Perverted Manliness

Let’s take a moment to talk about manliness. For the past several months, I’ve been consumed with this idea that men should become better at being men. And much of theses ideas have encapsulated itself into the new project, The Modern Gentleman. But, I dare say that the issue plaguing the fowl mouth, insecure, hedonistic society and culture of today (and most of history) is the lack of emphasis we have on raising boys to be well-defined, justice driven, confident, self responsible men.

Let’s face it. Our culture has bastardized the definition of men, and the values that are naturally written in the DNA of every male. God forbid society raises any more men that qualify for a spot on The Jersey Shore. Culture has taken the definition, values and morals of being a man, and stunted it’s growth at the age of 16, leaving a culture of mentally pubescent men at the age of 30 years of age parading around thinking with a brain that is only to be tamed.

This cultural ideology has left us with 40 something year old men, living in their parent’s basement, consumed in online worlds and nurturing relationships that are only found in fantasy and imagination. It leaves us with an astounding divorce rate in America, leaving sons and daughters to mature in an environment that is one-side and un-trusting of the missing family element. It leaves us with websites promoting infidelity, preaching adultery as a healthy characteristic of marriage.

One of the most profound books that I have read on this subject is Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. Eldredge argues the decline in “manliness” contributed to the overwhelming feminizing of male children. Only because of the declining role of the father. It’s been left to moms and grandmothers to raise boys, and teach them how to be men. It’s contradicting in nature.

Being in youth ministry for over a decade, the most popular conversation among teenagers and their parents have been how culture presses in on young girls to encourage them to be someone different than who they are; thus, leading to the epidemic of eating disorders and self-mutilation. However, in today’s world, it can be said that as problematic as it is for girls to be pressured in a “super-model” persona, oppositely, boys are pressured by culture to not be who they are created to be, giving into the temptations of their adolescent nature which never grow to maturity out of this stage.

It is not as though adolescences is a mistake, or a stage in life that boys are to be ashamed of. Quite the opposite. But, if those adolescent boys soon turn 30 or 40 years old, and are mentally and morally stuck in adolescences, then the “man” inside is lost, encouraging culture as the victor once again.

Men have to be better. Men must be continually seeking growth intellectually, morally, socially, and spiritually. Men must have a hope that drives them to greatness. Men must believe in something greater than themselves, whether that be God or the common good. Men must be controlled by passion: a passion to succeed, a passion to protect, a passion to provide, and a passion to be fair.

We’ve lost the intricate aspects of manliness and have perverted it with shallow and insignificant values. Then we have the audacity to elevate icons in culture to represent these ideas, viewing them as heroes of today. We’ve a long way to go. However, it starts with my son. He will be better than the men of today. He’ll be better than me. And if you are a man, then it starts with your son, too.

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