Did you know that the list of approved activities for the Boy Scouts of America makes it clear that water gun fights are not allowed because “pointing a firearm” at someone – even a “simulated” firearm is not “kind.” The BSA shooting manual clarifies, “For water balloons, use small, biodegradable balloons and fill them no larger than a ping pong ball … water guns and rubber guns must only be used to shoot at targets, and eye protection must be worn”.   By these standards, I have to confess that I must be guilty of misbehaving, because I have had both water gun fights and water balloon fights (with much larger balloons) with two of my grandsons.  But I must also admit that we had great fun!

For me, this BSA policy is example of the feminizing of the male culture. Christina Goff-Sommers in her 2001 book The War Against Boys argues that our public schools are organized to obliterate all that is masculine and establish femininity as the norm.  Boys are a “frowned-upon presence” in schools that have forgotten a simple truth: “the energy, competitiveness, and corporal daring of normal, decent males is responsible for much of what is right in the world.”  Yes, boys need guidance in their testosterone-driven activity, but they need the freedom to be boys.  Sommers observes that boys are “routinely regarded as protosexists, potential harassers and perpetrators of gender inequity, boys live under a cloud of censure.”  Young boys are being taught to disrespect masculinity and suppress it in themselves.  Today is not a good day to be a boy in America.

I, for one, grieve this. I agree that boys need to be taught the more feminine traits of kindness, sensitivity, gentleness and nurture, but they also need to learn to express genuine male instincts in a constructive manner so that they can grow to be both sensitive and strong in their God-given male energy. This is a task primarily for fathers, grandfathers, and other male models.  Personally, I have traveled down a long, winding road in a sincere attempt to integrate my masculine soul with the complementary balance of the feminine.   I am still a “broken” man seeking further healing for my soul in a culture that offers little support.  So, I have committed the last  part of my journey here below to help younger men find, nurture, and live out of their true masculine soul.

As I write this I weep, knowing the many struggles men face in our culture.  As I grew up, I had an absentee father and a dominating mother as my role models.  I had very little nurture in the ways of God as a teenager. As a feeling, intuitive young man, I always felt like a square peg that could never fit into the round masculine hole.  I have battled with deep insecurities, doubts, failures, and disappointments.  Today as I look back at how God has integrated my masculine soul, I am full of praise and thanksgiving for his grace and mercy to me.

My advice for nurturing your male soul:  First, reject the false narrative of our culture regarding maleness, and embrace your unique masculinity as a man created in the image of God. Second, study, reflect on, and incorporate the character of Jesus as your model for maleness. Third, allow Scripture to form your worldview. I must warn you again, the gender wars will intensify. Fourth, open your soul to receive healing for your wounds, especially the father wounds. Fifth, find and relate to men of godly character.  Breathe in their life.  And meet regularly with a male spiritual mentor.