Father’s Day came and went only last weekend. I had a great day with my wife and my two children. I received two beautifully hand-made cards from each of my children and loads of hugs and kisses. Oh, and some of my favourite chocolates. It was lovely.
I trust all the dads reading this and dads all around the world had a wonderful time with the people they love the most too.
The special calendar day (just like Mother’s Day) got me thinking about being a man but especially in today’s world. Not all men are fathers and not all men are dads but all men are men. So, I got thinking about being a man. Yep, let’s attempt to re-evaluate the question, “What is a real man?”
The thing is that most of us would have been raised with a definition of what society (modern-day societies) defines it as. This definition is dare I say, unrealistic and quite a burden for the modern male to wear. So much so that I believe the modern day man is finding it quite difficult to be a man.
Now, we could look in many places for possible definitions of what a real man is and justifiably so. Some men look for these in sports stars, movie stars, politicians and so forth. I believe it is important for the modern male (whether you’re a dad or not) to truly understand what it is to be a man. A real man.
I thought that one place many people wouldn’t be brave enough to seek an answer is the bible (unless you’re a Christian). We don’t have to look any further than the disciple – John. John, I believe displayed 6 characteristics of what it means to be a real man. In no particular order they were: sincerity, simplicity, conviction, courage, vision and vulnerability.
There you have it! Six Key traits of a real man.
From my experience with people in predominantly male-dominant gyms over the last 23 years, I have found that one thing that men struggle with is accepting that being vulnerable is ok. It seems that the modern man is told since birth that being vulnerable is a no-no, that it is a sign of weakness. Today’s ‘macho’ man of western society must not show vulnerability, he never admits a mistake.
What a load of you know what! Generation after generation of men still believe in this cr#p. Very unrealistic burden for men to carry partially dictated by societal definition of a modern man.
I recall reading research done in America a little while back that stated that five of the most difficult statements for today’s modern man to make are:
- I don’t know
- I was wrong
- I need help
- I’m afraid
- I’m sorry
This certainly supports what I have deduced from my observations of the last two decades. It seems that modern day men have a problem with admitting vulnerability. That for some reason, if they do their masculinity is brought in to question.
For you Christians reading this – wasn’t this a test for the disciple John which he passed with flying colours?
I think John’s vulnerability was so great beyond belief in his extreme demonstration of humility when he said in reference to Jesus “He must become greater; I must become less”. You cannot get much better than that with someone being so humble.
A trait that is truly missing in the world today.
So, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, to be authentic to no one else but you first. It is good for the soul and makes you a real man. A humble man is not afraid to admit it. A humble man is not afraid to admit he is or was wrong.
There is a real man in all men reading this and all the men in the world. However, to reach deep down inside and get him, you need to become more aware of who you are now and take actions (sufficient and appropriate) to change certain habits that may not be aligned with the definitions of a real man I have given.
The important step then is to be flexible enough and ‘man-enough’ to adapt to the ‘man you imagine yourself to be’, ideally a man closer to the kind John was. It’s not easy, matter of fact it is darn hard work but the end result is a thing of beauty. And this is one of the things the world needs more of right now.
This, however, may clash with the current modern day definition of what it means to be a real man.
Be the real man you know you are. Be inspirational to you first, so that you can be inspirational to the young males that are searching for examples of what it means to be a Real Man. Don’t let them get lost to men of lesser character. So, all you dads out there or men playing a surrogate role, be the role model, be the Real Man that the legions of young boys and future men of our society need to aspire to.
This is not a want. This is a need that our modern day society needs now more than ever. More Real Men to help provide a template to the youth of tomorrow, especially with so many possible definitions are being filtered in to their young minds. Give them a template, like that which the disciple John gave us to build on and stand the test of time.
If every man reading this and every man in this world took this responsibility seriously, what a beautiful world I can imagine for us all in two or three decades. When young men of today, modelling their characters off you – the modern day Real Man will be leaders of tomorrow.
It is a great hope of mine.
It’s not too late. Make the change because you know it is the right thing to do and you’re humble enough and courageous enough to do it.
Because you’re Mr Vulnerable. You’re the man! (and if you’re a woman and you’re reading this, get your man to read it too).
All the best in your journey towards being a Real Man. It lies within every man, so go ahead and bring Mr Vulnerable out and share him with the world.
It’s time ….
Until next time,