What makes a man? Is it worth and merit, prestige and respect earned through trials? In some cultures a man is only recognized once a ritual has been performed ordaining him as such, and in other cultures a man’s merit is only perceived once he has passed a series of trials, but to me achieving manhood is simply the act of casting off the shackles which bind you to your maternal path and blazing your own trail.
What Makes a Man: Embracing your destiny,
If you asked my father, a man is one who embraces his maternal path, following the path set forth for him by a father, and only achieving manhood by besting him in “battle”. I believe too many today still have this belief that the only way to truly be a man is to exceed the expectations of the father, and this attributes too much pressure on the young growing up today.
What Makes a Man: A fathers pride,
To boast a fathers pride is great, but what if that pride is never achieved? Setting expectations too high or otherwise committing a son to failure certainly won’t help them achieve anything; sometimes you should just be proud of your son’s accomplishments.
What Makes a Man: Choosing your own path,
Whether a son follows in your footsteps or not his path is of his own choosing and pushing too hard will only serve to drive you apart. Movies today portrait a more realistic picture that being born into kingdom does not always work out, princes have often fled their castles, just to escape that which some would call their destinies. In that same way a mechanic may pressure his son to also become a mechanic, whether that is his choice or not.
A father too often expects his son to follow in his footsteps and this leads to chaos for a path not chosen is not a path at all, but a destiny, and given the opportunity, every man fights against his destiny. What are we if not the creators of our own possibilities?
What Makes a Man: Driving success,
There is a fine line between being driven to succeed, and being driven to insanity, as has been shown by many royal lines throughout history. Pushing too hard and imposing your will without regard to another, even if it is your son, serves only to break that will and ensure failure.
What Makes a Man: The challenge,
The challenge that presents itself then, is knowing how far to push, what motivates your son, and what his own passions are to help him achieve his own goals. Your personal goals are meaningless, there is an old phrase “you can bring a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink” this phrase is altruistic if nothing else. The meaning behind it is reasonably transparent, however many cannot grasp it.
What Makes a Man: The horse
Though a horse needs water to survive, if it is not thirsty it will not drink, yet if you ignore it and move on, the horse may die of thirst, so how can you avoid such a position? Why not bring the horse to the water and patiently wait for it to drink? A horse knows it needs water to survive like any other living creature, and its survival instincts will eventually take over, but forcing the horse to drink would likely cause it to drown.
What Makes a Man: Closing,
If there is one thing I would hope everyone takes from this, it is that each person is entitled to make his or her own choices, and their fate is for them to decide. Parent or not, it is not for us to impose our will on our children, rather we should simply steer them in the right directions where their path leads is up to them and is prone to changes over the course of time. Above all let them know you are proud of their accomplishments, and the same could be applied to nearly any relationship.