A few weeks ago I posted a question in “Manly?” about how to explain to young men what it means to be a man.
Rob and I have discussed this repeatedly since then and sought input from a lot of people. He’s come up with a list of five points that I’d like to share with you. His descriptions are slightly different but the general points are the same.
A Man Should Know How to:
- Glorify God
God commands it. It is, in fact, the purpose of man so it sort of has to be first on the list. I believe that everything in the bible rolls up into this. For that matter, everything that follows does too. It has the shortest description but is larger than all of the rest together.
- Pursue a Woman
One. Singular. You don’t “catch” a woman when you get married. You’re not done. You’re never done. Your entire life should be about (as Rob notes) perfecting the pursuit of the one woman that has agreed to be with you. Every morning, every day, every night should be about pursuit of that woman. She is your second half and she completes you. Without her you are half a man.
- Raise a family
I’m at odds on this having been led not to have children but I can still get behind it. We’re talking about knowing how to do things. I would submit that it’s better to know how and not do than it is to try and not know how. Far better. Reading my blogs you’ll see that I have a fairly good understanding of the process and, if you want, I can get references. In the end, if you are a man as defined by this list then you should know how to do this. You should be able to lead others in doing it.
- Live in Community
That doesn’t mean a “global community” whatever that is. It doesn’t mean “pay your taxes and know that they’re going to support someone who needs it.”
It means, seeing a need and solving it. It means being available to your community to assist them. It, also means, accepting help from your community when you need it.
To live in community means living as a larger family with your neighbors and ensuring that you are moving forward as one. It means sacrificing time that you don’t have and giving money that you can’t spare to help someone that truly needs it.
It’s easy to say, “I’d love to help but I just don’t have time.” It’s even easy to prove that you don’t have the time. I work 60-80 hours a week and still find the time. Sometimes I have to sacrifice things that I “want” to do in order to find the time. Being a man is hard.
- Wage War
Meaning exactly what it says. You must be able to wage war. You must be able to defend against evil and, let’s be clear, evil exists in many forms. In fact, evil exists in every form imaginable because man’s imagination helps to create it.
You must protect your right to glorify God whether that is having the intellectual capacity and training to argue for his existence or the ability to fight for your right to worship Him.
You must be able to protect your wife.
You must be able to protect your family.
You must be able to protect your community.
How you do those things can vary. The ability to wage war doesn’t mean that you reach for a gun, or a knife, or even a club every time something doesn’t go your way. It means that you defend what is yours when it needs defending and do it in a measurable and justifiable escalation. Run into my car and I’ll forgive you. I’ll tell you not to worry about it. Break into my house and threaten my wife and I’ll shoot you in the face. That’s graphic but it explains my thought. This also means waking up every day and making war with yourself…. with sin in your life.
Here are Rob’s thoughts on the same topics.
If you posted a comment on “Manly” and don’t see it listed here don’t fret. Everything listed there is here. We just thought that it falls into one of the other categories. I’ve gone back and listed attributes that I think fit into one of these categories and I haven’t been able to think of any that doesn’t fit. If you can I’d love to hear it.
A couple of notes:
We’re not expected to get all of this right every day but we are expected to get them all right often. As you grow into a more perfect man you should be able to get them right more often. This “softening of the line” isn’t reason to excuse failing though. It’s just to say that no one is perfect. We all get get some of these things wrong. This is reason to try harder.
Though we are addressing men specifically here many of the same values apply to young ladies. Some of them are slightly different and some are completely different but they are all just as important. This exercise was to solve a specific problem. We haven’t needed to address these things with the ladies because, well; they’re perfect, my nieces. Everyone knows that.
Finally, thank you to each of the people that left a comment on the original post. As I noted earlier, your ideas were invaluable and we truly do appreciate the thought and honesty that you put into the comments. This is probably one of the most serious posts that I’ve ever written on this blog and will have the most far reaching impact of anything that I’ve ever written. You responded with the reason and depth of thought that the topic deserved. I feel truly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.
P.S. I’d never shoot you in the face. It’d be Center Mass until I run out of bullets. For anyone considering threatening my wife, I hope that makes you feel better.
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