David French recently wrote about what he called a “man box.” “…… increasingly boys and young men are being taught that there is something wrong with their essential nature. That it is their task to deny it and suppress it. That their nature is incompatible with modern life, and that it’s dangerous, especially to women and girls. And that, since not everyone is the same, arguing that there’s even such a thing as a male norm is inherently oppressive. It creates a man box.”
Men seem to be more insecure in their interpersonal skills, either avoiding or totally neglecting relationships with women. This reluctance in men is making it more difficult for women to become wives and mother. If boys don’t become good, dependable men, they can’t become good, dependable husbands and fathers. The result is not a shortage of males in our society, but of responsible adult males. Young men do not seem to be ready for marriage and family.
Anthropologist David Gilmore has noted, “…manhood ideologies always include a criterion of selfless generosity, even to the point of sacrifice. Again and again, we find that ‘real’ men are those who give more than they take away; they serve others. Real men are generous, even to a fault. Non-men are often those stigmatized as stingy and unproductive.” Not being secure in a distinctive masculine way of relating, men are simply bailing out of responsibility.
So how do we recover the masculine in our culture, since it is both a obvious biological and cultural component in interpersonal relationships. While womanhood comes naturally because of a the female’s biological make-up gives the message about what she is and what she’s becoming, it is not the same regarding manhood. Womanhood is natural, but manhood is not. It must be taught, caught and affirmed by other mature men.
George Gilder in his book, “Men and Marriage” writes, “Unlike a woman, a man has no civilized role or agenda. ….His transition into manhood can only come into being with significant, intentional work by other men. As a behavior, manhood must be learned, proven, and earned. As an identity, manhood must be bestowed by a boy’s father and the community’s larger fraternity of men. His mother can only affirm it. She cannot bequeath it.”
Men, don’t let yourself be caught in the “man box.” Our affirmation as men comes from our heavenly Father, who delights in us. Don’t let the anti-male sentiment cause you to question who you are. It is our task to “rise up” and pass on a godly example of the masculine to the next generation.
God told the Israelites to have wholehearted commitment to the commandments and to pass them on to their children. “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again” (Deut. 6:6-7 NLT). In other words, model a godly life before your children in daily life. Be a godly exemplar.
In turn, God instructs a son to listen to his father’s instructions “My Son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in our heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity” (Prov. 3:1-2). In other words, honor your Father. Proverbs 20:20 gives a warning for not doing so. “If a man curses his father and mother, lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness” (Prov. 20:20).