed and explained that I was wrong. I told them that I promised to read to them and it is important to keep promises. I apologized then read a chapter to them. They loved it, I loved it. Kisses and then goodnight.

Note to self, model good behavior and take the few minutes to read to my kids. The dishes can wait.


The Struggle

It was a rough week teaching. All the joys were there as usual but this week I had to grapple with the struggle. Without going into details about a couple students, I was reminded that many of our young people are carrying tremendous burdens. Many are picking up the slack when parents fall short. Many see things they shouldn’t. Hear things they shouldn’t. Many are dealing with adult problems as children ill equipped to handle the stress and anxiety that come with them. Many have the weight of the world on them. Most are surviving.

I am impressed, even while my heart breaks, that in spite of all the obstacles, most are getting to school, getting good grades, making friends and participating in sports. Most of them have found ways to cope. My hope is that I can help equip them to cope a little better, manage the stress in healthy ways and know that they have help when they need it. They are not alone in their struggle.

I’m glad I can help in whatever small way I am able, I wish they didn’t have to carry so much so young. They are strong, they are able and they are surviving. I’m proud of them.

because every child needs a hero

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