Throughout this school year, we will feature guest bloggers to share different perspectives on or experiences with boys education on our Head of School blog. Our next guest blogger is Mac McStravick, Regis Dean of Students, who writes about the "An Independent Male" and the importance of self-sufficiency.
In today's culture there is a worry that our young males are afraid to leave home and do without the conveniences of the family's resources, but that is what has to happen as these young men develop in the stage between a young man and a man of character.
Many young men find themselves the size of an adult without the responsibility of an adult. They are not sure what they want, but they want to establish themselves as separate from their parents and their parent's rules and regulations. This is normal and natural in its own ways. To make change, one has to have a difference of opinion and want to do something different or differently.
As the young man matures he will not be in agreement with his curfew, computer game time or even his choice to eat with the family. This can present problems and cause fissures between the child and the parent as to who is right and what is fair. Compromise is the best solution because the young man is trying to seek his own way—his independence—but there may come a time when he believes too much is being asked of him.
When the young man reaches this time in his life, it is the time of building his own nest—he is ready to fly on his own and needs to try. It does not matter if he fails or not. What matters is he experiences the hardships that life can bring. Most young men are not aware of all their parents do for them. They are not aware of the amount of money and resources it takes to pay the bills: gas, house payment, groceries, utilities, car payment, insurance, entertainment, clothes and necessities. What matters is that when he says he is leaving because he cannot follow the family's rules, the parents do not shut the door begging him to stay or yell at him to get out. They need to listen, hear what he is saying, give him advice and wish him well.
If one of the parents begs him to stay, this becomes a power struggle that they will lose. The young man will threaten to leave each time there is an issue, and the parents will relent and agree to his demands. If he stays at the parent's house he will not learn to grow, he will not learn to take care of himself and he will not gain the confidence of making it on his own. He will not understand what it takes to take care of himself, let alone take care of a family and the responsibilities that go with raising a family.
For those parents who take the time to check on their son after he has left, offer him advice (if asked for) and let him know they love him, this lets them know how he is doing and what he is doing. They almost become partners in his experiment of life. Still, parents should not throw money at their son if he is having a hard time making ends meet—this is what parents want to do out of love. What they need to do is allow the son to see how much effort it takes to be independent, why he needs to learn to save his money, and why the family's love is so important to his happiness when he takes the first step to independence.
What parents are helping to create is an independent male—a man of character—who has learned to take care of his family, his work and his life. This is what God intends for them to be: hardworking, appreciative, considerate human beings—a reflection of the gifts He has given them.
Here at Regis, we too work towards building an independent male, one who slowly learns to advocate for himself following Sacred Heart Goal V. This goal supports the young man's "personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom." Teaching him something about learning to make choices on his own— independently—and learning to accept the consequences of his actions and decisions.
Bio: This is Mac's 1st year at Regis as Dean of Students, and previously, he worked as one of the students favorite substitutes. Prior to joining the Regis staff, Mac worked as a teacher and coach for twenty five years in the Katy ISD, Lamar CISD, and a Christian high school in Richmond, TX. He is married with three adult children and a grand-daughter.