Manliness Doesn’t Just Happen

by Brett & Kate McKay on August 10, 2011 · 234 comments

in Uncategorized

TR: A Man of Action. A Man of Contemplation.

From time to time, readers will email me an article they’ve read that argues a point contrary to the message of the Art of Manliness and suggest that I respond to it. I have typically declined because I am of the idea that it’s better to act than to react and that the best thing to do is to keep on doing my thing, because the cream will simply rise to the top. And I don’t see the point in giving misguided opinions greater exposure.

But today I’d like to break that rule. Because a reader pointed out an article that addresses an issue I’ve seen pop up in comments here, and is something men might be wondering about. The article in question is entitled, “Male Identity,” and was published on Askmen.com. I don’t have a high opinion of that website–as I’ve stated before, those kinds of shallow men’s magazines are what prompted me to start the Art of Manliness in the first place. So the article itself really doesn’t warrant a response, but it will serve very well as an excellent jumping off point to explore an important issue.

The author, Ian Lang, begins the article by taking a swipe at the Art of Manliness, goes on to lament our culture’s preoccupation with being a man, and concludes by arguing that “real men” don’t worry about what it means to be a man.

There’s plenty to find fault with in the article from the author’s cherry picking of AoM articles, to his assertion that straight razor shaving is more expensive than using modern razors, to the irony of his criticism of male lifestyle websites on the biggest male lifestyle site on the web.

But today I just want to focus on these assertions:

“Finally, do you think your dad would enjoy lying in a field with you making daisy chains and contemplating what it means to be a man? No. He would tell you to work hard, that life doesn’t ever get easier and to stop being such a pussy.”

” To paraphrase perhaps the best teacher I ever had in school, you know you’re a man when you stop trying to prove that you are.”

“Real men don’t waste time worrying about it. Real men get on with their lives, whatever their lives may be…They don’t stop and ask what it means to be a man because they’re too busy being one for that kind of self-referential bullshit.”

Is Manhood Born or Made?

Lang’s argument is not uncommon—and should be expected from a generation that often eschews work and free choice in favor of a “born this way” ethic. But the assertion that a man just is only makes sense if you are ignorant of the historical record and/or believe that manhood is something that you exit the womb with or magically absorb through the ether as you grow up. Those who don’t come out of the womb endowed with manliness and a furry baby chest are thus lost causes.

But while you can be born genetically male, manliness is something that must be learned, earned, and proved.

While Lang paints the picture that our modern preoccupation with what it means to be a man and the desire to prove our manhood is a modern phenomenon, it’s actually a very ancient tradition. The desire to prove one’s manhood has been the driving force of males since our caveman days. And many of history’s greatest men not only pondered what it meant to be a man, but studied the question deeply throughout their lives. Teddy Roosevelt’s insecurity about and desire to prove his manhood is what drove him to preach the doctrine of the strenuous life and accomplish a lifetime of amazing feats.

Being preoccupied with what it means to be a man is not the aberration–the idea that men simply are and should just get on with it is the modern invention. It is a concept that flies in the face of thousands of years of tradition. In fact, I’d argue that Lang’s position–that real men don’t worry about what it means to be a man–is one of the biggest contributing factors to the sad state of many young Western men today.

Manliness Can Be Taught. And It Must Be.

“Anyone who has practiced what is good is ashamed to turn out badly. Manliness is teachable.” -Euripides, 423 BC

As we’ve highlighted countless times on the site, in almost every culture, in almost every time, societies have spent a great deal of time “worrying” about what it means to be a man. For thousands of years, men around the world had rites of passages that initiated them into manhood. Elders would take young men underneath their wings to ensure that they were properly taught how to perform the duties and responsibilities of a man. And once boys became men, maintaining their manhood was a lifelong preoccupation.

But in the past 50 years or so, we turned our back on that tradition. We stopped worrying about what it means to be a man. We no longer celebrate rites of passage into manhood. The books and speeches frequently given in times past on the topic of manliness and manhood have ceased. Mentors have disappeared. Society refuses to offer any concrete ideals of what it means to be a man lest we offend people and make others feel left out. So we let boys create their own idea of manhood and just expect them to figure out what it means to be a man on their own.

Without any clear guidance on what it means to be man, we shouldn’t be surprised that we have so many young men today coasting along in life stuck between adolescence and adulthood without any direction. That’s what you get when you don’t take the time to contemplate and study what it means to be a man.

