2 Misunderstandings About Being A REAL MAN!
We made them cry. Every single one. Mission accomplished.
The dorm wall was lined with a fresh set of freshman cadets. Their backs stiff against the wall and their stare locked straight ahead trying to see through eyes welling-up with tears.
Step one in turning boys into men: complete.
“Don’t show your emotion! It’s not your privilege, fish!”
This was end of their first week in the corps. The process is not open to the public — for good reason. This wouldn’t sit well.
Maybe “back then” this would be acceptable, but not today.
These aren’t appropriate tactics now that we’ve progressed as a society and understand that men are free to feel and free from this idea that he has to be a tough guy that longs for hunting, guns, and fistfights. These barbaric methods are rightfully mocked and punished in the mainstream. Right?
We have to see what’s really going on here.
1. Being a man is about controlling your emotions, not being callous toward them.
It’s true that the idea men can’t be sensitive or relate to their emotions is a dangerous position to promote.
Men can (and should be encouraged to) spend time understanding their emotions. That’s not the issue.
And no, the purpose of breaking these incoming cadets to the point of tears isn’t to feel macho or get them to suppress their emotions. The purpose is to train them how to control them.
Becoming a real man isn’t about trying to force yourself into a stereotypical mold of what a traditional man looks like. Becoming a real man is about developing as a leader.
A real man leads. He must. Men can’t escape the privilege and responsibility of leadership. Understand, leadership is not about dominance, but about accountability. That should terrify us.
Even apart from a vocational sense, in a familial sense, a man is held accountable for the direction of his family. It is his ultimate responsibility.
Leaders can look different and have varying hobbies and interests. I’ve personally never really liked hunting, for instance.
But a common trait great leaders share is the ability to be resilient in tumultuous situations.
Without being enslaved to making regrettable decisions because of unpredictable emotions, leaders are able to exercise emotional control so that they can make decisions on facts and not feelings.
They have no less heart, no less passion, and no less feeling. They just develop the strength, stability, and sensibility needed to lead well.
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
2. Being a man is about being protective, not being aggressive.
I’ve never been in a fistfight. I’ve never had the desire to. In general, getting punched in the face has never been appealing to me. Call me crazy.
My heart aches a bit when I see brochachos in the gym ready to instantly resort to fisticuffs over the slightest offense. A hyper-aggressive, warring attitude isn’t manliness, it’s madness.
Often, this gang-like demeanor is nothing more than a facade to mask broken feelings of insecurity and insufficiency.
We aren’t to provoke, but we are to protect.
A real man, a leader, always pursues peace while simultaneously being ready to protect.
Leadership is about both making good decisions for those you lead and also making defenses around them.
Leaders accept the role of human shield. They willingly sacrifice their own well-being to protect those in their care.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Controlling emotions and defending the weak — this is what real men do.
This idea combats the false-extreme concept of manliness which tells men to dismiss their emotions and always look to dominate as the alpha male.
It also pulls men away from the second post-modern and false-extreme which encourages male passivity and emasculation.
Be a real man.