Heading into 2017, it is increasingly clear to me that there is a very real problem in our culture when it comes to manhood. By and large, men have ceased to be men (and I’m not just talking about Bruce Jenner). Households with absentee fathers are an epidemic; men use and abuse women, abandon their own children, and get upset when a court makes them pay child support. The level of arrogance and entitlement among young men today is staggering; most expect something for nothing and want to benefit from the labor of others while doing little to no actual work themselves. Able-bodied men are all too often given handouts and allowed to believe the lie that society at-large owes them something. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you probably know someone who fits this description. And if you’ve had to work hard to get where you are, men like that probably drive you crazy. But the degradation of manhood goes even deeper than work habits or bad attitudes; it cuts to the core of a man’s identity and has far-reaching influence throughout all classes of men.
I believe there are 4 main areas of a man’s life in which this trend is most evident and pervasive:
Work Men used to go to work every day, work through pain and sickness, in harsh conditions and for people who cared little about their safety and well-being. They descended into coal mines, worked on farms, in factories, rail yards and hundreds of other places that usually offered difficult and dangerous work. Even if the job wasn’t dangerous, most men would show up on time, day-after-day and year-after-year for decades, thankful to have a steady job that allowed them the ability to provide for their families. If they didn’t particularly like their job, that was fine—if a better one came along they may consider it, but company loyalty was the norm. But somewhere along the way, showing up every day, doing your job and going home tired but thankful became the exception rather than the rule. I’m sure your grandfather didn’t always love his job and probably knew some men who were bad employees, but for the most part, you went to work, worked hard and honest and thanked your employer for the opportunity. Times have certainly changed since then and so has the job market, but so have the men. I believe there are many more men today who either won’t go to work at all, show up to work and complain the whole time, or those who have no idea what company loyalty looks like. Often what I see are men who have an allergy to overtime and always have a chip on their shoulders, or men who are workaholics at the expense of their families and personal lives.
The bottom line: Men were created to work and work is supposed to be creative and good and fulfilling. However, your day job is not always going to be easy or be the fulfillment of your dreams; but it can help you provide for your family and work toward your dreams and goals if you let it. Go to work every day, do your job well and with a good attitude and be thankful for the opportunity. If you don’t like your work, take steps now that will allow you move toward doing work you love later. Remember that no one owes you a thing—even if you have a college degree—and if you want something really worth having you’re going to have to work for it.
Sexuality Men are sexual beings because they are human beings. We were created in a certain way for a certain purpose—and this design is good and pure. But when I look around at the young “men” of my generation and see how they use their God-given sexuality, I am astounded and ashamed to even be classified in the same category. Young men take something that was created to be holy, beautiful, and unifying between a real man and his wife and use it merely as a means to selfish gain; they use a woman as if she is a tool to complete a task rather than a person. I know the male sex drive is generally more active than the female counterpart, but it doesn’t mean we need more sex, more often, with more women; it simply means we need to work harder at loving our wives and making them feel safe and loved—if we get this right, better sex is bound to follow. Additionally, sex has no place outside of marriage—not with single men and single women, or married men with women who are not their wives. It is a union between one man and one woman in a life-long marriage commitment; anything else is a counterfeit deviation and misses the mark.
The bottom line: If you are a man who wants to be a REAL man, you must start to believe that you are more than just a sexual being—you are a dynamic, complex and multi-faceted human being who was created for so much more than just sex. Forget what pop culture says about sex because its wrong—it goes hand-in-hand with marriage and if you think otherwise, you’re really missing out. Wherever you are now, commit yourself to seeking out and living out the true design and purpose of sex.
Marriage & Relationships The greatest relational accomplishment a man can achieve is finding a good woman and convincing her to marry him. The only thing better than falling in love and getting married is figuring out how to make it last a lifetime. When it comes to marital commitment and faithfulness, men are epic failures. I know ladies play a significant part in this area, but men are called to love their wives passionately, sacrificially, and with unwavering commitment. Far too many men have fallen because of their pride, their anger, or their lack of self-control. Sexual temptations often get men derailed from the right track in their marriages; although their own arrogance is often the true culprit. Men need to stop being so lazy and apathetic about their marriages and step up to the plate. We need to take our rightful positions in our marriages, in our homes, and in our communities and swing for the fences.
The bottom line: If you love a good woman but you’re afraid to get married because it will tie you down, its time to get over it, man up and marry-up—you’ll be a better man for it. If you’re already married—no matter for how long—count your blessings and love your wife with reckless abandon, putting her needs and desires and dreams before your own, and trust that if you first love and lead her well, she will not let it go unnoticed for long.
Parenting When did it become a feminine attribute to be a good parent? Why is it that men are usually expected to do very little when it comes to parenting their children, while women are expected to do approximately 95% of the day-to-day parenting tasks? The rise of feminism has contributed significantly to this problem, as much of society has been duped into believing that women are in fact superior to men and should be treated as such. When a woman has children in 2017 America, she is often confronted with the pressure to choose between caring for her children most of their waking and sleeping hours by being a stay-at-home mom, or virtually abandoning them to pursue her career (or at least that’s what she feels like). They are told they not only can, but should be able to do it all and do it well, whereas men are led to believe all they have to do is be a sperm donor who provides a paycheck. Young men and women are usually influenced strongly by their own fathers and tend to repeat their mistakes; that is why it’s vitally important for men to step up in this area of their lives as they hold the key to their children’s confidence, sense of security, and how well they can adapt to the world around them as they grow up. Don’t get me wrong, being a dad is tough and challenging, but real men rise to meet their challenges—they don’t run from them or let them fall on the shoulders of others.
The Bottom line: If you’re a man who has children then you’re technically a father; but it takes much more effort to really be a dad. Show up for your kids, lead them well, and put to death the notion that parenting is primarily a mom’s responsibility. Research shows that parenting is done best within the bounds of a healthy marriage by two people working as a team. Step up to your calling as Dad.
*Look for further development of this topic to come on tylerjbrooks.com