See, every time I go home, my father’s welcome remark always is, ‘How are you, young man?’ Oh! I love it! I love the fact that he recognizes the young man in me, the man he has contributed to raising. To write about him would cost me more than 1500 words, I love my father, he’s the best I could ever have. I desire to follow in his footsteps. I have other men in my life, my mentors. Three of them are married with beautiful families, one has a recent and a young family and one of them is ‘no’.
That I am no longer a boy fascinates and scares me at the same time. How I found the boldness to pen this I can’t tell, I live in a glasshouse, period. Writing this is like a pot that has milk on the inside and can only leak what’s on the inside. Any man would understand that conversation makes an interesting man. Reading makes an informed man but writing makes an exerting man. So, let me write! I have seen and read about broken men, broke men, addicted men, seen men who refused to graduate from boyhood, stuck in the young manhood, boys who did not have men to guide them into manhood, boys who are bitter about the present yet absent men in their lives, I have seen men who abandoned their roles to the women they were meant to protect, men who did not give their women space to become all they could be.
Isn’t it beautiful and scary that men have such a robust role in the current society, in fact since planet earth inception? A study by me found out that 92% of the society’s problems were as a result of the absence of a man (father) in the house. It further concluded that between boyhood and manhood lies two things; personal accountability through responsibility and the ability to transition from consumer to producer. My younger brother just turned 18, last week he was yapping about it. I can confidently say he’s still a boy consuming my mother’s food, sleeping in my mother’s compound, you get the point? There are things I really want him to know before he graduates from that stage. A boy can become a man so fast! Nonetheless, manhood has less to do with age.
Look, before you get it all twisted, this is a highly opinionated piece. (Of course, informed, in my own terms) I understand manhood has three to four stages; boyhood, young-manhood and manhood. The fourth you can ask Mutahi Ngunyi. Trust me, the satirical assertion from the millennial in me that comes with this piece is mine to let out and yours to make conclusions. An article as short as this wouldn’t bring it out as it should. All the same, enjoy!
A very good friend of mine recently shared two videos on this subject and asked me to watch and give a review. Afterwards, I realized how badly I wanted to become a man and not just a male. Of course, all of us are born males (over 3.7 billion males) but to become a man is a choice. Then I remembered there are many males but few men, many men but few fathers out there. To find the man in me would mean that I become the man in me and I realized it was going to be a process. Yes, I am confused as you are.
See, I so badly wanted to tell you that a man is a brand, that a man is as good as his purpose, that a man is a protector. That he does not abuse (beat) that which he is meant to protect. See, I wanted to let you know that a man must be calm, that he’s the one that puts out all the fires and calms all the storms, that he is a solution. All, I wanted to tell you was that many grown males are accomplished but only men-real men are successful. I know you don’t want to hear me say no man can measure his success beyond the success of his family, no you think that’s not true.
See, you are laughing at me when I say a man must be a reader, that the leadership cast on him demands that he should not lead on an empty head. Yes, you are in stitches when I say that a man must invest in a library of books. That the man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read sounds like another COVID19 update but this time with the CS for Health as Mark Twain? See, you are telling me to see my life! I have! And I have realized that just like Douglas Wilson said, “if boys don’t learn, men won’t know”. Did you hear me say that men are meant to be mentors? No, you dint get it, you still think that men cannot be vulnerable, see you think that men’s past experiences and insecurities do not catch up with them. That the present men are living with the anti-image of their absent fathers as their yardstick to bring up their sons, they have set what their fathers wasn’t as their standard, to give their sons what their fathers did not give them. No, I won’t tell you that.
Isn’t that a paradox? Isn’t the benchmark supposed to be God the Father? That men who were never fathered need other men for accountability to change and grow is something you do not want to hear me say? Perhaps you are a macho man (an abused word indeed), perhaps you have managed to grow up. Maybe you have learnt that a man must slowly but surely graduate from boyhood to manhood. You have continuously been called a boy by people who would otherwise call you a man. That you are 30 years old and still staying with your parents is normal and you say it’s the 21st century. That your action, your words and your reasoning like a boy does not worry you an inch? No, I won’t tell you that you surely need to graduate. Check the good book (1 Cor 13).
But hey, what can a young man like me say about manhood? What would you with three kids learn from 2nd-grade man? With no wife, no kids, no serious responsibilities? Well, I have been reading a lot about this subject, I have thought about it and meditated and just like that, I haven’t graduated yet. Every word I read was hitting differently like COVID19 briefings on a 6th of June. I repeat I live in a glasshouse, period!
See, I fall in the second face of manhood, I am still young, most men in this category are between 19-29 years. A recent study (I am the recent study) has shown that men in this group are at the peak of exploration. This is the time we can confidently hop from one job to another, further our education, try new hobbies, start investments and take risks as we want. In fact, things don’t slow down in this period. We are constantly open and receptive to new ideas. I hate to say but this is the time we are searching for our meaning in life, says Viktor Frankl. We do not want to become the manipulated men, we are on the way of the superior man, we are no longer the 3% man but we are outwitting the devil. We have outgrown the age of defeat. There are men in us and we are not trying to become what we are not. We are finding ourselves. Viva!
Would the man in you be proud of the boy you are today/were yesterday? Be a Man!