Success in life requires being properly related to truth. While individual truths are often simple, the fact that there are thousands of them makes synthesizing and applying them to our lives a complicated endeavor. This makes balance and calibration crucial. If we embrace one truth (or a facet of truth) while neglecting a related truth (or facet), then we will be out of balance and improperly calibrated. In order to find our way as men, we must embrace and properly calibrate these truths, even those that are paradoxical or seemingly contradictory. We must find the proper balance.
Here’s what I mean:
- Truth: Men need to lead their families. The Balance: Men sometimes need to follow the lead of their wives or girlfriends.
- Truth: Men need to demand excellence from their children. The Balance: Men sometimes need to back off and give their children space to think for themselves and to fail.
- Truth: Men are responsible for their families. The Balance: Men sometimes need to delegate responsibility for certain tasks.
- Truth: Men need to build their strength. The Balance: Men sometimes need to rest, recover, and take time off.
- Truth: Men need to provide financially for their families. The Balance: Men sometimes need to recognize the income-producing potential of their wives.
- Truth: Men need to seek out worthy men, join their lives with such men, and receive their counsel, instruction, criticism, support, and accountability. The Balance: Men need to pursue what is in their hearts, regardless of the skepticism, ridicule, or cowardice of others.
- Truth: Men need to spend significant time with their wives, their children, and with other men. The Balance: Men need to be able to break away and be alone.
- Truth: Men need to be capable of violence. The Balance: Men sometimes need to avoid fights or danger.
- Truth: Men need to be disciplined in their training and diet. The Balance: Men need to feast and enjoy the good things of life.
- Truth: Men need to be mentally tough and emotionally resilient. The Balance: Men need a tenderness and compassion that drives them to protect and provide.
- Truth: Men need to stir and win their wives sexually. The Balance: Men need to understand that their wives are not stirred and won in the same manner as they are.
- Truth: Men are enthralled by the sight of a beautiful woman. The Balance: Men sometimes need to turn away from that enthrallment.
There are thousands of others. In our day, traditional masculinity is eschewed either as unnecessary or undesirable. As a result, men are pointed towards an alternate version of manhood that is itself completely unbalanced. Men are told to focus on supporting their wives and helping them to achieve. They are told to not be so hard on their children, to be more nurturing. They’re told to do more laundry and dishes. They’re told to give in rather than argue. They’re told to get in touch with their emotions and to share them frequently. They’re told to be nicer. They’re told to run from danger. They’re told to recognize and honor strong women. They’re told to teach their daughters to be strong and their boys to be kind. They’re told to get rid of their guns and never to fight. They’re told to step back and let women run things for a while.
Because it is unbalanced, this emphasis will never lead to a good life experience for men. Men have it in their hearts to lead. To build and unleash strength. To take risks. To hang out with other men and compete, eat, drink, and laugh. Toughness is natural to us. Outside of a traumatic experience, we don’t want to cry or talk about how we feel. We want to lead and protect. We want to be courageous. We want to be violent. And in our day, after years of being told to repress these inclinations, men need to be unleashed. We need to emphasize and develop our masculinity. If we don’t, we’ll never be the men we long to be. There will be a restlessness. A yearning. An enjoyment of the easy road but a discontentment with what is missing. Men cannot have a good life experience without embracing masculinity.
But, as we pursue true masculinity, as we pursue our proper role as leaders (kings, if you will), we must not become unbalanced in our relationship to truth. We must not throw out the baby with the bathwater. We must remember and apply truth in its fullness. As the saying goes, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like nail. As we emphasize and develop our manhood, let us be mindful of balance, lest our manhood become the oppressive force and blunt object that our detractors claim it to be. This doesn’t mean we water down our masculinity. It doesn’t mean that we compromise or meet in the middle. It means we embrace our masculinity to the fullest and use it to promote the well-being of our families and communities.
Our role as men is to develop strength, courage, skillfulness, friendships, toughness, and resolve, then apply those virtues in a balanced manner to enhance our world. To protect our families and communities. To provide for them. To lead them. This is the man’s life.
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