What does it mean to be a man today? Do you have any idea? In today’s society there is no definitive answer for this. Its sort of anything goes. Even as a believer and follower of Jesus I have struggled in the church to find answers of what it means to be a man. Jesus is a great model and has many attributes I try to possess, but because so many of our churches have become feminized through the years it leaves men at a loss. I have been actively involved in church leadership for many years and have struggled as a leader to help men in this area.
A year ago I went through Robert Lewis’s series “The Quest for Authentic Manhood”. Previously I read his book “Raising a Modern Day Knight” (I’ve actually read it at least 10 times) I was amazed at what he wrote in this book and what he was able to carry out with some other men raising their sons into adulthood. The series and the book helped me solidify traits I believe I need to posses and ones I think most men should be teaching their sons.
I remember a class I took back in high school where I was asked to make a time line and what I wanted to accomplish at certain points in my life. For me, my life has always been about wanting to get married and have a family. I hadn’t really thought much beyond that point. As I have gotten older I have tried to attach certain words to myself that I feel describe who I am and what I am about.
If we as men have no idea who or what we are about how are we going to move forward in our lives. What will propel us to the next stage? I don’t want to sit around and let life pass me by. I want to take life by the horns and live it to the fullest and not live with regrets, because I already have lots of those.
As a man how are you going to define who you truly are? In order to do this I think we have to answer these questions for ourselves first before we can help our sons or anyone else:
- What are values you want for your life. (Integrity, honesty, hard work, fun, education)
- What is your life going to be about? (life of serving, making money, achievements)
- What do you want to do with your life (what will people say about you when your gone)
- What kind of legacy do you want to leave? (what did you do to change the course of history)
In 2008 I started the year with this huge question over me – what was my life really about. In my mind I had these thoughts and ideas about who I was and what I was supposed to be. This became a daily question I couldn’t get past. The book that most changed me was called “Restless Journey” by Marcus Ryan.
I did a personal assessment of my life after reading this book and it suddenly became very clear to me that my life was about being a great father. The goal I had most longed for my entire life was here and everything I do revolved around me doing this. My job and everything else in my life allows me to focus on my kids and pour my time and energy into them. I have been called as a dad to impact my kids lives in such a way I will change their destiny and create a legacy of deep and meaningful lives.
Does that sounds pretty lofty? It’s actually what I really dream and desire to do. My wife and I look at the history of our families and really there isn’t much to be proud of. Even to this day there so much junk exists that doesn’t need to be there. I am stopping this with our family and making changes that will enable my dreams to become reality. I am not ok with any of it and part of being a man means stepping up and stopping it. Of course it’s going to be hard and difficult but I was never guaranteed my life would be easy. So I step up, take the bull by the horns and charge forward.
Here’s what I have defined for myself as values I try to live my life by on a daily basis:
Knowledge – continually striving to be better than I am, through various means, which allows my words to be honest and wise, and my actions filled with insight and discernment
Honor – living a loyal life of commitment to God, my wife, kids, family and friends that includes faithfulness, commitment, responsibility and integrity
Fulfillment – living a courageous life filled with passion that allows me to serve others out of love and devotion
Impact – all that I do I do for the legacy I will be leaving behind me
Truth – seeking to live a life that stands up for what is right and just and using my voice to silence injustice, evil and wickedness in the world
*Notice I said try – I am not perfect, I make a ton of mistakes and as much as I hate that, I get up again, dust myself off and move forward.
I challenge all men out there to do the same. Start now by answering those questions for yourself. How would you answer those questions for yourself?