What does it really mean to be a man?I don’t really know what it means to be a man, so I find it very hard to teach my sons. I’m 43 and don’t feel like I am a man. No one ever told me that I was a man. There is nothing really in our society that says, "Hey! Now you’re a man." This is different from other cultures. Other cultures have a set time, or a ceremony that marks this transition in a boys life. I feel like I have been going through the motions and just been pretending. Afraid that everyone will find out that I don’t really know what I’m doing. That they will realize that I’m not really a man. That I’m a 43 year old boy, with wrinkles and bad eyesight, but still as immature as an adolescent.
What is a good Father?What does American society have to say about being a good father. Not much. Look at TV. Are there any examples of good fathers on network TV? I haven't seen any. Most shows don't even show a father. If there is one, he's a joke, or he's just there for comic relief. Our society is not teaching boys how to become real men. They are not providing any positive examples of real men, or real fathers.
For other fathers and husbands out there, I hope that you will start this journey sooner than I did. I saw my oldest son about to become a teenager, and panicked. I’m not ready for this. I know that if I had figured some things out sooner, it would have been much easier. Kids learn what we teach them. Sometimes we teach them intentionally, but most of what they learn is just by watching our example. They learn by seeing what we do, by the way that we treat them, and their mother. My sons have already learned a lot from me, and not all of it is good. If I'm not acting like a man, where are they going to see another example to learn from? I haven’t been an awful dad, just not a great dad. I really want to be a great dad. My kids deserve the best that I can give them. Unfortunately I have acted like many men in our society. I have just been doing the minimum I could to get by. I realize now that this is not good enough.
On a JourneySo I am on a journey to find out what it really means to be a man. What it takes to be a great father and a great husband. And along the way, show my sons what it means. I want to make sure that they know what it takes to be a real man and that they know, unmistakably, when they have reached that milestone. I want them to learn to be a great father so that they can pass this on to their children. The best way for them to learn this is through me. But, before I can teach them, I have to figure it out for myself.
I have to admit that this really scares me! It scares me when I think about the effect that I have on them. I'm not perfect. (not even close) How am I going to teach them when I don't know myself? So, I'm determined to learn, no matter how hard it is, or how scared I am, I am not going to give up.
I have already started learning and changing. A couple of great resource for me have been Family Life, and Focus on the Family. They both have great pod-casts that I download and listen to at work.
There are also a few books that I have started reading. As I learn more, I will try to share what I am learning.
- Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood by Dennis Rainey