One of the most important things that our ancestors understood, and we have forgotten, is that left to our own devices, humans will take the path of least resistance. Every time. In life we are constantly swimming against a great current–once we stop making an effort, the current pushes us downstream. Real life long-distance swimmers must consume a great deal of calories to fuel their progress. We too need fuel to drive our manliness–we must constantly be filling our tank with the best advice out there, writings from websites and books, advice from friends and family, to fuel our actions.

A Man of Contemplation, A Man of Action

It is truly a false dichotomy to say that “real men” don’t need to spend time thinking about manhood and that they should just get busy being men.

This is a very American idea of manliness, gleaned from cowboy and action movies–shoot first now and ask questions later. But if you’re a broader student of history and culture, you know that far from being mutually exclusive, contemplation and action go hand in hand.

Yes, a man should be a man of action. That is the end of his creation. But what is the means to that end? What kind of actions should he take? What is driving that action? What is the purpose of that action? What kinds of goals and priorities, values and morals should a man have? Contemplation is needed to answer these questions. Contemplation leads to right action.

No one would say to someone who wishes to be a scientist, “No need for studying–just get in the lab and do something!” The scientist must first study the basic principles of his field and then experiment, and then make discoveries. It is no different for manliness.

It is easy to point at our grandfathers and fathers, as Lang does, and say, “They were men and they didn’t worry about being men.” Sure, our grandfathers were men of action, but many had jobs that made them unhappy, were in unhappy marriages, didn’t know how to deal with the scars of war, and were distant and cold fathers. (And many were quite happy as well, of course!).

As far as our fathers go, many of the Baby Boomer generation worked too hard, got divorced, and failed to pass down the art of manliness to their sons. They didn’t take the time to think about what was truly important in life. How many men in our generation only wish their dad had spent some time with them “lying in a field with you making daisy chains and contemplating what it means to be a man.” Well, maybe not the daisy chain making part.

Neither action without contemplation, nor contemplation without action will get you very far in life. A man must learn to harness and balance each force.

Of course it also comes down to your definition of what constitutes “a real man.” It’s true that it doesn’t take much work to look at galleries upon galleries of hot babes of the week. But if you believe that being a man means living a life of virtue and excellence and reaching your full potential, then that won’t happen without a great deal of both study and effort.

This definition also means that studying and contemplating what it means to be a man does not necessarily mean reading only books specifically about manhood, although that can be beneficial. Rather it means engaging with works, both ancient and modern, and people that can teach you the virtues and practical skills you need to become the best man you can be. This covers a wide spectrum of subjects!

Is Manliness a Fad?

I do agree with Lang on a few things, mainly that the glut of hand-wringing articles about what is wrong with men is getting beyond tiresome and the commodification of manliness, and the resulting spate of man-focused products is unfortunate. We did just fine before the advent of bodywash designed just for us.

But the real danger in this resurgence of interest in manliness is not that it’s making men wimpy as Lang argues–quite the opposite as we’ve just discussed. Rather, the danger is that manliness will come to be seen as just another passing trend, like metrosexuality. There are books and tv shows coming out on the theme, endless newspaper and magazine articles, and social commentary galore. I fear that people will get tired of all the media attention, which will prompt a backlash, and an inevitable swing back in the other direction, back to where men don’t give a damn about being the best men they can be.

The return to true manliness advocated by AoM is not a trend or a fad, it is an effort to close the gap created during the past few decades and once again grasp the ancient tradition of manhood. One in which men contemplated what it meant to be a man and took action to attain that ideal.

{ 234 comments… read them below or add one }

201 Georgiaboy61 August 14, 2011 at 3:25 am

RobF., re: “Do not underestimate the power of a female mentor. They can feminize a man or make him more manly. It all depends on her view of what a manly man should be.” Rob, your statement has much going for it, but let me offer a different view – that of a former inner city school teacher, many of whose male students came from single-parent homes lacking a father or other male presence. Social science research conclusively proves that young males from single-parent female homes are more likely to succumb to social pathologies such as crime, drug use, dropping out of school, and unemployment than their counterparts from two-parent homes with fathers or other male authority figures. Male children do not “become” men simply by aging into adolescence and physical maturity, as females do to a large extent; they must be taught how to be men, by a father, coach, trusted teacher, coworker, clergyman, drill sergeant, or similar figure. This is no knock on the efforts of single mothers, many of whom have succeeded against the odds and manage to raise sons who are real men. These gals are literally heroic. Unfortunately, they are the exception and not the rule. There is really no substitute for a man who is there for you and helps guide you along the road of life. Boys need men to become men themselves.

