Anthony-Carter.com An expert in getting back up again – writer, speaker, teacher

Download free eBooks by author Anthony Carter
16Apr/170

Why Male Teachers are Good for Children

Whenever I have taught children, there has been an obsession with safety.

This was a statement I made four years ago when I wrote an essay about people and their insane, irrational fear of being around children.

Men need children. Children need men.

While all men shouldn't or have no desire to be around children, it is wise to look at the reasons why and be honest in our assessment regarding men's interaction with children.

What must change (in relation to men's influence with children) if we are attempting to create a saner, more loving and thinking world?

For several years, I heard from friends and family that I would make a wonderful father and teacher.

Having switched my major in college to English with an eye on instructing eager, hungry minds, I began making preparations to move into the world of erudite instruction that would serve the young people that I would be fortunate enough to teach.

During the early 90's, homophobia was in full swing and nowhere was it more pronounced and encouraged than in education with almost a witch hunt focus on gays and lesbians.

With dreams of changing the world (which I believe is one of the many purposes of education), I was left sitting on my hands.

I could either jump in with the sharks wearing blood soaked swim trunks and hope for the best or I could save myself a buttload of misery and stay out of the water.

I stayed away from young people and teaching for as long as I could.

I watched in shear horror as my partner dealt with very vocal homophobic students, coworkers and faculty.

I watched with incredulity as people dismissed the powerful offerings of teachers and adults. My heart broke when people chose fear and ignorance over the possibility of change that a male presence could offer.

There was no blueprint for being talented in a given area and knowing that you would not be accepted in this arena or worse yet be run out of it and soon as there was any whiff of being "different".

While homophobia was partly to blame, there was also the belief that men around children was a bad idea simply because of our gender.

Men and their (perceived) devious, predatory ways was the real issue.

Many educational colleagues love to rail on about pedophilia which is not the same as homosexuality.

I have yet to hear an accurate or fact-based account of any teacher ever experiencing this dramatic scene(confrontation with and defeat of pure stupidity) at work with a colleague.

So where does all of this irrational fear and straight up stupidity come from and how do we challenge and defeat it?

We start by recognizing men's goodness.

When good men have skills that are necessary for the maturation and psychological well being of young people, we can work together (with allies that love, respect and admire men) to assign men roles with children that highlight skills our young people need.

We are no longer in need of men who are assigned the role of silent, emotionless ATMs whose response to anything emotional or deep consists of pointing out the failings of those asking questions and or then referring them to women who "know more about those things".

It is not ok to assume that beyond donating sperm and financial assistance men are useless and have little value.

Children are not better off without men.

Men and those that love them must offer assistance in reestablishing male input and the particular ways men approach the world and navigate their existence in it.

We all have much to learn from how the world is seen by men.

Anyone who has met a powerful man whose power stems from his commitment to mental health, self evaluation and improving children's lives recognizes and understands the goodness of men.

Men are psychologically harmed when they are assigned social roles that only benefit patriarchal.

Men are harmed when we get assigned the role of non-thinking monsters.

While I have never subscribed to the ridiculous notion that only men can raise boys, I understand that male energy is different, needed and should be invited in on a consistent and well thought out basis.

So the next time you are considering a baby sitter or someone to care for your young ones, consider a male colleague or family friend to take up the challenging, eye opening and heart expanding task that is influencing and loving children well.

Start small and build.

There is much to be learned and nothing to lose.

9Apr/171

The #1 Reason Men Struggle with Relationships (And What to Do About It)

Men lie.

We live in a culture that encourages lies and shame.

Men are rarely supported in speaking their truth.

We are supported in giving up what makes us vulnerable, real and ultimately human.

Male gender assignments start early thereby limiting and infringing on our ability to become better men and human beings.

Primarily, we learn to lie often and always about our feelings.

Many of us are not taught that having and worse yet sharing our feelings is a big fat no no and should be avoided no matter the consequence. Men not being able to cry no matter the consequences is not just a stereotype or punchline to a bad joke.

I know several men who have witnessed the burial of parents and beloved siblings who refused to give in to the grief that would be a natural and healthy emotional expression.

I know several men who have such an inordinate amount of emotional pain inside of them that I am awestruck by their ability to function on any level.

Men who are not allowed access to a full emotional expression do not make for great companions nor are they able to be great resources for themselves in terms of liberatory and radical self love.

If a person is not allowed to feel they will not allow themselves to fully love another nor allow another to fully love them.

Part of sharing feelings also involves creating tools that will allow us to express the "good"ones as well.

The ability to experience powerful and loving feelings is something we often struggle to incorporate.

In bell hooks' wonderful, We Real Cool, the concept of coolness is addressed and deconstructed as necessary and problematic.

Men,particularly men of color, get introduced to the culture of cool via the men in our lives whose only emotional expression is one of anger and cool.

Coolness was the chosen mode of being and the indicator of all future success.

I was often reminded of my inability to be "cool" and not exhibit an emotional response regardless of the circumstances.

Whether I did a jaunty dance step because I made the honor roll or physically showed my disapproval of an injustice or the cancellation of my favorite show, the message given to me was clear.

You are not cool.

Uncool men will not make it in this society.

At 45, I have style but still lack cool.

I am ok with this.

We often inflate our talents, abilities and personal accomplishments and downplay our lack or inability to "make something or crate a certain result". I have had several failures in my life.

As an American Male, I am coerced into keeping my failures to myself. Male culture does not allow or encourage reflection and honest self and emotional assessment.

We are "supposed" to know what to do and have all the answers all the time.

Dealing with and accepting disappointments is another trap that confuses and seduces us.

bell hooks states that men can be seduced by power because it offers long term and ongoing rewards.

This is another lie that men get pitched that it is easy and simple to partake of the power structure (patriarchy).

Patriarchy's cost is never examined:men lose so much.

Men are not taught that emotional needs are important so when an opportunity (participation in patriarchy) is presented that requires that they give up more of their souls (lying), it doesn't feel odd.

Men who are disappointed sexually are never shown or resist ways that would increase their enjoyment of sex and lead to greater overall emotional satisfaction.

When young boys and then men are told to "man up ", it leaves them angry and confused with no outlet to address their pain.

Male culture is steeped in grief.

Many men can only address grief when they are drunk or high.

Men need tools that allow us to sit in and work through our pain.

It is time to stop lying and pretending that things don't hurt.

   
 

Switch to our mobile site