Somewhere around teenage, almost all boys switch from "My Dad can beat your Dad" to "My Dad is an idiot" (that is, if their father is still around at that point). Disillusioned when they discover he is not in fact superhuman, they reject their father, and especially his advice. (Actually I know a certain eight-year-old boy who doesn't give much credence to his father's advice already). This is crunch time in the maturing of a boy: there MUST be alternate males for him to learn from and use as role models.
If there are not older males around, then he turns to his peers for his value set, role models, advice and education. The result is Lord of the Flies. It can spiral down into Columbine or heroin, Goths or gang warfare, music as a cult or nihilism.
This is a simple explanation for a wide range of social woes. In the Western world it explains delinquency. Nuclear and mobile families (no grandfathers, uncles and older cousins around), rising school-leaver ages, and the demise of Scouting, sport and compulsory military training, mean that boys are left to their own devices. So they get their frame of reference from each other.
Sometimes they also get it from the wrong adults who step into the void: advertisers, movie-makers, game designers, rock stars, perverts. In the Islamic world, psychopathic extremists poison vulnerable young minds into terrorism under the guise of fundamentalist religious teaching. All over the world, criminal gangs recruit drifting boys.
It is not my idea. I am a follower of the ideas of Steve Biddulph, a New Zealander who nailed the problem of "Raising Boys". He would probably not support many of my political positions - I don't know because he is in no way associated with this site. I just think the man has solved one of the primary issues of modern society and his teachings do not get half the attention they deserve.
Read "Raising Boys", Jack. It is in the bookshelf. Your Mum woke to find me sitting in bed at 2am, crying as I read this book. It answered a lot of questions for me about my youth and may save you from generating your own. While you are at it, read Manhood too.
And for heaven's sake find yourself a few good men to hang out with. Whatever the context (fishing, tramping, racing, model-making, music...) make sure they're guys who have their own act reasonably together OK? If they came up through a male-less adolescence they may not be much better than your own mates. So if they're weird loners, or out of their heads, riddled with body piercings, into violence, can't sustain a relationship with a woman... ask yourself if these are role models that will get you where you want to be.
It is harder to find men in the modern world. Many are afraid to let you near because of the pedophilia-hysteria consuming Westerners right now. (Which perversely means that you need to watch those who do a bit more as they are now statistically a bit more likely to want to know you for the wrong reasons. The world is a screwy place innit?: the media frenzy about this problem actually increases the probability of it by driving good men away). But it can be done:
- St Johns trains you in first aid, you get to hang around ambulances and see some blood and gore, you get right up by the action at sports events, some of those events are full of girls, you stand around in a uniform, and you do some good in the world. Unbeatable combination.
- Scouting is uncool but Rovers have a good time
- Tramping clubs and ski clubs will get you up into our beloved Southern Alps. Keep involved in the Craigieburn club
- You can be an airforce, navy or army cadet when you are older.
- Of course sport provides a great avenue. Sporting clubs and alcohol abuse tend to go hand in hand so try not to learn alcoholism eh?
- Hobbies are good too. My hobby - model railways - is a bit too self-absorbed to be healthy, but it will work. Then there is slot-cars, model aircraft and ships... .
- I'm not so keen on music (or art) as a channel to good men. Music and drugs tend to go together like sport and alcohol. And I believe people driven to self-expression often do so because of some inner hurt, obsession or compulsion: in short they can be screwy. But hey! if you share that same drive and you can keep yourself straight then go for it I guess.
And they aren't on the Web dude. I mean real people who can see your eyes and you theirs, and give you a cuff or a hug.