When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. 1st Corinthians 13 : 11 The Amplified Bible
Is it a great time to be a man, or what? Recently, I received a thank you card from a wonderful friend that said, “The roses were beautiful. Mine are still lovely after a week. Also, thank you for lunch. You know how to man!”
In that act of kindness, my friend made me feel good. A week earlier I had given roses to all the sisters at work and prepared lunch for our staff. We all had a great time. We needed to. We all work very hard together and we needed a moment.
Her card was an appreciated pleasure. It did more than say thanks. It said, I know how to man! Is it a great time to be a man, or what?
The creation narrative of Genesis is clear. To the man, the creator clearly articulated some distinct responsibilities. First, the man is to honor his creator by worshipful obedience. Second, he is to appropriately manage and responsibly love and care for creation. Third, he is to share this experience with his gift from God, woman – his partner. He is to lead by influence all in Creation to be obedient to the will of God.
This direction has more often than not, been interpreted to mean that the man is the all powerful one who all in creation are to be subject to. This interpretation has led to the violent abuse of entire cultures of different others, particularly, the women and children of those cultures. This immature and insecure patriarchal perspective has used the Holy Bible as its reference for permission and authority for this misuse and abuse of power.
Knowing how to man inside the portal of the second decade of the third millennium means honorably accepting the responsibility assigned by God to be the loving caring servant of Creation. It means accepting that the influence of leadership is not designed to receive special privilege, only special responsibility. Is it a great time to be a man, or what?
For those of us who have arrived at the level of developmental and spiritual maturity, it is a great time to be a man. For those of us who are aware and responsible for ourselves and our actions, it is a great time to be a man.
We have successfully managed the stages described by Dr. Na’im Akbar in his classic work entitled, From Maleness to Manhood. In his work, he asserts that maleness is biological. Boyness is the adolescent tier of individual fascination and discovery. Manhood is the stage of assuming responsibility for honesty, loving, caring, service, and building.
He laments some never make it beyond acting out their biological urges. He laments that others never develop beyond the boy stage of playing with toys. He salutes the brothers who arrive at the stage of manhood, those who have become and know how to be a functional, productive, God Centered, family oriented and community building man. Is it a great time to be a man, or what?
It is, if we can say for ourselves what 1st Corinthians 13 has taught us. When I became a man, I put away childish things. When I became emotionally mature, I learned to love at another level. I learned to think of others more and not be solely centered on myself. I began to see life, love, and sisters, women in a whole different light.
To know how to man means that we, brothers, men have arrived at a place where we can be honest with God, with ourselves, and with others. We accept ourselves and have no need to pretend to be something we are not. We are loving, hard working souls who educate and train ourselves to build for the future of our families, our communities, and our culture.
We have a passion for loving, and others enjoy the privilege of our presence because we empower others to become their best selves. We have a passion for helping others find value in themselves. We have a passion for helping others get excited about their own possibilities for achievement and fulfillment. We have a passion for helping others experience love.
We have a passion for loving sisters, women that goes beyond the instincts of our biology. We love because it is who we are. We love because it is the right thing to do.
We have a passion for being faithful to our wives and loving fathers to our children. We are faithful to our wives and are simultaneously loving, caring, and respectful of other women. Is it a great time to be a man, or what?
Jesus taught us in the Sermon on The Mount (Matthew 5 : 46 – 48) that the man who only takes care of his own has nothing to feel praiseworthy about, because even the wicked take care of their own. To know how to man, we must be excited and passionate about the privilege to go the extra mile.
Finally, to know how to man, our whole existence must be premised upon an attitude of good stewardship and service. If we are to assume responsibility for any level of leadership, it will be through the influence of our service and not the needs of our egos.
Do you know why it meant so much to have Sister say in her card, I know how to man? Because only one who knows how to woman could affirm one knows how to man. Is it a great time to be a man, or what?