Manning Up… Is multiple part series on what I have learned, and know, over the course of my lifetime thus far of what a good man, a good father, a good friend, and a good husband should be, or at least strive to be. Please keep in mind, there is no perfect man, nor perfect father, nor perfect friends, or perfect husband as we are all human, make mistakes, and yes fail. The key here is strive to be, to learn to be, and to learn, grow and improve by learning from our mistakes, and failures while gaining wisdom along the way, and then teaching that wisdom to others, especially our loved ones, and those that authentically seek out that wisdom, and strive to practice it in their own lives.
So with this multiple part series, I start out with, The Introduction
Looking at myself, and my life as a boy growing into a man, I have often had the mindset to always improve, to grow as a person and as a man. I wanted to be the best version of myself, and later as my faith grew as I got involved in church, and ministries, to be a better man of God.
Raising two daughters and one son has been an honor, privilege, and blessing. Unfortunately most of it was part time as a divorced dad with the ‘Standard Order of Parenting” being about 4 days a month, three hours on Wednesdays and 5 of the 10 weeks of summer. However, I made the best of it and strived to make the time attentive, engaging, educational, fun, nurturing, and rewarding. To be the very best dad every moment that my children were with me. I wanted to be the manly example my daughters would eventually seek out in a man to future husband, and a manly example my son would seek to become as a man. Did I get it right every time or every moment? I would say I probably didn’t. However, I did my best, and let God take care of the rest. If I made a mistake or failed in some manner, I owned it, sought out forgiveness if and when I was wrong, and strived to always learn from my mistakes and failures. I have and still do teach this perspective to my children as well.
Fatherlessness is also a frightful epidemic that has decayed both the family model, and moral decay of society. It is often overlooked, but the statistics of fatherless homes is alarming which contributes to teenage crime, alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, and suicide. I will expound upon this topic in more detail later in this series, however, here is a link to a good article on the subject: https://www.fatherhood.org/father-absence-statistic
This is also another reason I place quality time with my children as a priority, nearly above all else. In a divorced situation, please remember the children didn’t divorce their parent. It is, and was not, their fault. They should enjoy both parents, and enjoy simply being a kid in which has a very actively engaged parent, both of the mother, and of the father.
To my friends, as I matured, I sought to be the best friend a person could have. To my male friends, I strived to demonstrate honor, loyalty, and respect. Some appreciated that, looked up to me, and we shared knowledge, wisdom, commadary, accountability, and grew in our friendships, while others took friendships for granted, disrespected not only my time, but their own time, and were not loyal, did not understand the concept of respect, and neither demonstrated or knew the deep meaning of honor.
Throughout my life growing up from a boy, to a teenager and then to a man, I have had a lot of “friends”, and my circles were large. Some may say having a lot of “friends” is a good thing. However, that is not typically true, as your own time is limited, and becomes more limited as you marry, advance in your career, and have children. Remember there is only so much time in a day. Time is priceless and precious and once it elapses it is gone. You cannot buy more time, and you cannot go back in the past. If you say you have a very large circle of friends, then I would say how would you be able to invest quality time with so many others, while investing quality time with your spouse, children, education, hobbies, self-improvement, and in your career?
There are friends that will be by your side for a season, possibly for a reason that could be spiritually orchestrated. There are friends that will be in your life through your ups and downs providing you encouragement, inspiration as well as accountability, then there are friends whom were not truly friends at all that sought to leverage or use you for their own gain, or when tough times come, they are not by your side, gone, or even betray you, and your trust. I have a very small circle of friends now and over the last decade or so, not just because time is priceless and precious, but having friends is not about the quantity, it is about the quality. In addition, remember that a person becomes an average of their 5 closest friends. With that being said, and known, we should all choose wisely.