202 Robert Black August 14, 2011 at 7:57 am

As you might already know, Lang’s criticisms were lobbed upwards into a sphere of reasoning he does not understand. I think your gentle and patient reply was both kind and well put. I appreciate these articles and ideas which do not include crass language and tend to always avoid direct criticism. We are in an online environment constantly where we always seem to quickly criticize quickly in order to assuage the sting of anything different from our perspective or preference. We do not all need to agree and certainly no one cares that our opinion is different nor is every article that is in opposition to our way of doing things a threat to us. Rather than developing true manliness we have been taught to attack anything that does not agree with our free spirits. Relativistic mumbo jumbo if you ask me. . . .

203 Smithy August 14, 2011 at 11:48 am

Calling people who are passionate or enthusiastic about an idea insane or cult-like is as about a lazy an argument as can be made. It’s an attack on people without making an actual, logical argument. I don’t think people who read AoM are enthusiastic about Brett, who to his credit has not made this site some cult of personality like we see with someone like Tim Ferris. They’re just passionate about the sound, timeless principles behind it. Maybe some are blind followers, but I doubt it. The comments on this site are way above the level of most websites, and speak to a very educated readership. I myself have my doctorate in economics–hardly a brainwashed dolt!

I took the time to read Lang’s rebuttal and it hurt his case even further. So many logical fallacies and inconsistencies its hard to know where to begin. From saying you can’t use history to support your argument and then doing just that himself, to saying you should contemplate things but not manliness because it’s abstract. So things that are abstract aren’t worth pondering??? Peace, love, God, the meaning of life?

If rallying around a sound, well-reasoned argument is insane, then I am a indeed a crazy man…

204 Baradoch August 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Well, this article generated a lot of response, caused a flame war, and a few bruised egos. As a single Dad of two teenaged men, I have to agree with Bret on this. My boys are 16 and 17, but when they were 9 and 10, I told them that in ages past when boys turned 12 they were considered men, and the same would be expected of them.
They had to actively figure out what that meant, and I wasn’t slack in my teaching either.
Today they are outstanding students, know how to work hard, don’t look to women as sources of pleasure but are preparing themselves to be husbands (and are looking forward to that), know how to love others and look out for their needs, are gentle, strong, patient, kind, longsuffering, and know what they want in life.
They didn’t just “become” men, they had to mold themselves. They looked at standards in the Bible and the community, past examples, and listened when I talked with them.
At school, most of the boys there are listless, don’t know what they want, and too many are effeminate.
I dare say that there are very few examples of real men today, and the feminizing of men and masculizing of women has to stop. What is good is viewed as evil, and what is evil is viewed as good, in the sight of our society.

205 Kyle Clouse August 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm

What it meant to be a man 50, 100 years ago is far different then what it means to be a man today. Are we the better or worse for it? I would suggest we are the worse.

It used to actually mean something to be a hard worker, earn by the sweat of your brow, and never accept a handout. Now we live in a society full of freeloaders mingled with an entitled mentality.

Concerning the current recession I’ve asked myself if we would still be in it, had this happened with the same caliber of men that we had 100 years ago. I think not. 100 years ago real men didn’t wait on the government or anyone or anything else to get something done.

They did or they died. What a great thought process.

206 Taylor August 15, 2011 at 2:04 am

What an excellent article. A wildland firefighter I know once told me that, “There are a limited number of choices to be made in any given situation. Either you make them, or by God, they’ll be made for you.”

207 CoffeeZombie August 15, 2011 at 11:18 am

Well, I was one of the ones who suggested discussing the AM article, and I have been negligent in joining the discussion. Boy, it has gotten pretty big…I haven’t had time to read all the comments here, but I feel the obligation to post my own thoughts, so I will respond to the articles directly rather than the comments (forgive me).

While I am a big fan of AoM, when I read Lang’s AM article, something really resonated with me. Upon reflection, I think Lang’s article actually resonated with many of the same parts of me that AoM’s articles usually hit (though I’ve had a hard time putting this into words, hence my delay in jumping into this fray).

To borrow from my wife’s thoughts here, I think the key is that the Art of Manliness seems to focus on manliness, not so much in opposition to being womanly, but in opposition to boyishness or childishness. The fact that manliness pertains to men, who are not women, is certainly inherent to the pursuit, but the goal is not “don’t be effeminate” but, rather, “be an adult, be a man, not a child.” This manliness, of course, must be learned; it cannot be merely inherited.

