Monday, December 09, 2013

Open Thread - What Does It Mean To Be A Man?

Driving home from my folks' house after Thanksgiving, my 21-year-old son and I were alone in the car when he brought up the topic of what it means to be a man. I'll leave my own definition out of it right now because I'd like to hear yours without my input. So here's the question for you to answer in the comments:

What does it mean to be a man?

Thanks in advance for your comments!

PS - OK girls, if you think there aren't any good guys out there, the lad is about to finish an engineering degree, he surfs and plays sports, plays guitar and bass in a garage band and he goes to church.

14 comments:

drozz said...

-pay your bills
-raise your kids
-never show a sign that you are in pain
-love your wife
-keep your word

Ilíon said...

- be true to the truth, no matter the cost

-- an “unwelcome” corollary to that is that your principles may demand that you stand up to females when they're being irrational: as a guy, you probably have no difficulty standing up to another guy being irrational, but are you man enough to stand up to an irrational girl?

Arleen Spenceley said...

I could write a whole post (and perhaps I will after I finish my book!). But here's what comes to mind at first:

A man uses words to communicate. He does what he says he's going to do. He understands emotion to be a human thing, not a woman thing, and expresses his own. If he was raised not to express emotion, he makes an effort as an adult to unlearn what he learned (even if with the help of a licensed therapist). He has integrity, which means he doesn't do stuff (or makes a concerted effort to avoid doing stuff) in private that doesn't align with his public image. He practices chastity and knows love is a choice as opposed to a feeling.

Ilíon said...

"He understands emotion to be a human thing, not a woman thing, and expresses his own. If he was raised not to express emotion, he makes an effort as an adult to unlearn what he learned (even if with the help of a licensed therapist)."

Actually, in this, you're buying into the mindset that tries to turn men into hairy women.

No one *teaches* men to "not express emotion" -- it is a natural result of being in control of yourself, which is the masculine ideal. Furthermore, no one, needs, nor even wants, "men" who wear their emotions on their sleeves, least of all women.

When it comes to emotions, the world was better off when women worked to emulate what comes naturally to men, by keeping a lid on theirs. Instead, most "women" thesa days mentally junior-high school girls ... as are far too many so-called men.

Renee said...

You don't need to be married or have kids to be a man.

Two of my children's Godfathers are not married.

One pairing is my friend and my husband's uncle.

Another pairing of Godparents are two cousins, who are brother and sister.

To be a man? Other men respect and trust him.

Matthew Perry said...

I think that being a man is complex; each man is an individual that is unique in terms of what he brings to the table. I am not saying that a man is defined by what he does, but I do think a man should, by virtue of himself, offer himself to the service of all peoples with an unconditional appreciation of their divine Image. This, I think, leaves behind a lasting legacy, even if it is only in the hearts and minds of the few who had the opportunity of knowing him intimately. Apart from this, a man is someone who strives to accept responsibility for his shortcomings by seeking forgiveness from those directly effected by them. To summarize, I think a man is someone who is self-aware and thus uses his talents, gifts and uniqueness to benefit all peoples (primarily his family and those closest to him - who have his unwavering loyalty), as he allows his heart to be transformed by a deep appreciation for goodness, truth and beauty.

Arleen Spenceley said...

To Ilíon: If I didn't have a book to write, I'd respond tonight. Instead, I'll post my response on my blog sometime in the Spring, when I'm blogging again. Great topic.

K T Cat said...

I really appreciate all of your comments. Here's my starting point, King Lune from CS Lewis' A Horse and his Boy:

"For this is what it means to be a king: to be first in every desperate attack and last in every desperate retreat, and when there's hunger in the land (as must be now and then in bad years) to wear finer clothes and laugh louder over a scantier meal than any man in your land."

Instead of King, put in Dad or Man.

Ohioan@Heart said...

Late to the discussion, but here you are:

Keep your word.
Protect those that cannot protect themselves.
Be true to your morals and ethics, no matter what.
If married, be honest and faithful to your wife (yes, this is a lemma to "keeping your word", but still worth a separate statement)
If a parent, be a father, not a friend.

tim eisele said...

Even later to the discussion, it occurs to me that, to a large extent, this is all rewriting "If". Not that there's anything wrong with quoting Kipling, it just struck me that I'd have a hard time improving on him much.

K T Cat said...

Tim, I love that Kipling poem!

It's interesting that fast cars, big money and getting laid a lot aren't on anyone's lists.

:-)

Secular Apostate said...

"It's interesting that fast cars, big money and getting laid a lot aren't on anyone's lists."

Those guys don't have time to respond. :-)

Mostly Nothing said...

How about a song?

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lynyrdskynyrd/simpleman.html

Foxfier said...

It's interesting that fast cars, big money and getting laid a lot aren't on anyone's lists.

You did say "man," not "sexually mature male."