I want to preface this by saying the post you are reading was prompted after my nineteen year old daughter had her heart broken by the fourth young man in a row. After a heartfelt discussion with her, about boys and men, I realized a pattern was starting to develop — not in her life, but in the lives of young men. It is that which I want to address here.
Normally, you will find me injecting humor into my posts. This particular entry will be bereft of said humor. Why? You’ll understand the “why” in a moment. But enough of introduction…
Parents, today, are so busy they don’t either have the time or the energy to sit down with their sons and help them to understand what it is to be a man. There are also those who seem to be inflicting their sons with the idea that, in order to be a man, they must be cold, without feeling, tough, and be ready to draw their weapon of choice at any sign of trouble. Because so much is going unsaid these days, I wanted to offer up a few pieces of advice to all of the young men out there. This advice should help you navigate your way through the confusing and some times painful journey we call life.
And so, we begin.
Compassion is everything. Never look at life with black and white vision. If you honestly believe men don’t cry, then whoever instilled that backward notion into your mind should be publicly humiliated. If you can understand one thing about becoming a man it should be that compassion will be your strongest guide. If you have hardened your heart beyond feeling, you will have no compassion. Compassion will help you, one day, soothe the broken heart of your daughter or help your son learn to deal with rejection in a healthy way. Compassion will allow you to honestly (and deeply) connect with those you love and be there for them (in every way) when they need you. Being a man means you must be open to the emotions that are so natural to the human condition. You fight those off and you fight back nature. In the battle between man and nature — nature always wins.
Women are not objects and playthings. If you think, for a second, that a girl or a woman is there only for your carnal pleasure and entertainment, understand this — you will hurt a lot of people and, in the end, you will pay for the pain and suffering you have caused. Lie to a young woman, just to get her into bed, and you do so knowing you are going to hurt an innocent victim. Word of that kind of malice gets around and, in the end, will lead you down a very lonely path.
Women should be treated as equals — in every way. They are human beings, with feelings, and strengths, and weaknesses. If you desire a woman for nothing more than sexual pleasure — make sure you are up front with that woman. When you are, you’ll most likely be rejected every time. If you still feel like you need that kind of release, buy a hooker. At least both parties go into that contract knowing the specifics of the agreement. There is no deception and no one gets hurt.
Cheating is not okay. If your father led by example, and his example was to cheat on your mother, know that what he did was not okay. A lot of men joke about having someone “on the side”. I promise you, this is no laughing matter. Understand this — if you decide to cheat on your girlfriend, or wife, or boyfriend, or husband you do so knowing three people will get hurt. If you’re still okay with that, you might want to check your pulse — because you have the heart and soul of a dead man. There is no way around this — everyone involved will get hurt. Period. No matter how careful you think you are, no matter how good the lie…eventually this will catch up to you and you will lose the life you have worked so hard to build. If you’re still okay with that, then look yourself in a mirror and repeat after me: “I am evil”.
Backs were not meant to walk on. There are people that feel those around them are nothing more than stepping stones for their career. If your career means so much to you that you are willing to step on the backs of others, at least make sure you are in a profession where that is the standard. I cannot stress this enough — always treat your fellow man with respect. As the saying goes, “No good deed goes unturned.”
The suit does not make the man. If you believe donning a suit and tie makes you a man, you are sorely mistaken. Hitler wore a suit. Kim Il Sung wore a suit. Joseph Stalin wore a suit. They were only men by definition — because they had the correct genitals. Just because you put on a coat and tie you are not better, smarter, or more important than anyone else. It just means you paid more for your clothing than the guy in jeans and a tee shirt. Period.
Women endure so much more. The women that we love, marry, create families and fade into history with endure so very much more than we do. Do not let the woman in your life carry that burden alone. It is lonely and it is back breaking. Do not make them raise children alone, do not make them clean the house alone, do not make them emotionally or physically alone. Be there…always.
Use the language properly: I realize you have a certain way of speaking to and around your friends. You use slang, you drop f-bombs left and right, you use a tone of voice laced with familiarity, sarcasm, and venom. This is not the way you speak in public, to strangers, to your elders, to those who should be claiming your respect. Do not assume it’s okay to navigate the waters of life as if you were reciting the lyrics to Emineme’s latest song. When you speak to elders, parents, teachers, bosses, significant others…you do so with respect.
Repeat after me: When I was in elementary school, I learned one very important rule that has guided me through life. That rule is called the “golden rule”. It states: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Repeat after me…”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Now, keep repeating that until it sinks in and it’s your default behavior.
If, after reading this, you realize you were sorely mistaken about what it means to be a man…congratulations, you’re one step closer. Although not perfect, this guide should help you understand what it means to be a man in this world. And please, understand this — every circumstance is different; but there are universals that apply everywhere. I think you will find what I’ve listed here to be pretty universal.