The first time I heard this theory. I automatically thought that it was part of the "wussification" of America. A "wuss", is an overly sensitive, softey with no back bone. Society has a way of injecting each an every issue with hyper sensitivity. Nobody can say anything, to anyone, anymore, for fear that they may offend or hurt them. The line has been moved and drawn so many times that it is virtually impossible to tell when you've crossed it. It's probably safe to assume that we will always cross it and not say anything to anyone anymore. Impossible.
Although it is a bit dramatic to say that these 3 words are the worst that we can tell a boy, once I took an objective view I understood the idea. Telling a boy to be a man is like telling a seed to be a full grown tree. It has not received enough nourishment to grow and realize its full potential. So telling a boy to be a man is unfair because he either has no concept of what manhood is or a false concept of what manhood is. I get it and I understand. But does that mean that we should encourage boys to be boys and shelter them from the harsh reality if a sometimes cruel world forever? Not at all. I am all for teaching, and training a young man to be a gentleman. But unfortunately we do not live in a gentlemen-filled world. With that being said we must impart wisdom in our young men. We must do all that we can to counteract all of the false representations of what being a man is and stand for his principals.
The best way to help a boy grow into a man is to give him a road map to follow. Live your life so that you are a male worth emulating, and imitating, or an adult who sets a standard. We will never have to tell our sons to be men if we are an example for him to follow.