I sat down with an older gentleman in his 90’s a few weeks ago. His weathered hands gripping the armrests of his chair, the white light of the nursing room illuminating his scars and sores, the dead silence allowing his thoughts to speak loudly in his mind. Then he spoke, reminiscing of the days in his prime, it was through the way he spoke that I became reminded of what it meant to be a man. The men of the world today seem to forget what it means to be a man, so let this be a reminder.
What is being a man all about after-all? As much as I hate to have to clear this up, a man is genetically a boy, not a woman who calls herself a man, or some piece of machinery that self-identifies as a man. Got it? Get it? Good.
As I continued to speak to him I could sense a certain sense of sadness behind his eyes, a quiver in his voice, not that of regret, but that of not being who he once was anymore. His wife had passed, wasn’t able to get around as fast as he would like, and his body failing him. He often broke conversation to gaze off at the window for a small moment before returning to me, “You know what I miss most? Not being able to farm anymore…” A quick thought ran through my head, “Wait, so you miss waking up early in the morning before the sun rose, in weather that ranges from -20 degrees all the way up to 100 degrees depending on the season, wrestling with cattle, getting dirty, breaking bones, getting covered in chemicals from crop…. Blah blah blah.” But you know what? It wasn’t about that, not at all. He, as a man, could grow a product, to further society, to bring the life of animals into the world, raise them and then send them off to be butchered so that many around the world can eat. He missed his legacy, his ability to provide, to go out there and make a life for his family, he missed the sweet pride his work brought to him. Having some pride in what you do in society brings a sense of accomplishment and meaning into your life. A sense that your life matters and that you are making the world a better place. I am strongly convinced that the suicide rates are so high in today’s world simply because boys today are given everything they want and lack the work ethic to make themselves into men. If you sit around all day expecting everything to be given to you, there is no logical purpose for you to make yourself a better person, thus rendering yourself to have no pride in yourself, giving you no meaning, therefore causing your mind to believe there is no purpose in your life.
We have boys who work at small starting jobs that constantly complain about not making enough money, or that they can hardly make it in life. When they are suggested to get a job digging holes on a construction crew or performing a physical job to gain a higher wage, they often come back with, “Well that’s not for me.” You who claim this as an excuse are, in fact, the very problem at hand in not furthering yourself in today’s world. Pick yourself up and out of your pity and get to work. If you are too lazy to get up and get a real paying job to support your family because there are “other” things you would rather do, I would strongly suggest it’s time to reevaluate your life, you have no-one else to blame but yourself. I understand there are circumstances that arise that have the potential to put yourself, as well as your family, in a tough spot, but if you aren’t being proactive to get out of that spot, you’re not a man, you’re a boy. And, frankly, your family and your wife deserve better than that, and you do to.
I have known this man for my entire life, and he wasn’t one to be pushed around very often, if at all. He was going to do what he wanted to do, and he was going to do it now. If you didn’t like it you had two options, accept that this was going to happen, or get out of the way. When reminding him of this he chuckled a soft chuckle, “Yeah, I can be a little hard headed at times.” Oh no!! You mean he used his authority of being a man to promulgate his agenda?! Darn right he did. Men were placed in this world to lead, to raise a family with the hand of God, and to resist the waves of culture and any others who chose to rise against who he was.
Another man that comes to mind was Noah in the Bible. God told him to build a boat to rescue his family from the oncoming flood. When everyone rose against him and told him he was foolish, stupid, and uneducated what did he do? That stubborn man built the boat anyway. Noah stuck to what God said and obeyed, stood up against the world and the culture of his day and he built the boat. As men, we need to stand up for what we are going to do in this world, even when everyone else is against us and in a sense, “Build the boat.”
Trigger warning for you younger men: women don’t want a weak pushover of a boy. Sorry to break it to you, when it comes down to it, women would much rather have a hard-working man that works for a living and stands for what he believes, not some fem boy that sips his latte while discussing his degree in gender studies, which will never make him into anything. Women want that man who will defend, protect her, and support her family with you. When something comes to challenge your relationship that you as a man will be able to grab life by the horns, assess the situation, and come out of the issue making the relationship stronger than it was before. If you’re not man enough to stand your ground then you’re not man enough to handle a proper decent woman. So be a little more attractive, and be a man. It worked for me, anyway.
The most inspiring and beautiful thing I witnessed during this visit was when this man was handed pictures of his late wife. As he looked at these pictures, he spoke of how beautiful she was and how incredible his time was with her. A light came into his heart as he gazed upon the photos of her. He didn’t even have to say anything; his body language spoke louder than any words could. His love for this woman was still there, strong as ever, and he didn’t care at all who knew about how much he loved this woman. Love is also part of being a man. It’s simple, really - love your wife. Show her the respect she deserves, work every day of your life, if not for yourself then for her. Serve her and ensure her that she is the only one that belongs in your life. Boys, nowadays, feel the need to be with as many women as they can, or that commitment is too much. They will often end up just living with a woman until they get bored of her and move on to the next one. Being in a relationship is challenging work and requires commitment, something that requires a man. You’re going to have your difficult moments in a relationship, but it’s the ability to trust and love that person enough to stick by them and not drop the relationship the moment things get rough. To love your wife, is to not put her down, belittle her, or shame her. Rather, it’s to love and to serve and support her needs, as well as to guide her in a strong and Godly way.
It was now time for me to leave, I shook this man’s hand with a strong firm grip. It seemed that thinking back on all these memories put a new smile on his face, remembering the man he was and still is. Reminding himself of his children, his grandchildren, his legacy of men that were men because he took the time to be a man. He took the hits from society, he bled in his fields, sweat with his cattle, loved his wife, and above all followed a Godly life. These are the fruits of his labor, the outcome of his actions, something he loves now with all his heart. As he sits in his small room gazing over the fields of corn, he can rest in solace that he created a generation of men that will continue to further his legacy, and that is in a nutshell, being a man. I concluded that boys will be boys, but only some boys will be men, and if being a man “isn’t for you” it’s time to step up and quit being yourself.
Like it or hate it, this is my exodus.