Years ago, a veteran high school teacher had an underachieving
student in his class. This teacher tried every learning
trick he knew to get the teen interested and excited about
his own education…but nothing seemed to work.
Then came spring, and the annual school ‘Career Day‘
Without warning, our underachieving young man seemed to
be ‘on fire’ about something, and his teacher
was amazed. What tripped the teen’s interest? Why
was he arriving on--or even ahead--of time for his classes?
Which one of the speakers got under the student’s
skin to get him excited about learning?
A State Police Officer by the name of Smith.
Trooper Smith came to Career Day complete with uniform,
badge and gun and had the teen spellbound with his presentation.
“Like Trooper Smith’s presentation, Robby?”
Asked the teacher, as the student handed in yet another
extra credit assignment.
“Sure did!” Said Robby.
“What did you learn from him?” Inquired the
“The State Police…won’t hire dropouts!”
Robby worked hard and brought up his grades to C’s--better
in a few courses. Eventually, Robby’s hard work got
him his High School diploma, and landed him a job as a State
The moral to the story happened a few years back.
Robby--the student who didn’t look like he was going
anywhere--won the state’s highest award for bravery
as a Trooper. He single handedly foiled a bank robbery and
rescued the hostages kept by the gunmen.
One of the hostages was the grand daughter of his high
The award was pinned on his chest by the Governor of the
Robby had the chance to make a short speech. He publicly
thanked Trooper Smith for helping him to turn his life around,
and his high school teacher for having the patience to allow
him to choose a career on his own terms.
SAY WHAT MIKE?
Now, I admit that I added a few items to my opening illustration,
but I trust that I have made my point. Brothers, soon, it
will be time for the annual onslaught of articles crying,
moaning, and whining about the ‘lack’ of young
men on college and university campuses. When those articles
surface (and some of them already have) do NOT worry about
WHERE these young men are. Rather, rejoice in the fact of
WHY many young men are NOT where some social planners and
feminists would like them to be.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Real young men
like being where they can get their hands honestly dirty;
be it on a factory floor, behind an engine, or a ten-mile
hike, or even carrying a badge and gun.
Real young men like to choose their own vocations.
Real young men like to have the opportunity to test themselves.
I believe we, as a society, have been so conditioned to
look for the ‘where’ of an issue that we have
slipped passed the ‘why’ of it. The illustration
of the teacher, Robby and Trooper Smith points out that
sometimes teachers have to think past lesson plans, achievement
tests and study halls to let young men actually ‘rub
shoulders’ with real life.
Real life does not exist only inside of classroom walls.
Eventually, students graduate and have to take on life head
on. In my view, those who work with young men have forgotten
one basic thrust of communication: Asking a young man what
he would like to be when he grows up.
ACCEPT THE FACT THAT BOYS AND GIRLS ARE DIFFERENT:
We have spent far too much time asking their parent, parents,
grandparents, cousins, and the barber about what young men
need that some of us have chickened out of talking with
young men about what they want out of life--without condemning
their initial career choices. Many have spent too much time
trying to make young men into young women--and getting MAD
when they REFUSE to wear a DRESS!
Not every student can ‘conform’ to the ‘rules’
of a test, lesson plan, or survey.
Not every student has a firm grasp of what it takes to
‘be’ a lawyer or NBA star.
However, EVERY young man needs to hear something positive
from those adults around him, even IF the adult just happens
to be a teacher--or a State Trooper.
Let’s be for real; boys and girls are different.
Girls will start planning their weddings when they are old
enough to wear their mom’s high heels. Boys will think
about being the star quarterback, or the brave soldier while
they are playing video games or at the neighborhood playground.
A young woman will have her life organized, sorted and filed
from cradle to high school; a young man will not think that
There is NOTHING wrong with this arrangement.
One central difference between the sexes: Boys like to
get dirty; girls do not!
TEEN MALES WILL ALWAYS ACHIEVE WHEN CHALLENGED:
We have turned the words ‘challenge’ and ‘achievement’
into negatives among many of today’s young men. It
is NOT solely the fault of single parent homes that we have
a generation of ‘effeminate’ young men, and
‘masculine’ young women. I lay the blame at
the doorsteps of the entertainment industry and the education
What do we see on many of our screens--both large and small?
Why, the cheater often wins, the slacker is glorified, the
underachiever is never fired, and the thief and the cop
often both have the same objective--and same agent. Rappers
are held to high esteem, the loud mouth is put on a pedestal,
and the ‘smart mouth kid’ runs his parent’s
home. The advertisers, sports figures and music stars enter
our homes--and schools--24/7. The education establishment
has let these individuals into our classrooms via Channel
One, and a host of other means.
There has been an all out attack on men, manhood, and marriage.
The good news is that the attack is being met with solid
resistance by old and young alike. More and more of our
young men are opting for careers that are going to train
and discipline them for success, rather than to have a ‘job’.
They learned a loooooong time ago that America’s colleges--and
secondary schools in some cases--have become feminized.
Even the ‘so called’ private or Christian schools
cater more to girls than boys.
Young men want to have the right to accept challenges and
test muscle. A teenage boy must be ‘called’
or ‘attracted’ into a vocation--not thrown into
it for the sake of making society--or the church--‘happy’.
Simply stated; young men want to be a part of an institution
that offers Honor, Duty, and Loyalty. The rugged discipline
of an Obstacle Course, a ten mile hike, or time on the Parade
ground, in some cases; the feel of grease under the fingernails
and the strain of muscle against machinery in others.
The last bastions of maleness are the shop (Trade School),
the military, or law enforcement. Many young men I have
talked with would rather delay going to college to pick
up the experiences that these vocations--and others like
Let us show some wisdom and encourage young men in their
One day you may NEED a Trooper like Robby to cross your
MIKE RAMEY is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE. A syndicated, monthly
column written for men from a biblical, business, and common sense perspective.
It appears on fine websites around the world. Emails, Bmails and Pmails are welcomed
to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2006 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International.
Used by permission, BlackandChristian.com, 2006.