The “manliness” that is often promoted by sites such as AskMen is not manliness in the AoM sense, rather, it is mere masculinity. Masculinity is opposed to femininity, but not necessarily to childishness. It is not hard to find very masculine, 40-year-old boys. This is the form of “manliness” that I found Lang to be really attacking (note that he harps as much, if not more, on AskMen, the very site his article appears on, than on AoM); that formless, purposeless “manliness” that amounts to little more than “don’t be a pussy.”

And that purpose is, I think, what makes the biggest difference. Whenever I’ve seen attempts at recovering manliness and/or masculinity as ends in themselves, it seems like they end up becoming caricatures. They do things, or buy products, simply because they believe that they are things men do or things men buy. To borrow from Sherwood Anderson’s book, Winesburg, Ohio, they take the truth of manliness, in and of itself, and make it, alone, their truth, and become grotesques.

To take one of the AoM articles Lang mentioned as an example, when we take up “old fashioned” shaving (be it straight razor or safety razor) because it provides a better shave, or because it helps us slow down in the morning, or because it’s more frugal than disposable razors, or perhaps even simply for the sake of connecting with our forebears in the past, that could be called manly. When we take up “old fashioned” shaving simply because it’s “manly” to do so, then we are, indeed, well on the way to becoming a grotesque, a caricature of manliness.

208 Steve August 15, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Took a quick look at http://www.askaman.com. One question came to mind. Why would a man care to read what a woman thinks a man should be? If you want to emulate men be around them. If you want a woman’s opinion, read cosmo, etc…

209 Adam August 15, 2011 at 9:35 pm

You said: “The books and speeches frequently given in times past on the topic of manliness and manhood have ceased.” Could you post an article about this?

210 Sir DySart August 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Who-rah AOM! Straight forward, elegantly executed, assertive, and refined all at once. The very essence of being a man;knowing how to execute a healthy debate through knowledge and research, and not trajectory, as Lang did. Lang has lost his way, poor chap, and may not grasp this social complexity of what you’ve talked about. A real man should be able to have something more to say in a discussion contrary to “dude you’re a douche”.

211 Dan August 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm

CoffeeZombie: Hear Hear! A most skillfully distilled response.

While every male should instinctively know how not to be a pussy, only a truly great male knows how to be a Man.

212 ---Simon--- August 17, 2011 at 5:03 am

Being a man is something that fades for each day in our emasculating society. I see guys each day that wouldn’t know a chainsaw from an anvil and it sickens me.
All the fathers out there should harden up and pass on some of that good knowledge.

213 Ryan C August 17, 2011 at 6:48 am

Thank you for this post Brett and Kate. As others commenters like Robert Black have mentioned, it’s rare and endearing to see a logical, intelligent response to a debate on the internet nowadays.

You’ve gained a new reader today; I’m looking forward to learn from this place as much as I can.

214 Shawn Wesley Steam August 17, 2011 at 12:35 pm

@Steve, above: re: “Why would a man care to read what a woman thinks a man should be?”

Why would a man care? Because a real man will respect and cherish his wife, and a real man will respect, and cherish his mother. A real man will recognize that without women, we cannot exist as a species.

We may not always agree with the advice of our spouse, but that doesn’t mean we do not respect their thoughts and minds.

215 Anna August 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I have lurked on this website for a little while and I hope you don’t mind if a woman posts. I have noticed a few women leaving comments, but given the title it’s understandable it is mostly men.

I came across this website through a Google search because I was looking for a bit of relationship advice and was a bit at a loss understanding things from a male perspective. The many hits I got on my internet search included AskMen.com and other similarly inclined websites. The advice on those websites ranged from how to get a woman in bed quickly, to that a “real man” would never show his female partner his true feelings and/or let her really know him etc… To say the least it was depressing. I read so many articles on those types of websites I started to wonder if this is really how men today think.

When I found this website it was a refreshing breath of air. From what I have read here both in the articles, as well as the comments, the men posting advice and/or asking questions are just a considerably higher caliber of men than the average male in the world today.

I am very grateful to have found this website, and those AskMen people ought to change their name to AskMalcontents. :-)

216 Thomas Sullivan August 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm

What makes Craig and Ian Banks so nervous about this site is that it espouses a moral view of manliness, something that doesn’t sit well with a certain kind of modern man for whom manliness consists of “getting laid”, playing videogames and masturbating to internet porn. Morality is unwelcome because it sets limits and obligations.

