Going into college, I was anticipating entering a world that was both more mature and more solidified that high school. I was hoping for a world free from high school drama, free from “popular” people, free from confusion about who I was and what it meant to be me. Ultimately, I hoped that college would not only define what it meant to be a man, but that it would make it easy to become one.
You are supposed to go into college with a major, which will then define your life’s work. College is supposed to be the last step you take to becoming a “real adult.” After college, you get a job, a car, a house, and a family. This is the time in your life you are supposed to figure it all out and then go into the “real world” with confidence. All too often however, college is viewed as the last time in your life that you can act as a kid.
While I was anticipating that some people wouldn’t progress from high school to adulthood immediately, I was shocked to learn that people don’t change just because they are now in college. In fact, I have found the only difference between college and high school guys is that college guys will shake your hand when they meet you. All of this was a significant let-down, one that greatly depressed me about what would lie ahead in the next four years. But why was I so disappointed?
For much of my life I have looked to others for guidance. As a young child, I believed my parents were omniscient and invincible. As I grew older I saw there flaws but they were nowhere near as bad as mine. Then in high school, as most teenagers do, I decided my parents were ignorant, afraid, and deeply flawed. Basically, I had discovered that my parents were just as sinful as me and my world turned upside-down.
For the first time I needed to find someone else to look up to, someone else who was smarter than me and who could show me who I truly was in a world of such uncertainty and confusion. I was convinced I would find those type of people in college and I was sorely disappointed. I tried to discover my identity through other people and I found that most of them have no clue who they are either.
This post and the ones that follow is intended to answer, to the extent of my limited knowledge on the subject, what it means to be a man. While I have read many books, heard many talks, and done quite a bit of studying on my own in order to answer this question, my greatest and truest source of information has been my father. I don’t write that in order to claim that my dad is that greatest man ever, in fact I have probably seen more flaws in him than in any other man I know, but he is a man who has allowed God to be the highest influence in how he conducts his work, leads his family, and most importantly, how he guides his heart. As I said before, my intent is not to write about my dad specifically, but to write about what he has showed me it means to be a man.
In order to answer the question “what does it mean to be a man?”, I have decided on six attributes that I believe are biblical, and that I have seen in the life of my dad. They are (in a very specific and well-planned order): integrity, loyalty, love, humility, courage, and submission. While I’m sure there are many other words that could be used to define true manhood, these are the most important. I’m also sure that everyone has heard these words, heard how they apply to what it means to be a man, and have a predisposition to what their true value is. I ask that anyone reading what I have written would not blindly reject or accept what I have to say, but that you would challenge what I write with what has been written on your own heart.
I will be posting on the various attributes as soon as possible, but if you are reading this after I have already completed some, the links are below.