When did you become a man?
“Be a man!” “Man up.” “Act like a man.” Have you ever heard these words given to you, another man, or young man you know? Well, there is a certain meaning is attached to the words. There seems to be a cultural expectation of how a man should behave, how he should hold himself, and how he should handle life’s challenges. But isn’t it strange, that a prior and simple question like, “When did you become a man?” leaves most men scratching their heads. Sometimes you’ll hear different answers. “I became a man when I received my driver’s license,” or “I became a man when I graduated high school,” or “I became a man when I got married.” The subjectivity, variety, and shallowness of most men’s answers shines light into a deep issue into the souls’ of most men.
In a book by Robert Bly, he writes, “The ancient societies believed that a boy becomes a man only through ritual and effort- only through the ‘active intervention of older men.’” Though our society seems modestly capable at teaching a person how to be a “decent, law abiding, productive” member of society. It seems to come up empty handed at having a basic ”how to” develop a boy into a man. Personally, I don’t know any members/persons (sexless) of society, but I do know many men and women. How in the world does this critical soul movement get missed?
What if most of the male immaturity that is experienced in our culture is an expression of this problem? What if the contemporary man with his obsessiveness with shallow self-expression often at the expense of others is basically he desire to prove that he is a man. Can building the biggest muscles, hunting the wildest game, chasing the most beautiful woman, climbing the ladder to the corner office answer this question in his soul- Am I a man?
Men are starving to know deeply in their heart they are men. Today’s man is often being asked to be someone that he is unsure exists. Men are hungry for initiation into the fellowship of men. God help the men of our culture find their way to a better answer to their souls deepest questions. So, when did you become a man?