Until recently, boys grew up emulating real-life heroes who seemed larger than life. Coonskin caps and six-shooters were the uniforms of boyhood. Boys were enthralled with tales about Daniel Boone, John Glenn, and Davy Crockett. Flannelgraph images taught us about the courage of Noah, the faith of Moses, and the collapse of a giant at the hands of a young shepherd boy.
We celebrated the heroic deeds of George Washington, Paul Revere, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Meriwether Lewis, and William Clark. We reveled in stories about the Sons of Liberty, the Green Mountain Boys, the Rough Riders, and the Texas Rangers. At Thanksgiving, we heard the stories of Squanto and Massasoit, William Bradford, and William Brewster, and we learned about the daring pilgrims who risked all for religious freedom.
Today, rather than exalting men for their significant contributions, our culture is dismissing the heroism of fathers and forefathers and choosing instead to emphasize their shortcomings. Statues of men are disappearing as history is rewritten to cater to sanitized non-toxic definitions of masculinity. In a world void of strong courageous heroes and sterilized of risk, boys are disappearing into fantasy. Superheroes replace real-life role models and virtual video games become substitutes for real-life challenges.