If you want to be a man, you have to be hardcore. Have a big ole’ truck slathered with mud, getting three miles to the gallon and triumphant exhaust emitting from the tailpipe. You are wearing old raggedy blue Wrangler jeans in a crinkly flannel shirt, topped off with a lumberjack beard and a thirty ott six in your right hand. You would see that oh so familiar image in average Ford or Chevrolet commercial that challenges all men and says that you are not one until you purchase one of their trucks. Some might view that as being a true man, but in reality, in this day and age, it is quite different.
Those commercials paint the wrong picture of what it means to be a man. It is certainly ideal for the target audience, which is middle-age men who are looking to find that feeling that they felt in their twenties of being tough. So they go and buy a truck that they don’t need, and nothing about their personality that they hated before, or others did, changes.
Being a man is about providing for your family financially and physically being there for them. You don’t want your wife and kids worrying where their next meal is coming from, or what clothes that they are going to wear because the only ones they have are either too small or are too old. A man needs to have a good career that pays well and one that he enjoys, but not one that consumes his life so that he can’t spend valuable time with his family.
In the midst of doing your job and providing, you need to be putting in effort to be with your family and show them that you care for them and are interested in their lives and what’s going on. If you have children, you need to be helping them with their schoolwork, be involved with their sporting endeavors, and encouraging them to try their very best in everything that they do.
You also need to be setting a good example for them in what you do, whether it is how you talk, what you eat, what your actions are, and how you treat your wife. How you treat your wife and your relationship with her should be one of the most important items in your life. You will need to give her the utmost respect that she deserves. Investing time with her away from the kids, doing things that you both enjoy, listening to her, and showing that you truly care about her is the cornerstone of the relationship. She needs to be your best friend, and you need to be able to say that you would die for her. If you treat her like junk, what is that saying to your children that are watching you do this? It all goes back to being a good role model.
From the twentieth to the twenty-first century, being a man has not changed very much. Some might think that you need to be big and brawny to be a true man, but I tell you the truth, most of those “men” who think that they are all that are merely selfish and only think about themselves. Some might also think that as a man you need to be dominant and show everybody who’s boss, but in reality, they make themselves look stupid and unintelligent.
It is true, though, that men need to be brave and take the initiative when the time calls for it; that’s why I think that men in the military are usually the most manly of all. I’m not counting the idiots in the service that smoke, drink, and cuss their lives away, because those are not men. Those are immature boys who do stupid things to their body and try to fit in with the “cool” crowd by saying those useless four letter words. They are wasting their time because in reality, they are just bringing shame onto the military. Men in the service need to be loyal, have good morals, and be ready for the call to action when the time is right and execute that to perfection.
In conclusion, being a man is not simply an achievement acquired by age, but is one of maturity and proving you’ve got what it takes to do what’s right, even when no one is looking. I have met many guys that call themselves men, but they are still little boys inside and they do not know what it means to truly be a man in this world.
Do you have what it takes?
Editor’s Note: In class this past week, we’ve been talking about what it means to be a man in the 21st century. Over the next week or so, I’ll be posting short essays written by the men in my class. This first one was written by Trey Hess, who runs track and studies Health Science, Pre-Physical Therapy at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.