What Is a Man? (Part 1)

JP & B finally get around to discussing their “What is a man?” lists. Well, they discuss Bryce’s list, anyway. The full text of Bryce’s list is included below. It originally appeared on Bryce’s personal blog. Also, Bryce used different intro music on this one just to see if JP will notice.

What Makes A Man A Man?

Is it purely a biological function, or should it be something more?

A little while ago a friend of mine asked a group of guys, “How did you know when you were finally a man?”

I’ve thought about it off and on for a couple of weeks, and I came to the conclusion that there was no one moment where I thought, “Okay, now I’m a man.” Part of the problem is that the American culture doesn’t have a set ritual or event where a boy starts as a boy and comes out being recognized by his community as a man.

So I decided that if I didn’t have an event, I should at least know what it means to be a man. My buddy JP and I discussed this for our podcast and we challenged each other to come up with a list of responsibilities/traits/skills that a real man has.

You’ll notice that my list is quite small. Here is my reasoning: there are a slew of attributes and skills that all kids should learn before becoming an adult. Learning to handle money and a budget, self control, general cooking/cleaning, and becoming emotionally mature are all great things and they are not specific to gender. Maybe someday I’ll write a list about becoming a full functioning adult.

I may revisit this list and change it, but for now, here are the attributes that signal true manhood.

  • Protect and respect women.
  • Become a Righteous Father
  • Provide / Work for the household in which you live

I could go on about each of these, but I’ll keep my thoughts short.

Protect and Respect Women

I read recently that about 11% of girls have been sexually assaulted by the time they graduate high school. About 1 in 4 have suffered rape or attempted rape by the time they graduate college. I hate the fact that rape is so prevalent that I have to teach my daughters situational awareness and self defense against it. It’s appaling. A true man would never do that. Men need to treat women better, and also need to do something about their predatory peers.

And beyond that abomination, a man should cherish and respect the roles of womanhood and motherhood. Strong families are the foundation of strong communities, cultures, and nations. A man recognizes this, and is grateful to mothers who fulfill those roles. Through words and actions, he makes those roles both possible and attractive.

Become a Righteous Father

A man strives to build the skills, attitudes, and personal qualities that enable him to play his part as the leader of his home. A righteous leader is not a dictator. A righteous leader is an example setter who accepts responsibility over what happens in his stewardships.

If he is married without children, he should work to make himself ready for fatherhood and not seek to avoid it. He should aspire to fatherhood.

If he is not married, he should be working to make himself the type of man a righteous woman would want to marry. And he should be seeking a righteous woman.

Provide / Work

A man works for the household in which he lives. He contributes to the physical and financial upkeep of his home in whatever way is appropriate.

Even if he is not employed he has a responsibility to work. In this case he spends at least the same time and effort as a full time job in one of three activities: getting skills and education that make him employable; applying, networking, and otherwise seeking a job; or building a business of his own.

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