As part of my job, I travel on a regular basis to meet with customers and suppliers. As I whittle my hours away in the airport I am always tempted to pick up a book or magazine. More oft than naught, however, I come away frustrated. In addition to not being able to find magazines on the hobbies that I am interested in (such as mountain biking or fly fishing), the vast majority of the magazines work to re-direct your attention away from what is really important: relationships. I want to learn about relationships with our Creator, with my wife, with my kids, with my friends. I want to be challenged to be better, to push myself harder, to grow. I have yet to find a core group of magazines, let alone one, that truly pushes me in any of those aspects.
Case in point: I am frustrated by many of the mainstream parenting magazines that are available. Many of them almost completely write the father out of the equation. For example, a recent issue of one of the magazines has articles on how mommy needs 5 minutes, on how to accessorize like a famous celebrity mom, on how this mom balances it all. While these articles are important, there is no corresponding article on any male-specific topics or with a male-inclusive tone to their content. In fact, some of the articles have undertones that are borderline derogatory towards the roles males play in the household. As a man and a father trying to understand my kids and my role as a parent, articles like this are enough to make me very quickly put the magazine down and, in turn, disengaging me from growing as a parent.
So what would a true man’s magazine look like? I accept the fact that a purely men’s parenting magazine would be a commercial failure if modeled after the current parenting magazines. Rather, the topic of being a parent could be worked in with articles on other topics that interest men (cars, sports, hobbies, finance, etc.). Include articles on how to build the perfect snowball, on what different outbursts from children mean and how to handle them, on words to use to encourage our children, on how to teach your child to ride a scooter.
Parenting is tough work. We all have questions on how to do aspects of it and need encouragement that what we are doing will yield results in the future. It is time for men to be woven back into the role of father and husband. Like an addiction program, taking small steps towards the goal is still movement. So, men, let’s start moving.