Authentic Manhood

I came across an alarming article over the holidays that identified dads as the #10 most wanted item for Christmas in the Stratford & London. This made me wonder about the current condition of manhood in America and if I am completely honest with you reader, some of my own distorted views of manhood. Growing up without a father has left some confusion and unfortunately, brought some baggage into my own marriage. So in 2013, I decided to search for authentic manhood as a means of growing in all areas of my life.

I started the 33 Series and it has me off to a good start, hitting home with several considerations about the current state of manhood and what factors lead to this condition.

  • Men are confused about manhood. - Our culture has created a series of false illusions about how to define manhood, some of which send conflicting messages. In my own life, I have felt the pressure to define manhood by my abilities to: fix things around my house and on my car, knowledge of shooting & hunting, understand what is going on in the general world of sports, make more money. When does manhood begin? Is it after your first sexual experience, when you get married, when you hit 30 years old?
  • Men are in pain. - We generally don't want to talk about the pains in our life because it reveals a vulnerability.  Men are supposed to have it all together, so that we can tell others how to "fix" their own problems. So if something is bothering us we typically will let it build up until we explode into some irrational fit throwing.
  • Men are disillusioned about life. - Because we don't know how to define what we are, we often have unrealistic expectations about life, marriage, and family.  Since we work all day, we expect to come home to a clean house. Since we bring home all the money, we expect to be able to buy whatever we want. Since our wives are so intuitive, we expect them to know when something would upset us.
So how did we arrive at this state? History over the last 200 years has greatly influenced and redefined manhood, pulling us away from our original purpose. Some of the events that have affected us are:
  • Industrial Revolution - prior to this era, society was agriculturally centered, placing men in and around the home, working the land.  Children had the opportunity to go to the field with dad and pick up on his bits of wisdom as shared the tips of the trade. In today's society, men leave work for 9+ hours and come home exhausted with little time for family.
  • World Wars - the back to back wars took a generation of men out of their already neglected homes to serve our country in a time of need. It was a sacrifice that adversely affected the state of manhood as a generation of boys grew up with their dads gone. When dads returned from war, they were not the same, often suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and other similar problems.
  • Feminism - this movement started off as a great thing, asking for equality for women. However, it changed the cultural landscape when it steered towards defining men and women as the same.  While both genders are equal, they are most certainly not the same. They should have the same amount of respect, pay, etc. but at the core of their being they are suited for different roles in life.
  • Extended Adolescence - rather than launching into starting a career and family straight out of college, many men are holding out to get as much fun out of life as long as possible.  Staying single longer, buying more toys, etc. has redefined a man's status by what they have and the amount of fun they're having else where.