Because we live in a culture that has failed to value the intiation phase from boy to man, we have grown up lacking the process entirely. Thus, we cannot be upset or remotely surprised when we discover the societal void of real men. So long as this void exists, the finding of men will become more of a rare occasion, until they all but disappear and become a dead thing of the past; spoken of in whispers, or in joking tones that proclaim chivalry and manhood are dead.
I’ve been somewhat fortunate to have been blessed with strong mentors and respectable men who have taken me under their wing through mentorship and personal relationship. However, this has also led me to drink water from a creek that is no longer running in front of me. I know the solution to cure my thirst, yet see dry land in front of me.
In the book Iron John: A Book About Men, the author writes that once a young man discovers – and chooses – the passion and path for his life, he will discover a willingness to sacrifice everything to pursue this passion. Make no mistake, not all men are able to be placed in this position of choice; a young child will quickly ruin any ability to pursue your passions with free abandon.
This discovery is both liberating and frustrating for me. Recognizing that I possess the choice to find and pursue my passion has not drawn me any closer to taking steps that will discover it. “When a man steps into a battle, it is not so much of a fight that ensues as it is the waking of his inner King.” There have been a few moments where I’ve felt – and believed – that I was fulfilling the passion of my life. However, that feeling has been a distant memory and I’m anxious to discover it again.
While reading an article on AskMen.com, the website that did a much better job of sex education than my parents’ book The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made (really?), I was drawn to an article that highlighted the ‘must-have’ characteristics of real men. Expecting to find some sort of bedpost-tally equation for manhood, I didn’t expect much from the article when clicking on it. However, it was a refreshing article that highlighted “A Man keeps his word” as one of the top qualities of a real man. The other characteristics were on par with this type of thinking. I was blown away. Certainly, this article was a refreshing change from the previous topic I was reading. After all, one can only get so many tips on how to please a woman in bed.
Apologies for the semi-crude nature of the above paragraph. But I do have a point for it. It represents an imbalance in modern-day manhood. Magazines, blogs, and news are filled with stories that attempt to appeal to some inner nature of a man; fast cars, faster woman, and quick ways to blow a lot of cash. However, the article on AskMen was a good representation that even a secular, sex-filled, female-objectifying online magazine has the potential to recognize there is much more to manhood than driving a BMW, sporting an Armani suit, and having a steady stream of women in and out of the sheets.
The truth is that many of us have attempted to discover manhood on our own, through the advice and pointers of equally-lost young men who are also trying to awaken their inner king. From the clothes we buy to the beer we drink, everything has a message or inner hope that it will somehow make us ‘more’ of a man than who we really are.
If manhood were something that could be accomplished the way Hollywood says, then all of us would only need to take a quick trip to the local suit tailor, BMW dealership, and exotic beach to find the most beautiful woman we could lure back to our hotel room. We’d accomplish manhood by slipping on a Rolex, smoking a Cuban, and shooting a .45 Caliber handgun into the head of some arch enemy.
I don’t buy it.
Closer now than I’ve ever been, yet keenly aware of the distance that separates a young man from becoming the man he longs to be.