September 9, 2009

Children Learn What They See

In the Man-Making book I offer a continuum of actions a man might take to help move boys towards a positive and successful manhood. At the Zero level of involvement, men don't have to do anything. Adolescent males are being propelled by their biology towards manhood. When the testosterone hits, consciously or not, they start looking around for men who can be models and offer them guidance. They start noticing what men do. All men, at some point, are witnessed by young males and that, by default, makes them man-makers.

Now IF a man understands that, and makes an intentional choice to set a good example when he's around young males, then he has accepted the first small piece of responsibility for the transformational power he has to shape boys into good men.

This clip is a somewhat painful demonstration of how this process works in the lives of children, but the same is true at any age. It clearly calls us to be more conscious of our power to influence young lives. It's from the good folks at the Child–Friendly Initiative. They are a grassroots, non-profit organization, dedicated to improving the lives of children.

Use this link if the video clip isn't available just below.


  1. What a sad statement on adult behavior! It was hard to watch, but very true. Young people are such sponges at an early age. They will emulate the behavior they see adults doing, both good and bad. It's not just the behavior either, they will also repeat everything they hear adults say.

  2. How true... they are watching everything. But not just the young ones! Adolescent males are clearly looking for guidance, intentional or not. They have not choice. They are being propelled by their biology and they have to figure out "manhood" somehow.

  3. You're right, it's not just the young ones. However, the young ones don't have as many sources from which to learn. Once they become adolescents, they learn from so many sources other than their parent(s). It starts when they are young and builds exponentially as they grow. When a child is five or six, his or her parents know everything. Then, ten years later, mom and dad become stupid. Surprise! Ten years later, mom and dad get smart again! At least that is what young people tell me.

  4. Excellent!!! SO TRUE!!!


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