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I’m Not Very Manly

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I’ve never been good at sports. I played soccer in elementary school but after four years, I only scored one goal and it happened on accident. Tennis was my next attempt. I was feeling good about my abilities when playing against kids who were two years younger than me but my graduation to the next class proved that I definitely wasn’t a prodigy. The first time I tried golf, I nearly rolled the golf cart by driving it sideways up a hill. I would have tried badminton but I decided to save myself the embarrassment.
Instead, I love music. I have an ear for it and while I’m no standout, I’ve played the violin for over 10 years. I played in several worship bands in college and in a few weddings. I can hear music and play the violin harmony in real-time, whether I’ve even heard the song or not.

As you would imagine, my picture will never appear next to the word ‘masculine’ in the dictionary. I’m not exactly a model case of it. I don’t hunt, fish, play sports, or camp. (Though, I can belch.) I’ve spoken at churches where this has even been a problem for some of the men in the congregation. I’m just not manly enough and you can see it just by looking at me.

In middle school or high school, admitting that would have bothered me tremendously. I often felt that I was less of a man and operated with the assumption that I had something to prove. But masculinity isn’t really anything guys have to aim for. It’s really just about having the physical hardware. We don’t have to do anything to be male. That’s just our nature. Manhood is something far more challenging.

Passing Down Manhood

In the months leading up to Caleb’s birth, I came to a startling realization that kept me awake at night. Caleb’s entire definition of the word ‘man’ will come from watching and interacting with me.

That’s worth repeating.

My son’s very definition of what it means to be a man will come from what he sees in me. It’ll come out in how I treat Holly, deal with stress, confront my fears, and approach my job. For all my talk about what’s really important, it’ll be trumped by what he sees me do. Whether he ends up scrawny and bad at sports like me or grows up to win the World Series someday, there are certain things I want him to remember.

The Male and the Man

A male is confident in his own abilities. A man is confident in his weaknesses and God’s promise to glorify himself through them.

A male knows how to impress a woman. A man knows how to show her love and respect after 50 years of marriage.

A male may have talent but a man works hard even in the face of failure.

A male leads by dominating those around him. A man leads by serving them.

A male faces life apathetically. A man sets over-reaching goals and works daily to achieve them.

A male is good at not looking scared. A man admits his fears and moves forward anyway.

A male can get a woman pregnant. A man sticks around to be a dad.

And most importantly, a male finds his salvation in his earthly accomplishments and self-determination. A man finds his salvation in the laying down of his life for Christ’s glory and fame.

Pray that I can model these truths and many more for Caleb in the coming years. I may not be the best picture of masculinity but I’ll always strive to demonstrate manhood.

Discuss: What would you add to this list of comparisons?

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  • Evan Bell

    How lucky Caleb is that you realize this truth so early in his life. Very good post.

    • http://www.mattmorrison.org/ Matt Morrison

      Thanks Evan! I hope you and your family are doing well. Holly and I enjoy seeing the pictures on Facebook.