In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 14, 2008 / 8 Adar I 5768

What child-men need is some tradition

By Rod Dreher

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Some years ago, a young painter about to complete art school complained bitterly to me about his education.

"They told us all that we were geniuses the first day we showed up," he said. "They never taught us the basics. Whatever we wanted to do, our teachers thought was brilliant. Now I'm about to graduate, and I don't know much more about being an artist now than when I started."

The young artist's point was actually more profound than I realized then and helps explain the pathetic phenomenon of child-men — those woebegone males who seem stuck in perpetual adolescence.

This unhappy student rightly recognized that the preceding generation — the baby boomers — had failed in its responsibility to pass on to him a tradition. Had his art teachers only drilled him in tradition, they likely would have bludgeoned his creativity with mannerism. Instead, they declared tradition irrelevant and made each student's individual desire the only necessary standard. Without a tradition against which to measure oneself as an artist, there is nothing to learn, no impetus to learn it and no penalty for not learning it.

The student asked a question — What is an artist? — for which his culture no longer provided an authoritative answer. But if you ask a far more important question — What is a man? — the culture comes up equally short, and for the same reason. To be sure, the definition of manhood is culture-bound and has been talked about since time immemorial. The first-century Roman teacher Quintillian warned against spoiling boys. "If the child crawls on purple," the tutor wrote, referencing the imperial color, "what will he not desire when he comes to manhood?"

"We have no right to be surprised," he continued, speaking of boys who don't know how to be men. "It was we that taught them: They hear us use such words, they see our mistresses and minions; every dinner party is loud with foul songs, and things are presented to their eyes of which we should blush to speak. Hence springs habit, and habit in time becomes second nature."

Today's child-men have been formed by a culture that has lost — or, rather, thrown away — a relatively fixed standard of manhood. It used to be that virtue was the measure of a man. Was a man just? Was he brave (and not necessarily in terms of physical courage)? Was he honorable in his dealings with those weaker than he? Did he respect women? Did he believe in something higher than himself? Did he submit to the concepts of duty and respect?

It's not that all men, or even most, lived by this general code. It's that they recognized that they would be judged by it, and judged themselves by it.

That's mostly gone, replaced by a therapeutic model in which the autonomous self is its own judge, and personal satisfaction is the measure of a life well lived. For 40 years now, we have been living through a cultural and psychological revolution that has rendered young men (indeed, most people) incapable of recognizing and submitting to authority. As social critic Philip Rieff foresaw at the dawn of this revolution, the loosening of traditional constraints would make man free, but it would be a liberty fraught with anxiety, even psychological paralysis.

Which brings us to our latter-day child-men, the wayward sons of a generation that crawled on purple and never got over the experience. Quintillian and his successors through the ages knew that the process of becoming a man requires a juvenile male to subordinate his own desires to an objective code of conduct — which is to say, some sort of higher authority. In this sense, the self could only be understood and realized in relation to one's community and its values.

The culture warriors of the previous generation were not wrong to question conformity, but they went too far. They have deprived their sons of authoritative tradition, both in word and example, and with it the ability to transcend the adolescent state. Much in our dominant culture conspires to keep young men in a permanent state of adolescence: conscious only of their desires and the impulse to fulfill them. This dependency is tailor-made for a consumerist economy built on creating and exploiting wants. Making the world safe for big business, no doubt, wasn't what the '60s generation had in mind, but it's a little late for do-overs.

The fathers of today's child-men gave to their sons the freedom to choose their own paths through life. But how to choose and what to choose? On that, the gray ponytails must remain silent. All they have is the hope that, having turned their sons loose in the world without a map, habituated to the idea that their maps are useless, that the young men find their way out of the wilderness.

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Rod Dreher is assistant editorial page editor of the Dallas Morning News and author of "Crunchy Cons" (Crown Forum).


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