November 09, 2005

Worthy read

From Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Excerpt:

The American male is broken, and in his own brokenness, he is compromising his marriage and crippling his children. Immersed in a culture which is obsessed with success through competition, he is trained to forever feel like a failure. Rather than peering inside himself to discover his own unique gifts, he stares in front to see who has surpassed him, and behind, to see who is gaining on him.

The modern American male has little self-esteem and is a muddle of broken dreams. He lives in a society resembling not a circle, in which all are treated more or less as equals, but a pyramid, in which only a tiny few are perched at the top and the overwhelming majority are made to feel that they are at various stations of the bottom.

He is painfully aware that the recognition and respect of his peers will not come from assisting his kids with homework, or remaining faithful to his wife. All around him, the culture glorifies men who have built businesses even as they have abandoned wives, like Jack Welch and Donald Trump. Treating his co-workers with dignity will never bring him into the Forbes 400. Reading his children a bedtime story will not get him an invitation to the White House.
Bereft of inspiration, he fails to inspire his children. He does not parent them so much as admonish them. So they are reduced to searching for substitute heroes, and like him, they become TV addicts. The company of friends soon becomes far more fulfilling than their father's company, further isolating parent from child.

The great tragedy of this daily scenario is the fact that all along this man was a hero, only he never saw it. He got up every day to feed his children. He struggles with temptation, yet came home to his wife. But that never made him feel good about himself, because he bought the lie that a man is only important if he is rich or famous.

Read it all.

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