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I’m just going to say it…

…I think true manhood is in danger of being lost. And I would love to talk about it.

Westlife used to sing a song about telling us what makes a man. While I can’t remember what they told us about what defined manhood, I remain unconvinced that their song will give us all the answers. But manhood is something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently.

In many of the young men I know, I often see an uncertainty as to what manhood actually looks like for them. Perhaps it’s due to a narrowing of the gender divide, or as a result of a growing reluctance to tackle a taboo, or as a reaction against what has gone before.

I’m not referring to manhood being found in body appearance or dress sense, strength or sexual desire. But in values and principals wired into the male DNA that should be developed & explored. As I look at my toddling young son, what type of man do I hope & pray about him becoming?

/// I want him to develop the strength & power in his body, not so he can flex his muscles in a mirror, but so he will help others with practical needs when they need it most.

/// I want him to stand up to trouble, not the trouble made by others but the trouble he has created, by taking responsibility and refusing to shift the blame.

/// I want him to lead others, not by asserting authority over others or by getting to the top of the tree, but by being an influence & example in how he lives his life.

/// I want him to use the incredible energy he has as a young man, not to be noticed or admired, but to make a contribution in the world around him.

/// I want him to grasp the initiative, not by seizing control, but by apologising first, breaking the ice & not being scared to have the difficult conversations.

/// I want him to be vocal, not by shouting in a loud voice, but by speaking out for the things that matter.

/// I want him to hold the door for others, not because they are hard to open, but because it’s a nice thing to do.

/ I want him to commit to a project until he finishes it
/ I want him to look a girl in the eyes and tell her how he feels
/ I want him to provide for others because the world isn’t all about him
/ And I want him to pay for others food because the world needs more generosity

Of course I fall short of these expectations myself. I want to be more resourceful, more sacrificial, more generous. And I strive for more of them.

And of course these attributes aren’t simply unique to the male gender. But I keep coming back to the biblical principal that God created mankind in his own image – both male and female – and I want to rediscover what that manhood in Gods image looks like, for me, for my son, and for the incredible young men I work with.

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