Becoming Men

This business of being a man is scary as hell. Sometimes it feels like you’re groping in the dark, expected to have answers to questions and to meet the bigger responsibility of guiding others out of the dark and into the light. There is no room for mistakes, yet you make plenty along the way. There is no room for fear, yet you’re scared off your shits half of the time. There is no room to be a wimp, only courage should exude from a man.

And so we keep groping the dark, with a confidence and faith that what we do, the decisions we make for ourselves and others are the best at that very moment. Manhood is a treat of sheer unadulterated adventure.

This week I watched two movies suggested by my homeboy Sam. You’ve probably watched Fences by Denzel Washington and the Green Book featuring two characters – Tony Lip and Dr. Shirley. This isn’t a review of sorts but I’ll try not to ruin the movie for you (if you haven’t watched it, that is). I‘m simply drawing insight I got watching the movies to tell a tale of what a man should be.

A man should take care of his family. It’s his duty whether he likes it or not and he should do it the best way he can. Provide for them, protect them, lead them, and be present as much as he can, teach them about life and things. Pray for them and pull his weight at all times. The man is the first line of defense when trouble comes; the backbone when the foundation is shaken and definitely, there is pride in taking care of his own.

A man should find his own way and handle his business. Stay on top of things. Find solutions to life puzzles. Make the call and be decisive always. Step up to adversity. Keep his head held high and put on a confident smile even when the boat is been rocked by the greatest storms of his life. (Which reminds me, I need to finish the beautiful book on adversity, ‘The Old Man And The Sea’ by Ernest Hemingway. Get it too).

A man needs a friend (sounds like a line from GOT, anyone?) But really, a man needs a friend(s) he can do life with. There’s a beautiful line I learnt earlier on that sounds a bit cheesy. It says, ‘A man needs a woman to die for and brothers to die with.’ In the case of the Green Book movie, Tony Lip becomes that friend to Dr. Shirley. He becomes the shoulder to lean on. The strength he needs when calamity strikes. As a man gets a friend, a brother to stand with, he should be loyal in his friendships. Many friendships have been tested through loyalty and sadly, most have failed.

A man should accept his flaws. Learn to live with them, make progress; to change himself for the better, to pull his weight, finish what he starts and to kill his demons. He should never give up on the quest to bettering himself and he should accept that he will never be perfect. And that some demons are there to stay. He should make peace with that. What really matters is how better he is today than yesterday?

A man should own up to his mistakes. Perfect doesn’t exist on earth, we are all flawed. Whatever the mistake; be it cheating on his wife, getting deep in debt or on the wrong side of the law, name it, a man should man up, own up and work it out till a solution is found. The thought of consequences resulting from his decisions should keep him in check.

A man has to hold his ground. This speaks to values and what makes up his core. A man has to believe in something, to stand for something and to have his way of doing things that emanates from his core values. These set of values define who he is. He should not be the flag that’s tossed around in any direction by the wind, he should be the post that beats the wind, always solid in his position.

If a man fathers a child, he should take care of it. It doesn’t matter the situation surrounding that occurrence. No man should abscond his role as a father. He should find a way to be present and to provide for his child among other things needed. Yes, relationships can get messy and the man might fall out with the mother but nonetheless, the man should do his part to his level best. He should never let an opportunity to be a good father pass him by.

Largely, there are plenty of struggles that plague a man. Past experience wounds, self inflicted wounds out of bad choices or irresponsibility, sex addiction, alcohol, drug abuse and many other situations that may not favour him. It doesn’t matter what comes his way, a man should fight with a will so strong like the third monkey trying to get its spot in Noah’s Ark. That spot is his for the taking. Through courage, determination and perseverance, a man has to earn his position in the ‘men of honour’ hall of fame.

I’m also convinced that the biggest incentive that will charge a man to such heights of achievement is love. A man has to love. To find a woman to love, to love his kids to love God and country, to love the less fortunate and to be the beacon of hope in a chaotic world full of many evils.

Ultimately, he ought to love himself too. Only then will he become better.

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Time to read my first novella if you haven’t had the chance yet. Click here to download. Enjoy.

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