Dad’s Day Media: A Boy Needs Rules! Walker Lamond Says So

June 19, 2010 “Let’s get some things straight before I get old and uncool.” This is Walker Lamond’s ‘dad-to-be’ premise awaiting his son, who arrived shortly after publication…

“Rules for my Unborn Son” is a simple distillation of thoughts to be a ‘good man’ some of which you’ll agree with, others which could merit a ‘meh,’ (submit a rule on the blog) but with media’s portrayals of males as of late, we can use all the guidance we can get.  

A compilation of tidbits and random musings that average about two sentences a page, it’s more gift than book, but that’s part of its beauty, the sheer simplicity of thought.

There are some zingers that linger after you’ve turned the page nodding ‘hmn, so true,’ so I’m featuring it today for a couple of reasons. One, it landed in my mailbox, which means I automatically ‘pass it along’ as my no-perks, nonprofit policy placing it up for grabs and two, his opening intro about ‘rules’ resonated with me from a media analysis perspective…

Walker Lamond writes,

“Somewhere along the way, rules got a bad name. People wanted freedom. Authority was questioned, rules were broken, dress codes banished. Rules were seen as antiquated obstacles to individualism and progress. Barbers were ignored, ties packed away. And the game of life suddenly got a bit sloppier, more uncertain, and even a bit less fun.”

That last line really resonates with me, as I watch K-12 kids grapple with ethics and etiquette amidst a crass culture of ‘anything goes,’ often being rewarded for negative behavior in ‘more outrageous the better’ mode.

Rules? What rules? Gawd knows media could use a few of ’em…

…NOT in a school-marmish-censorship way, but in a child advocacy, let these kids grow up with a modicum of what it means to be a gentleman pragmatic way!

With American Dad, Family Guy, and entire shows based on scatological humor and sophomoric emphasis on body parts and appendages (ahem, cough, an entire new show based on the size of a teen’s genitals, called The Hard Times of RJ Berger really, people?) we’re reaching new levels of rude and crude that would make the majority of Cosby-like dads cringe. (Media Portrayal of TV Dads)

So here are a few I pulled from Walker Lamond’s old-fashioned resurrection of some old-school sentiments celebrated with new world relevance…Enjoy! And don’t forget to leave a comment with YOUR ‘rules’ (in media, home, interpersonal relationships, whatever) to try to snag the book for yourself!

A few samples from Rules for My Unborn Son

Don’t stare directly into a dog’s eyes.
Memorize the Bill of Rights and your favorite poem.
Never side against your brother in a fight.
Make time for your mom on your birthday. (It’s her special day too.)
Never under any circumstances ask a woman if she is pregnant.
Don’t be so eager to leave the kid’s table.
Don’t pose with booze.
Know the difference between arts and crafts.
Never go out of your way to be on TV.
When it comes to opening presents, no one likes a good guesser.
Finish what you start, especially books.
Don’t show off. Impress.
Fish don’t have eyelids, cast in the shade.
Learn to pronounce French words correctly.

And the list goes on and on…

The book is peppered with quotes on the mission of manhood from other authors too, a few favorites of mine from forefathers of all sorts:

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.” –Thomas Jefferson

“Courage is not the lack of fear, it is acting in spite of it.” –Mark Twain

“Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.” –Teddy Roosevelt

“Don’t fight forces, use them.” –Buckminster Fuller

That last one (Bucky’s best!) is on my wall to remind myself of Shaping Youth’s nonprofit mission to literally flip the message and use the power of media for positive change.

Finally, on a more introspective note, I’m currently reading Antwone Fisher’s latest book “A Boy Should Know How to Tie a Tie”…which I’ll be passing along as a freebie find too…

It’s a STELLAR example of life lessons from the street turned into uplifting, non-preachy prose about overcoming obstacles and the segue out of life happening TO him versus taking the reins…

Part triumphant emergence over foster care foul-ups (a la Josh Shipp, a youth advice slinger  with a story to tell) and part pragmatic life lessons for both dads and grads, I’ll be posting on Antwone Fisher’s book soon and recycling it via giveaway as well.

Happy Father’s Day male mentors, papas, stepdads, uncles, cousins, brothers and gentlemanly sorts.

We need your important voices in the media mix…

And no, Rosie O’Donnell CANNOT replace you, darlin’ daddios! (check out that pithy pappa’s response to the Atlantic’s controversial Are Father’s Necessary headline grabber stirring up controversy with dismissiveness in mainstream media; Bravo Kevin (of ‘Always Home & Uncool’)

Related Father’s Day Posts on Shaping Youth

Shaping Youth: Media’s Portrayal of Father Figures on TV

Shaping Youth’s Fatherhood Resource Roundup

Reinventing Manhood: The Perfect Gift for a Man

Shaping Youth Asks: Who’s Your Favorite Fictional Male Role Model & Why?

Meaningful Media for Father’s Day: My Daddy Taught Me To…

Piggies & Paws for Papa’s Day: Keepsakes For Life

Free iPhone Apps For Dad He’ll Appreciate More Than Soap On A Rope

Father’s Day for $5, When Kids Want to Use Their Own Money!

Father’s Day Letter to President Obama

Shaping Youth Via Fatherhood, Joe Kelly (The DAD man) on New Media, New Men

Below: How Marketing Affects Boys: Two of the authors of Packaging Boyhood, Lyn Mikel Brown & Mark Tappan on station WCSH6 Portland, Maine discussing media & men (Lyn is on our Shaping Youth advisory board)

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Comments

  1. I love this TV Series and have always been a fan of American Dad,~’

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