Why We Need to Pay Attention to Men and Boys

JD Bannister wants attention.

Not just anyone’s attention.

He needs his father to care.

In the opinion of my character, Andrew Bannister, his son has everything. He provides JD with a big house, playroom, and expensive toys and clothes.

A main character in the manuscript, Sons of the Edisto, JD experiences another kind of desertion.

How is JD and Andrew Bannister’s Relationship Important? 

The story did not begin in 1921, when the book opens.

And, it has never ended.

Parental abandonment is more than the image of a woman or man walking out on a child. JD craves his father’s attention, and so do many children. Even if a parent is there, he or she still might not spend the amount of time his kids crave.

Neglect, walking out—or as I wrote about in my poem Legends of a Father—parental manipulation and alienation on the part of older children are some of the male issues about which I have written in nonfiction, fiction and poetry.

The Bannister family and others in Sons of the Edisto echo anguish: the need for change and relationships between fathers and children.

As a writer, I thought some men’s issues were pushed to the back.

Children come first.

Women deserve equal rights and equal pay.

What about men? Some feel trapped, isolated, and stay in a marriage for their children. Happiness is not an option. When a situation comes to light, they are condemned without understanding.

What about a man who lost his job? He knows how to work, but factories have shut down in his county. He is 45. Does he have the money to attend a community college and learn a new skill? Will someone help him? Is a company willing to risk higher insurance rates to hire such a man?

I realize many people are experiencing the same thing, but I can’t help but wonder have we forgotten the men and boys?

Don’t get me wrong. I write lighter stories, also, but here is what I propose. Send me a story, whether it is an article, short story, poem or a memory about a man who meant something to you personally or in imagination. Send it to my email: btinsleydickinson@gmail.com, and I will check it out. Over the next two weeks, I will share four of those stories as a guest blog.

Maybe more.

By Rebecca T. Dickinson

More about men, boys and the Bannisters:

Child Custody Sparks Debate, Part I

Child Custody Sparks Debate, Part II

The Family Owned

The Boy with no Mother

The Aftermath

Boys at War

Why the Perspective of a Child

© 2006-2012 by R.T. Dickinson. All rights reserved. No part of this blog post or material related to it may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of R.T. Dickinson.

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4 thoughts on “Why We Need to Pay Attention to Men and Boys

  1. robincoyle August 30, 2012 at 6:52 PM Reply

    Hmmm . . . let me think about this. I wrote an essay about my beloved 91-year-old uncle who means the world to me. I need to take another look at it.

    • rtd14 August 30, 2012 at 8:38 PM Reply

      I enjoy you’re writing. I am sure your essay is very good! Let me know, and I’ll be happy to post as a guest blog! :)

  2. Elliot September 1, 2012 at 11:57 AM Reply

    The more I learn from living over here, the more I seem to think that this country is more about being out for yourself than it is about being out for each other. That is a bit of a generalisation and is not to say there are not plenty of places where they do look after each other. From what I’ve been told it is a lot less regular occurrence and it takes a disaster of some kind for people to realise / pull together. So my point is, and I realise that you are referring to an appreciation of men and boys in a different way, but do you think the lack of appreciation comes from this lack of caring culture as a whole. There are various facets of men and women we need to consider more, be more fair on, or share an appreciation of.

    Apologies for hijacking your good post with a more serious question!

    Actually on a side note, with a young son, I often wonder what I can do that he would grow up and appreciate me for having done X for him, although I think being a loving father who helps him experience some things, and teaches him some things, will be a good start.

    • rtd14 September 1, 2012 at 12:47 PM Reply

      I think your points and question are completely applicable. You always offer great thoughts. I remember learning in a World Geography class, which connected with my Literature class, in the ninth grade that Western culture demonstrated the concept of individualism. In Eastern world cultures, the idea of being a part of the whole came out more.

      I believe your question is very important. The lack of appreciation for other people and their abilities comes through in certain aspects of American culture. I have seen it. When I lived in England, I had the wonderful experience to befriend people from all over Europe and Asia. I ate things I had never tried before, but the most important thing I did was listen. The world view opened my eyes to ideas I had never considered before. In what I have studied and read, I believe the iCulture shows itself in everything from technology, to products, and manners. I know that is not everywhere. I find on blogs there are so many friendly and supportive readers and bloggers.

      Articles have been written about the death of manners. I believe it is the starting point in business, making friends, and should be in technology as well. I was raised in the heart of American manners, the South. I say “Yes, ma’am” or “No, sir.” Please and thank you, etc. I don’t want to watch that disappear, and at the same time, I know it can be overplayed.

      I want the world for my son, also. In life, I’ve witnessed a lack of fairness in employment, love, the court system, culture and history. It is the reason I am so passionate about the Progressive Era, the twenties, and the Depression. I don’t have a “those were the days” attitude. In the South, many farms were failing because of one bug. When men and women turned to bootlegging to make a buck, the Feds went after them.

      On a side note, I’m excited about the upcoming movie, Lawless. As you can probably tell I was never the girl for chick flicks.

      I apologize for a long response.

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