“Be A Man!”
This one Youtube video that I’ve included here states that these are the three most destructive phrases you could ever say to your son. And chances are that if you are a guy you have heard them, in some form or another.
“Stop being a baby!” “Real men don’t do that!” “Toughen up!” “Be a man!”
These words are barked at us by fathers, grandparents, coaches and older brothers, most often. They may have intended them to be encouraging statements, but more often than not these are orders given that come with a great deal of confusion.
Be a man? What does that mean? What is a man like? What does he do? What doesn’t he do?
The call to be a man is so ambiguous and completely open to all kinds of interpretation. Be a man, like those that abuse alcohol and then their wives and girlfriends? Be a man, like those that emotionally close themselves off, build walls inside so that they are isolated from all external relationships? Be a man, like those that foster lustful thoughts that turn into sexual advances that turn into rape? Be a man, like those that are so career focused that they do not know what happens in the lives of their children or spouse?
Of course not. We would never say that. Those aren’t the kinds of things that “real” men do. Okay, so then what does it mean to be a man? What guide do we use? Who is an example that we can look up to, to mimick? Who is a real man that we can set our lives up to be just like him? What are the rules and expectations of men? Watching that video made me wonder. But even more than what does it mean to be a man, what does it mean to be a husband?
That is another question that is open ended. Some husbands are distant from their wives, some on the emotional level while others on the physical level. Is that right? Is that what a husband is supposed to do? Some husbands are faithful through everything that life happens to throw their way. Others abandon ship when the waters start to get rocky, and even more give up before the boat has really had time to get used to being in the water. Some men will cheat on their spouses or leave their wives; is that what a husband is supposed to do?
And as is often the case, if you are a husband, you are also a father. So another question is asked, what does it mean to be a father? Or a dad? Is there a difference?
Some people have the idea in their head that a father is just a DNA donor, not someone that is there to raise and nurture a child. Is that how it was intended to be? Some fathers are abusive, verbally, emotional, and physically. In some terrifying cases, some fathers are sexually abusive. Is that right? Is this how fathers should act? I’ve heard stories about fathers that are neglectful, not only of their spouse, but of their children. They don’t know their birthdays or care to remember their middle names. Is this what it means to be a father, a daddy?
I don’t think that it is. I think that being a man, being a husband and being a father are all very important things. That these are high callings. That these are very real responsibilities that individuals need to raise to meet. That these titles are so much more than titles. Being a man, being a husband and being a father are so intertwined with who we are that to avoid them, or to ignore what it means to be these things would mean to reject our very nature. It would mean that we refuse to be what we were created to be.
What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a husband? What does it mean to be a father?
In my community, there has been a special judicial court opened up to deal exclusively with domestic disputes. Cases of husbands abusing their wives, verbally or physically, are in such abundance that they had to set aside a court room to deal with these issues. Here, where I live, this is a major problem.
I was talking with my wife about this one day. I mentioned that the community needed a place for these victims to go to get away from the abusers. To that she completely agreed but took it a step further. There is a different need, she said, one that is just as important. Someone needs to be teaching these men what it means to be real men. Someone has to be teaching these individuals what it means to be husbands. Someone needs to instruct these men about what it is they are to do when they are fathers.
It was into this space that I started B.A.M. (Be A Man), a men’s bible study looking at what Scripture had to tell us about who we were created to be. What does God’s instruction to Adam say about who we are as men? What should us husbands do with the woman that God has given us? What role does a father play in the spiritual life of his children? Whether you think so or not, the Bible does answer these questions and so many more that people across the globe are asking.
I thought I would share what is talked about at B.A.M. Why not give the world the answers they are looking for to the questions that are plaguing us all? What we discuss in our Bible studies, I will share with you so that you are not stuck asking yourself, what does it mean to be a man, or a husband, or a father. I want to share this with you so that you can live in the roles that God destined you for, and act in them in a way that is fulfilling and glorifying to God.
Hopefully you will join me and share your input and insight as we talk about these important topics.