A Conversation About Masculinity


My ears perked up so quickly I thought they’d leap off my head. The comment I had just heard had all kinds of possibilities running through my head.

I had just finished a home Bible study with three women. These women shared several things in common: they are Christians, attend church regularly, are single mothers, and are of the same race. I don’t know them well enough yet to know the details of their individual backgrounds, but since my wife and I are starting a church and have these ladies as our first home group, I know that I will learn more about them. And the fact that I heard the comment that I heard from one of these ladies leads me to believe that I will learn a lot about how women view men.

The comment was this: “We women need to let our men be men.” And what I hope to find out is, what does this mean?

I suspect the expectation behind “let men be men” has to do with a few different factors:

A biblical standard. Knowing what I know so far about this lady, she has a biblical worldview. The Bible is first-hand source material on manhood and womanhood; after all, it does chronicle the creation of men and women.

A set of experiences. This lady is younger than me and from a different cultural background. What we have in common is we have grown up with a preset expectation for men based on the men that raised us and have been in our lives. I see it from a male perspective (what should I do/be as a man?) while she sees it as a female (what men around her should be like). I have had a pretty positive experience with my father and other men that influenced me. What has hers been like? I don’t know yet, but I am certain it plays into what her statement means.

A future hope. This lady has an energetic 2-year-old son. What is he to turn out to be? Because of our past experiences, we can see the things that we missed out on when “men weren’t men.” Whether we ever express it or not, there have been men- fathers, husbands, boyfriends, or family members- that we would have loved to have been different. These men acted on their experiences growing up as boys, and on what they thought those close to them wanted or needed from them as men. In the worst cases, these men had little or no regard for the impact they had as men and portrayed all the wrong aspects of what a man can be. So even if you or I missed out on something from the men in our lives, we still have a hope for the men we raise up- our sons, brothers, and young men looking to us as counselors and role models.

I’m looking forward to this conversation. Will you join in? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh

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