While I coached high school football, the school board became attached to a 1970's football player turned coach and pastor, Joe Ehrmann. His son played for Wake Forest and since he was around a lot, he would come and speak to us ... a lot. He spoke at a Faculty Meeting, School Coaches Meeting, County Coaches Meeting, and a Youth Camp. Every coach in the county was given the book Season of Life, by Jeffrey Marx about Ehrmann's successes as player and coach of Gilman High School. Recently, Joe sat down with NPR's All Things Considered to talk about what it means to be a man.
Coaches have an enormous power to mold young men, and women, through their high school career. During those four years, a scrawny 14-year-old boy develops into an 18-year-old man about to head out into the world. No doubt that at some point, every male has heard the phrase, "Be a Man". But mostly, no one ever explains what that means. Joe Ehrmann believes that the old view of masculinity revolved around three basic lies - Athletic Ability, Sexual Conquest and Economic Success. Your manliness is essentially on a scale based on these three attributes. Instead, Joe argues, manhood should be about your capacity to love and your commitment to a cause. We should be building relationships instead of walls.
Joe Ehrmann gives a great talk and I urge to to listen to the NPR link or to check out the book.