I love this letter by John Ransom on advice for how to be / what is a man.
John writes "Firstly, God has put a special responsibility upon you to help and protect those weaker than yourself, those less fortunate than yourself and those in distress. The measure of a man is in how he meets these challenges. A good man treats those around him with kindliness and consideration especially under trying circumstances."
Responsibility. This is what separates a man and a boy. A man accepts that he has responsibilities that do not include me, me, me. And takes responsibility for his own actions. A man acts responsibly, in public and in private.
One of those responsibilities, as John points out, is protection of those weaker and less able. That is the kid being bullied, the special needs person who just wants to live their lives in dignity without being ridiculed, the elderly and the infirmed who deserve respect as human beings. The measure of difference between man and boy is such that a man does it out of kindness and compassion. A man protects those who need him not out of some hero swaggering reason. He does it because it is right to do so. A boy does it to make himself seem important.
To head off the feminist and women who would claim this ideal of manliness must mean I am misogynistic or a throwback to the days of female oppression. Neither is true. As John himself points out "It does not however mean the man is the boss of everyone. It consists of accepting the responsibility of making decisions, without any prejudice, for the good of your family; and then being accountable to God for the outcome."
Women are important in life and in the household. But a man, as head of household, does not abandon his family for selfish reasons. He does not leave a mother and children to fend for themselves. And he does NOT lord it over them. A marriage is a partnership and a family is a unit. A man will accept responsibility for tending to and protecting his family. A man understands that it is not "my word is law" in a household; he will do what is good for the family, not what makes him feel good about himself.
One of the probelms with the world today is that there are too many boys playing at being men and not enough role models for them to look up to. Celebrities who abandon their families and responsibilities, who offer up as models to young boys "ownership" of women and poor treatment and the axiom that toys make you happy. These are childish, un-manly activities. But this is what young boys see.
And they see childish boys in government acting in childish ways. NOT doing what is good for their "family" of constituents, NOT being men of responsibility, NOT looking out for the weaker ones (that is, those without the power these "men" in high office have).
If more men of honor and responsibility stepped up and offered true inspiration, perhaps this country and this world would take on a more positive hue.
Until then, it is up to pundits like John to point out the boy behavior of those who claim to be men so that the young can see the truth in their actions and NOT model themselves after such children.
Agree or disagree, it doesn't matter to me. So long as I get you to think, then all will be well.
Have a wonderful and happy 2013. Make a resolution to avoid the Spin and stop being sheep.