I don’t hold Brett as a guru or view this site as a cult, for it’s actually a rather mix bag of veryit heterogeneous contents and attracts very diverse readership. What I like about it is that it offers a refreshing alternative to the childish view of masculinity so prevalent.

217 MarshFox August 18, 2011 at 12:14 am

To Brett,
I have for some time been a regular reader of your site. I have found nothing on here that would suggest to me that yours is a fadish trend. As to AskMen, never heard of them. I have been a Marine for over 23 years and been around a few real men in my life time. They are always comtemplative, and also action oriented to say the least. From me to you, keep doing what your doing, take care of the wife and child, and continue striving to be a man for them and those around you. It aint a popularity contest, nor a sporting match. Do what needs done and said what needs said even if it isn’t popular. I am in Afghanistan right now, trust me your website is a constant source of thought and inspiration for me. I will leave you with two very important lessons that I have learned from some real men, and they have helped me survive multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. “This is a marathon not a sprint” in reference to those who thing manliness from this website is a fad, in other words till the end you strive to slow and steady be a man. The other is “think like a man of action, act like a man of thought” , I am sure you will agree that one needs no explanation, and it vindicates your point nicely. Take care Brett, keep doing what you are doing. One request, maybe something on the founding fathers.

218 Andrew Miiller August 18, 2011 at 9:43 pm

I just wanted to thank Brett McKay for his book, The Art of Manliness. Along with Aubrey Andelin’s, Man of Steel and Velvet, and Conn Iggulden’s, Dangerous Book for Boys, it is the best book on true masculinity I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

219 Steve August 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Shawn, I couldn’t agree with you more. I did learn a great deal from my mother and am still learning from my wife. However, I was referring to the article, which neither my wife nor my mother wrote.

220 Escher Mosely August 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

Well done.

221 Edin August 22, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Excellent article, Brett. Congratulations. I am sick of feminist bull s… and metrosexual freaks around us. Long live Band of Brothers.

222 Robert August 23, 2011 at 1:59 am

I, over the years, was an avid reader of Askmen. But there was always something about their articles that bothered me. They would write articles that sometimes contradicted each other and they came off as a bit sleazy sometimes. It also felt like i was under pressure to be their form of men and I was never comfortable with that. So i have to thank you for AoM which has taught me things that make me feel like a man more than Askmen ever has and I feel comfortable in being the man I am. Thank you.

223 Brian C. Rideout August 23, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I wanted to thank you for the simple clarity of this article. It helped capture something I have been struggling to articulate on my own weblog for some time now. I wanted to be sure to direct you to my own entry linking both yours and Mr. Lang’s.

http://wildman.newworldscoaching.ca/?p=331

Keep ‘em coming!

224 Jared B August 27, 2011 at 9:35 am

I have read a few articles from AskMen.com before, just to see what other opinions on being a man are. Time and time again I read something on that site or others like it that contradict either themselves or this site. Hands down, this is the best site I have found on manly advice. Other sites are all about “Let’s get LAID!” This site seems to suggest that if you just try to be the best man you can be, things like that will come naturally, if you want them to. Let’s focus on becoming better people and creating a better world for our children, then we’ll focus on making babies. Ha ha.

225 Timothy Long August 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm

That’s what I call effective apologetics for true manliness. This article will strengthen the resolve of many men.

226 Brandon L August 31, 2011 at 4:25 pm

The AoM site rocks all.

I am certain that we are not cut from the same cloth as our grandfathers, and this site serves as a constant reminder to try harder, be stronger, act bolder, think deeper, and care more. It does not try to sell sex or objectify women. It just encourages me to be the best man I can be.

Something was lost in the chain of teaching traditions from father to son. This site helps fill in that void, and for that I am truly thankful.

PS: I’m with you: the cream will rise to the surface. To heck with what others say.