Dating, and marriage is not what it once was or thought to be in today’s society. I could write an entire novel on this subject and my own personal experience, and what I have witnessed with other friends, family and acquaintances whether Christian or not. Please keep in mind, just because someone says he or she is a Christian, doesn’t mean their marriage is “Christian”, or will last the test of time. Many people have rushed into marriage over a fleeting crush, hormones, looks, perceived image, and emotions with out taking into an account what the covenant of marriage truly is and means. Speaking from a man’s perspective since this article is titled, “Manning Up”, a man needs to first know who he is, where he has been, where he is going, what he is about, and to Whom he serves before he should even consider marriage or a serious dating relationship. Some may say to me, “what makes you an expert, especially since you have been divorced?” My reply would often be, “that is a good question, and I would have to say something like this; it’s by my mistakes, learning and growing from those mistakes, and working with men’s groups, men’s divorce recovery groups, deep studies on relationships, psychology classes, a mental health certification, and a deep self discovery held over years learning who I am, what I am about, and to Whom I serve which included learning my Spiritual Gifts well, my 5 love Languages, and my Meyers Briggs Yungs Typology Personality has provided some expertise and has helped me make better decisions in relationships, and advising or counseling others in relationships. Besides, if you make a few huge mistakes in your life, you tend to strive not to make those mistakes again, or at the very least learn well from them and be rather cautious and discerning. And if you do not learn from those mistakes, that is simply being foolish to potentially repeating them.
In this introduction I must begin with what 10 characteristics, or marks of a good to great man is. To provide some insight on how this series will unfold, allow me to share those 10 characteristics below which precedes a video devotional I did several years ago.
It seems many boys strive to seek their masculine identity starting around as early as the age of 10. If they do not find it at home, they will find it somewhere, in something, or someone. So as a man, a father, a soul that desires to chase the “Beautiful Outlaw” in Jesus Christ, what do I think are some great attributes of a good male role model? In other words, what do I ardently believe, from my years on this earth, think the Marks of a Great Man are? I agree with much of what Pastor Brian Tome shares in his book, “The 5 Marks of a Man”, as well as what Author John Eldredge and the leader and founder of Ransomed Heart Ministries, shares in many of his books. However, I am going to list my opinion, perspective and thoughts in a Top 10:
- A Man is a man of his word. His word is his bond. He exudes integrity in all that he says and does. “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” — Proverbs 11:3. “The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” — Proverbs 12:22.
- A good Man is not a harmless man, a good man is a very dangerous man that has it all under voluntary control. “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;” — Psalm 144:1. “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe” — Luke 11:21. “When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.” — Nehemiah 4:14
- A Man loves his wife and children in words, actions & deed. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” — Ephesians 5:25. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4–8. “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” — Romans 12:9
- A Man can admit where and when he was wrong, apologize & seek forgiveness with humility. “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” — James 5:16.
- A Man strives to learn from his mistakes and improve. “For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity” – Proverbs 24:16. “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,” — Philippines 3:13
- A Man takes a minority position for what is honorable, true, and right even if he has to stand alone. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” — Deuteronomy 31:6
- A Man has a vision. He regularly sets goals, strives to achieve them. “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”- Psalm 20:4. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” — Proverbs 29:18
- A Man is a provider and a protector. “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” — 1 Timothy 5:8
- A Man is a team player. He realizes to be the best he looks to not only a core team, a close and wise circle of influence, but thinks more of those around him, and the team, than he does himself only, be encouraging, inspiring and helping one another with accountability. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” — Proverbs 27:17. “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” — Proverbs 18:24
- A Man works and takes pride in what he does as it is good to work, no matter what job, career or position, he works hard as to the Lord and not unto mankind. He ardently pursues excellence in his work, at home, and whatever he lays his hands to, but not perfectionism. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going” — Ecclesiastes 9:10. “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[a] serve the Lord.” — Romans 12:11. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” – Colossians 3:23
My hope is what I have written so far is a good introduction and sets the tone for this multiple part series. I may add to this “Introduction” to touch it up a bit along the way, so check back.
I will expound upon fatherhood, true non fair weather friendship, relationships, dating, marriage, in what I deem in a masculine manner. I will share what I truly believe a good man is, should continually strive to be, and what masculinity is, and what it is not, in the following parts of this series. I will invite male guests to contribute, which may include women guests to provide a female perspective, opinion and input. I may add audio podcasts, and videos similar to above along the way. So book mark this page, subscribe to this blog, subscribe to the podcast and YouTube Channel, and let’s walk this series out as a journey together.