T Nation

Raising Cain - Men At Risk.


Did anyone catch this program last night? (The "Men at risk" part wasn't part of the name, but it was the main theme)

I forget what channel it was on, but it was based on a book called, well, "Raising cain".

It was basically about men being at risk. I think I read an article around here before called "the war on boys" or something of that nature that this program reminded me of. It was two hours long, and basically explained why growing boys tend to worse than girls becuase of teachers/adults suppressing any activity that boys usually engage in.

In began with younger boys, in preschool and kindergarten. They went and showed how teachers took control of boys getting into little fights or scuffles in a regular, american preschool. The teacher just immediatly broke it up and told them it was wrong. But they then showed how the Japanese did it.. the teachers just let it happen, and eventually the kids worked it out between them, or just decided that they wren't going to interact with the people they fought with. Pretty interesting. There was more, but i wont go into a whole lot of detail about that part.

It then just followed up until high school, talking about pretty juch the same thing: any activity where boys just messed around with each other was construde as "bad". It also stressed the importance of boys having a strong male role-model to show them what it was to be a man, and helped show that by going to inner city's where many children dont have fathers.. many of these kids were very violent and in gangs,(which most people could probably conclude by themselves) becuase they had no idea what it really was to be a man, so they fought and did drugs to try and prove themselves.

Anyways, it made me think quite a bit. Being sixteen years old, I often question what it is to be a man myself. I could relate to the kids on the show, becuase many were caught in between being a child and an adult, and are confused as to what to do in certain situations to prove it.

So, I pose a question to all you guys out there.. what does it mean to you to be a "man"? What do you think changes boys to men? I'm curious to see what you guys say.

I often find myself thinking "what should I do in this kind of situation that would be the responsible, adult decision?". The majority of times I think this is about fighting. never been in a fight before. Many people tell me i'm just likable, and I guess that makes it not surprising that i'be never fought anyone. I don't really want to. But when, do you guys, consider it's okay to hit someone? I'm stuck between two realms of thought; one being "Don't take any crap from people and make sure they know you're serious", or "Just walk away and ignore it". Never been in this situation, but i've always been curious as to whats the "right" thing to do.

Anyways, that was a lot of rambling, sorry. I guess it's two questions in one, but, either respond to both or one, it's fine with me. thanks for the time. : ) I suggest finding this program if you can, its teo hours long, and very interesting.


being a man is making the correct decision in reacting to something. sometimes the right reaction is to hit someone, sometimes it is not. depends on the situation.

as far as when a boy becomes a man. hell if i know. i thought i was quite a man in college but i was nothing but a full grown booze hound with no sense whatsoever. i was technically a man but i acted like a kid.

now im 32 and i know that the more i learn the more questions i have. but to be able to pick a single act or day that changed me from acting like an idiot to being responsible for my actions would have to be when i decided to enlist in the army.

i would have to say that was the day i decided to take charge of my life. i looked at all my friends and myself. we worked and got drunk. each one of us was college educated and irresponsible. we drank like madmen, chased tail nonstop, and party'd like there was no tomorrow. definately not the road i wanted to continue to follow. so i joined the army to get away from it. went enlisted instead of officer like my father and g-father before me. learned from some damn fine soldiers who had been doing it before me and wanted to make sure i had the chance to impact young mens lives the way my leaders impacted mine. now as the men i mentored leave the army each one of them maintains contact with me and thanks me for taking such an interest in there lives and doing my best to make sure they returned from combat. each one returned from afghanistan im proud to say and served or continues to serve honorably passing on the things i learned and the things i taught them.

so if you want to be a man go join the army. choose infantry because all those other jobs are just there to support you. go airborne, ranger you name it. learn everything you can and then go special forces. you will be made into a man you can like and be proud of.


This question may very well open up a whole can of worms, as most of us may have a different definition of what being a man is and that defintion may change at various points of our life.

Anatomicaly, we all know what being a man is. Let's see how many dick jokes come across on this thread... But what about the guy who survived testicular cancer, or the war veteran who had their genitals blown off? They don't fit the anatomical definition, but it takes courage and guts to be in their shoes.

I think being a man ultimately means taking responsibility for yourself, and facing the reality of things whether you like it or not. You messed up, 'be a man' and face the consequences. Your girlfriend dumped you, 'be a man', stop pouting and move on.

When I was younger, I thought being a man had a lot to do with being tough. You know, the ass kicking, womanizing guy. As I get older, I realize that this is not so. I admire the guy who chases tail less, and appreciate the guy who stays faithful to his wife. That same guy who looked goofy to me years ago, well now I realize he was wearing that funny shirt because his kid bought it for him. That guy doesn't care about looking tough, he cares that his kids are smiling and provided for.

Being "the man" and being "a man" are two different things in my mind. 'The man' has to do with impressing others or controlling others; such as your hero (Peyton Manning is the man), your boss (I got called in to go see the  man), or an authority figure (Damn the man!). Being a man, you don't care what others think, and it is not controlling others, but controlling yourself

Now, I won't elaborate, but you also have to consider, what is a T-Man?

Good luck with your answers. If I were to give you any advice, it is a 16 years old, strive to be the best man you can be.


Thanks a lot for the reply's guys, very informative. Gave me something to think about, that's for sure.


being a man... i think it means "do what must be done, also if it hurts" and "often the the right think is what you would not do"


The feminist agenda has done well in convincing society that men need to be more "feminized", more in touch with their "feminine side". Remember the time when men were men and women were just happy with it. Just watch tv, men are shown as a bunch of lust driven fools, and women as assertive, smart, etc. I guess the brainwashing of our society works.

When our kids get into fights we should ask them how that made them feel, bull!!! The man instinct tells them "go hit them back", sorry for the rant guys, I'm just so fed up with the brainwashing of America.


This is how it works in hockey. It's a potentially very dangerous sport and fighting is a method of self regulation. The linesmen generally let the guys fight until they wear out or fall and that let's the guys get it out of their system in a relatively safe way rather than much more dangerous cheap shotting during plays.


Medic hit it on the head right here. There's not much else I can add other than it also means not being afraid to take responsibility for others as well as for yourself.

And yes, the military is often a fast path to manhood. I know it helped me a great deal and I already had a great example in my father and grandfathers (all of them what you would call "old school").



An interesting question and some thoughtfull responses.
Being 30, i still think i'm a kid - don't feel much more different than when i was 18 or so. Except now i'm a bit more sure of myself. I think being a man comes down to taking responsibility as discussed, but in conjunction with thinking ahead to the consequences of an action or inaction.

Another thought is; there is no rite of passage for "westerner" males, and this i think may be part of the problem.
At least women have menstruation and breast development to aid in the changing mindset from juvienile (sp?) to adult.

A few yrs ago on local tv a bunch of juve. criminals were taken on an extended camping trip in a mountain range. The kids had to develop trust, moutaineering and survival skills as well as communication, cooperation and various life skills; and all of them grew as people and matured within a 2week time period. You could say this sort of action would bring the man out of the kid.


"Bringing up Boys" by James Dobson is a good read on this subject.

The day my son was born, was the day I became a man. Not because I could procreate, but because I realized all the things I wanted to give and teach to him, and that I was very few of those things. He is 11 now and a fine young man. His Daddy is also a better man for knowing him.