I’ve been struggling with this one lately, boys.
See, I know I’m responsible for teaching you what it means to be men. Problem is that I’ve been on this spinning blue ball for over 40 years now, and I don’t know that I’ve got it completely figured out myself. Based on what I see around me lately, I’m not sure anyone else does, either.
What some people consider chivalrous, others consider chauvinist. What some consider strong, others consider bullish. What some consider loving, others consider weak.
There doesn’t seem to be any consensus on what it actually means to be a man in this day and age. Who best represents what being a man is supposed to be about? Is it the blue collar worker getting dirt under his fingernails every day? The educated man trying to influence the world with words and ideas? The guy ready to fight , or the guy begging for peace? Depends on who you ask.
So taking all that into consideration, the only approach I can come up with is to try to teach you all the things a man is by teaching you all the things I’m pretty sure a man ISN’T:
- A man isn’t someone who feels the need to use his strength to knock down those he may see as weaker.
- Along those same lines, a man isn’t someone who needs to build himself up by tearing others down.
- He isn’t someone afraid to accept or show emotion, because he understands that’s the best way to learn to control it.
- A man isn’t someone so weak in his beliefs that he feels threatened by someone expressing others that don’t match his own.
- A man isn’t scared to learn or be open to new ideas.
- A man doesn’t have a problem owning up to his mistakes, much less trying to correct them.
- A man doesn’t build his success by exploiting others.
- He doesn’t blame his failure on someone else’s success.
- A man isn’t afraid to fight when it’s necessary, or to walk away when it isn’t.
- He doesn’t feel the need to judge anyone for simply living their own lives, especially when it doesn’t present any threat to him doing the same.
- A man doesn’t turn his back on the people who have always had it.
- A man doesn’t hold things as being more important than people.
- He doesn’t hold anything as being more important than his family.
Being a man isn’t based on where you come from. Not on what you look like. It isn’t based on what you do for a living. It isn’t based on how much or how little you have in your wallet. It isn’t what you can bench-press, or what kind of degree you have. It isn’t who you vote for or pray to. It isn’t who you love.
What I guess it all boils down to is that a man is someone doing the best with what he’s got to stay true to himself and the people he cares for. To do right by the people who count on him. Someone who respects the rights of others to do the same, as well as the struggles they go through to do so.
By doing all that, he becomes a decent human being, which in the end is the only thing that really matters.
He defines himself, and doesn’t worry about anyone else trying to do that for him.
That’s about as good a definition of a man as I can think of.