Do you know an incredible father? What types of qualities does he possess that make him a modern-day superman? Manfred von Vulte discusses how we can reflect these strong, noble qualities to empower young men to become supermen.
“You will travel far, my little Kal-El, but we will never leave you-even in the face of our deaths. You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father. And the father, the son”. – Superman, 2006
You see his face in most school photos. The healthy young man engaged in his studies, speaking with his friends, triumphant in athletics, or raising his hand because he knows the answer. On display for the whole world is an intrinsic quality that cannot be found in any curriculum document or benchmarked competency on a summative assessment, that characteristic is the embodiment of a quiet and noble confidence. The promise of this modern armor is one that is made to every parent that has looked at a kaleidoscope of educational videos and images. We project our child’s future on to this positive senior vision. Then we ask ourselves, what do we wish for our sons? Success, love, guidance by a moral compass, and in the distant future, becoming a father and family man, are amongst our laudable goals.
Raising Modern Men of Honour By Example
So how do we have him arrive at this state? We begin as all great teachers of male-centred pedagogy would through example and modelling the aforementioned aspirations. Young men will emulate what they see. Patterns of behaviour, social consciousness, notions of charity and empathy, and self-identified concepts of masculinity will be reconciled constantly in a boy’s mind. He will imprint upon himself the exemplars of how he will define who he is. If we wish him to be a devoted father and family man, we must show him what that looks like. Not all children have the blessing of an interested and engaged father being with them, or even in the picture altogether.
The Responsibility of Schools to Educate Young Men
While we must not acquiesce the male adult mentor role solely to the schools, they do however, unquestionably factor in to the process of forging a boy’s character. I will often tell parents that the development of a young man is a series of static months and years, followed by “epiphany” type events which set the stage for a higher level of performance, but again along a new plain of static achievement until the next intellectual and evolutionary jump. Another analogy would be the process of looking at an oil painting too closely (a blur); instead we step back and see the details of change over longer periods of time. The acquisition of quiet confidence is the formation, reconciliation, interpretation, and self-identification of male-centred traits from the higher order of virtue, over a long period of time. These attributes include: faith, camaraderie, a work ethic, sacrifice, fortitude/courage, perseverance, and holding true to one’s convictions. The impact of having a male teacher further adds to this transfer of ideals. It is not surprising that one of the initial questions in the admissions process surrounds the gender of the teacher for the would-be student.
The Lifelong Role of Being a Father
Teaching fatherhood and what the adult should be is a long journey that does not even end when one actually becomes a father. It is an evolving persona where we must accept failure and success, but all through the eyes of humility and reflection. The noble masculine virtues never are embodied in one man entirely. Much like those moments of epiphany, we can be superman through direct example or deed; thus, creating another mirror for emerging male youth to view themselves. Every young man has the potential to be that superman, if not for just one moment in time. Like the analogy of the oil painting, listen and look for the emergence of virtuous masculinity, cue the iconic John Williams anthem, and watch as the quiet confidence of youth becomes the guiding hand of the father. The son becomes the father.
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How can parents and schools raise young men of honour? Do you know or have a super dad? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.