227 Rick September 4, 2011 at 8:36 pm

We are males at birth but you gotta choose to be a man. – Herman Edwards

228 Dr. Way January 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I am new to your site, but I am thrilled with what I have seen so far. I think you are right on target. Men are the most vulnerable segment of our society. I could go on for hours about how the father deprivation issue in our cultural has devastated the masculine world. Fathering has been my major field of study for over 40 years and boys need fathers to become men. As Burt Reynolds commented on the Tonight Show some years back, a boy becomes a man when his father tells him he is one.
What we have in our cultural are a lot of males who are stuck in prolonged adolescence…they see the excesses of the world as the playground for males. Like true adolescents they hope from chick to chick, drinking more, fighting more because they admire physically tough cage fighters, and they vicariously identify with the professional athletes or movie heroes and think that is what a real man is.
Most are posers, thinking they are tough, sophisticated, winners and that their bullying is true masculinity. Just because they can smoke more drink more and can bag more ladies…they think they are a real man.
The real men are the guys who don’t just impregnate the woman but they do the noble thing and hang around to be a responsible father. men who make the choice to really be Fathers are the true heroes. Dr. Way

229 Steve G March 26, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Great article. I agree that manliness is a learned trait, but not always by specific, or intentional teaching. Men are often a product of their fathers, and their perception of their fathers. But as you pointed out, the last generation or two were often times not happy, lost on what it meant to be a man. Their world was changing and they didn’t know what to do about it. The advent of dual incomes, women’s rights (I’m all for them), the nuclear family changed in the late 60’s and 70’s and a lot of men didn’t know what to do with that. Increase in corporate marketing and technologies in products had a role as well, I’m not a sociology major so I can’t get into too much detail there. I am just glad for those who didn’t follow the sometimes lost role their fathers did or didn’t teach them, there’s a sight like AOM where guys can read history, theory and experiences of real manhood, not so much to copy, but to learn from and forge their own path to manliness so their son’s won’t have to wonder what it means to be a man.

230 Augustin June 14, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I read Ian Lang’s article and I do like it, but I think Brett was right to criticise his words on not worrying.

I think AskMen has its heart in the right place, but I dislike the way they go about it sometimes. I barely go on it anyway.

231 Andrew July 26, 2013 at 11:54 pm

I think other media outlets that are catered towards men are confused and have misconceptions about AoM. They associate the website with brylcreem, straight razors, and old spice and say, “why would men want to read this kind of stuff?” I think our society knows that there’s a problem with young boys and men. Some chose to say its women’s time now, some chose to lament about it but do nothing about how to fix it. I thank Mr. Brett McKay for recognizing a problem with young boys and men and decided to find a solution. AoM is not the single answer to the problem with men, but it should be a starting point for every man to begin his journey to become a better man.

232 Andrew July 27, 2013 at 12:28 am

Askmen’s slogan is become a better man, it should really be become a better man though consumerism, sex, and money. While the art of manliness slogan is revving the lost art of manliness. I feel that I’ve learned more about being a man and manly skills from AoM than any other men’s magazine.

233 E. Jason McGhee August 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm

This article outlines the sort of depravity and entitlement attitude contained in sites like askmen.com and Maxim.com that lead me to artofmanliness in the first place. You are right Brett; cream will rise to the top….and detritus will sink to the bottom. Keep spreading the good word and message.

234 Ariosto_m January 17, 2014 at 12:32 pm

This is an extremely well written argument on the reasons I understand you created this website, and men like myself, keep looking (and finding) in it, sources of inspiration and of meditation on being a men.

I read your website from the Dominican Republic, and even with the cultural differences between the writers (Brett and Kate), collaborators and commentators, I still feel related to many things you say about responsibility and some lack of guidance from our fathers. And as Coffezombie said, quoting his wife, this site is not about the opposition of being a woman, but about stop being a child.

“One of the most important things that our ancestors understood, and we have forgotten, is that left to our own devices, humans will take the path of least resistance…”

Although I can assert that my father showed many traits of a complete man, I feel he left somethings for myself to figure out; and it was not until my late twenties that I actually started feeling (and therefore acting) like a man. And I am still in the process of understanding some of the things he did and some of the ways in which he lived his life, because he never took the time to explain them to me. I feel that he thought I would eventually understand. And I have. But I took time.

If my father had taken the time of telling me and guiding me, perhaps not be“..lying in a field with you making daisy chains…” (I read the article before reading your post), but talking and listening to me, I would have being richer experience and that’s exactly what our generation needs.

Hopefully with my son, (barely 11 months old), and the help of sites like this one and books about being a man, I can accompany him find his voice as a man.

I recommend a book by French-Canadian psychologist Guy Corneua, “Absent Fathers, Lost Sons: The Search for Masculine Identity”, on a generation left on its own devices in finding how to be a man.

Thanks again for and outstanding post.

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