Being a male is a matter of birth, being a man is a matter of choice, a quote by Dr. Edwin Louis Cole has helped me to understand we all have a tough decision to make. I am male, but am I a man? How do I know if I am a man or not? Who do I ask? Is my dad supposed to let me know? What if I don’t have a dad, who then? Does my mom let me know?

How do I become a man?

This dilemma is prevalent across the world, but even more so in the US. To the points made in the video, the lack of dire circumstances can hinder the mindset of awareness and protector.However, when we look at areas that are riddled with crime and gang activity, that’s not the case. The boys growing up without a dad or with an absentee father, especially in a gang run area, find themselves looking for belonging. When you look at the boys who are in suburban areas that are playing Fortnite and Call of Duty, thinking they know what a “sniper” is in reference to any weapon with a scope, you can start to understand the weakness and lack of leadership mentality of these boys. The real answer is the image. In order to first understand how to answer the question, ” what is a man” we have to understand that the answer lies in an image. This is where people inevitably look through their memory and try to figure out the image that associates with that word. That’s the struggle. Helping younger generations to have the right image of “Man” and “Manhood.”Personally, I find the answer simple at this point in my life. As a 39-year-old, I grew up at the end of generation X and the start of the millennial generation. A few years ago I found myself trying to understand what my image of manhood and man are. I would challenge you to try this exercise. Close your eyes, and think of the word man. Then say manhood aloud to yourself, still with your eyes closed. What image do you see? Maybe it’s a series of images. Maybe your dad, or your grandfather. Maybe you an uncle or brother. Maybe an athlete. Maybe a soldier. Admittedly, many of these images come up for me, but a lot of what I see in my mind are society’s images. Not my own, not the real image of what should be there, but instead it’s what years of subjection to commercials and marketing have decided that manhood is. We quickly associate our image of manhood as this chiseled jaw, muscular, athletic guy. For some, he has a beard. I know, I just described Chris Hemsworth as Thor. But seriously, this is what we envision and it’s all because of what society has ingrained in us. The truth is, manhood is much more than that. Sure, tough competitive, warrior and all those things are what should be there, but we need more. In order to be complete, we need three elements aligned. We need Mental, Physical and Spiritual strength. To fully understand the image of what it means to be a real man, we must look to Jesus Christ. Jesus was God in the flesh, as a man. He demonstrated true manhood. He demonstrated physical strength in His ability to endure. He demonstrated his toughness when he stood firm during his torture and crucifixion.
Jesus demonstrated mental strength when dealing with the Pharisees and those who would challenge Him. He demonstrated Spiritual strength when the devil tempted Him, when He prayed before His capture, He was continually demonstrating his strengths. From the image of Jesus, we can start to understand the true depths of what it means to be a Man. We can actually start to define true manhood. Jesus showed love, compassion, anger and most of all, resolve to stand firm in His faith. These things are the attributes of true manhood. I would encourage you to challenge your image of manhood and make sure you have the right image. If not, then read John 15 and you will find the way to correct your image.

William Henry-MCI