In an earlier post, I wrote about social bonding and the importance of the local church. This post will seek to expand on the attachment element of social bonding, and relate it to fatherhood and masculinity.
Photo courtesy of Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas
Social Bonding: A Review.
It operates in four elements, or four domains, as I would prefer to call them. A domain implies a space which one inhabits, while an element seems to be something more external and abstract.
These domains are: Attachment, Commitment, Involvement, and Beliefs.
I will once again go over these domains in forthcoming blog posts, but will seek to tie them into the importance of fatherhood and masculinity in society. It might be a good idea at this point to return to the previous post to get refreshed on what these domains mean in detail.
In The Functions of the Social Bond, James J. Chriss (2007), cites attachment as a function of integration (p. 4). That is to say, the higher the attachment to a group one has, the more likely he or she is to integrate group norms into his or her personal worldview.
To What are Young Men Attaching Themselves?
It is difficult to tell, these days. Shireen Quidosi (2019) notes that men increasingly have less real-estate in society. “In just the last decade, we’ve gone from ‘girl boss’ to gender-exclusionary phrases like ‘the future is female’ to ‘boys can be girls'” (para. 1).
I would personally add that when men speak about these concerns, they are often either called “fragile” or misogynistic,” as if feeling you do not fit into society is somehow a simultaneously personal and systemic problem.
The Data Doesn’t Match the Narrative.
Further this with fatherless homes and the disintegration of marriage, and it is a recipe for chaos. In 2016, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service reported that 45% of juveniles placed in residential facilities were living in single parent homes.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, not only are men 3.5x more likely to complete suicide than women, but Statista reports that since 1982, men are 37x more likely (111 by men, 3 by women, and 1 by both) to commit a mass shooting.
Is this because of the patriarchy, or because young men that feel isolated and alone are increasingly attaching themselves to antisocial groups?
Remember, the higher the level of attachment, the more likely an individual is to adopt the principles and norms of the group.
The Role of Church and Faith.
The church is therefore in a prime position to ensure it is a place where men can feel attached. To quote Jordan Peterson, “Opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated.”
This by no means suggests that church will be a cure all. It is does implore churches, however, to step up where the rest of society is falling short. It is, above all, a call for masculine faith (definition pending, I suppose) to become a norm.
Fathers that attend church regularly need to ensure they are being fathers to their own sons, and reaching out to those disenfranchised and at-risk young men in their congregations. Fostering a place of growth and acceptance has to come from within before it can be truly articulated to those outside the church.
Lastly, I would ask: How important is it for the church to become a father to the fatherless? If the suicide rate among males and the number of fatherless homes in America are any indication, it appears to be rapidly growing in importance.
Chriss, James J., “The Functions of the Social Bond” (2007). Sociology & Criminology Faculty Publications. 25. https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clsoc_crim_facpub/25
Qudosi, Shireen. “Men Don’t Need Tampons. They Need Fathers.” The Federalist, 22 Nov. 2019. Retrieved from thefederalist.com/2019/11/22/men-dont-need-tampons-they-need-fathers/#.XdgRl7lhrLY.twitter.