I have spent a good bit of my life trying to figure out what a man is. It almost seems to be fleeting. What I always seem to catch however is what a man is not.
Now let me clarify this by saying that I have found numerous explanations of what a man is but have not really been satisfied with them. Many in our culture will not say that a true MAN is the guy who will demoralize his wife, cheat on his taxes and maybe even mix the two and cheat on his wife but what I see on a regular basis is men who are striving or settling for just that. As they seek after what it means to be a true man they are willing to sacrifice their relationships, even their own marriage, along with their integrity in attempts of finding it.
Know I am not out to prove exactly what a man is by saying that I am him but to help others understand a little bit more about me and what I am after. I consider myself to be a man not because I have attained some high level of stature but because I take one word very seriously, and that word is RESPONSIBILITY.
I have had a long winding road up until this point in my life and have had to apologize for a good number of things that I have done wrong and I still expect more to come, many more. But taking responsibility for those actions is what has helped me become a man.
First let me tell you what I believe a man to be and then if you will permit me to do so, I would like to explain it a little further. I believe …
A true MAN is the man who takes RESPONSIBILITY.
It sounds so simple but let me explain. In breaking it down I want to focus on a few areas that I believe all men need take responsibility .
A man takes responsibility for HIMSELF. He understands that in the mix of his life the place he finds himself on any given day is a direct result of the choices he has made up until that point in his life. He takes his choices seriously today because he knows they will determine where he finds himself tomorrow, and He thinks through his choices of what he desires and prioritizes in his life and his home because they will determine where he will be when his life draws to an end.
A man takes responsibility for His FAMILY. While this takes immediate effect in men like me who are married with children, it extends well beyond those that we call “dependents.” As I grow older I am understanding more and more that the family that I take active responsibility for has the potential to be far beyond those in my immediate household. For instance, a man understands that at some point he may be called upon to care for his sister, mother, father, in-laws, or any other relative. This can be very sobering but when a man understands this it has an effect on his relationships as of today.
A man takes responsibility for his INFLUENCE. Every male will influence others, family and the like, but few take it seriously to the point where they calculate how their influence will better others or just affect them. Men take the time to help, encourage, protect, care and flat-out love others. They want to influence not just affect those around themselves. This is where the father in the house becomes a MAN and not just a male. This intentional action is huge. When he sees his responsibility, his perspective changes.
A man takes responsibility for his ACCOUNTABILITY. Now you can turn this however you want, but here is the bottom line. Every one has to answer to somebody. I believe that we are all accountable to God. Now if you think there is some other god or no god at all, I would not agree with you. But you are accountable to someone. Whether that be my God, your god, your boss or the government that you currently find yourself under. My point is that a True MAN understands this accountability and takes it seriously.
What is it to YOU?
Well there are many implications of each of these in our lives. I will allow you to run with those. For right now though, are you going to take responsibility? The perspective that comes from this is not a fad or a lifestyle design but a cross-cultural and cross-generational truth that has shaped the men before us and will continue to do so far after we are gone.
What makes a boy into a man? When he learns to take responsibility.
Are you going to be a MAN or just a male? There is a difference.
I know that there is much more that must come after this to teach and train a boy to become a man, but this is where I will start with my boy. This is where my dad started with me. For me this is where it all starts.