True Values of Young Manhood

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True Values of Young Manhood

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The ancient Greeks said, "Know thyself." (Well, they said it in Greek...) The hippies of the 1960s set out to "find" themselves. Even pointy-eared Mr. Spock explained that he had "found" himself in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

Today, more than ever, young men face a confusing array of choices in their quest for identity and manhood. Psychobabble like "finding yourself" just doesn't cut it in providing solid answers about what it means to be a mature, real man today.

Surprisingly, a good starting place can be found in sentiments expressed way back in 1901. Woodrow Wilson, who was later U.S. president during World War I, wrote a powerful essay on masculine maturity, "When a Man Comes to Himself."

He said a man comes to himself "when he has left off being wholly preoccupied with his own powers and interests and with every petty plan that centers in himself; when he has cleared his eyes to see the world as it is, and his own true place and function in it."

Despite problems in his philosophical views, Wilson was right in this statement as worded. Self-centeredness isn't the mark of true manhood. But it has been a sad hallmark of many young men. So the starting place is to focus on others—our family, our friends, other people and, of course, God.

The created plan

Modern political correctness actively and militantly seeks to confuse the identity of the genders. For four-plus decades it has especially hated the very concept of manhood, not to mention loathing the divine sexual morals of male-to-female marriage and biblically defined family.

"So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:27). God made men to be male and women to be female. Understand that basic plan and you're light years ahead of today's confused masses.

God made you a man. What are the true values of young manhood that He wants you to strive for?

Value #1: Truth and honor

Truthfulness is integrally related to honor. Honesty (derived from the word honor) means believing, speaking and living the truth.

Some underestimate the emotional strength of young men because they don't perceive the rather silent male emotions connected to honor. Being considerate of others and protecting rather than exploiting the vulnerable typifies honor.

Christina Hoff Sommers, author of The War Against Boys, insightfully observed, "History teaches that masculinity constrained by morality [truth and honor] is powerful and constructive; it also teaches that masculinity without ethics is dangerous and destructive" ("Men—It's in Their Nature," The American Enterprise, Vol. 14, No. 6).

Jesus Christ, the master of true ethics, taught the highest value of truth when He answered the Roman governor Pontius Pilate: "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice" (John 18:37).

Do you hear His voice? Jesus lived His human life as a young man—the perfect example of speaking and living the truth.

Never lie, never cheat (sexually or otherwise) and care for those who need help. Believe and honor the truth of God—live for it, and be willing to die for it.

Value #2: Right action

During the first decade of the 1900s, Theodore Roosevelt was the U.S. president. No one ever questioned his dynamic and benevolent masculinity.

He hiked, hunted, fished, loved the outdoors and taught his and other children how to do the same. As president, he was also America's leading ornithologist—literally the country's best expert on birds. He read 300 or more books a year; and had he not been busy leading the country, he would have been considered one of its best historians during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

His was an eager mind for learning—by his choice. He had a photographic memory, and many of his contemporaries considered his a mental power of the first rank. But he thought otherwise. "I have only a second-rate brain, but I think I have a capacity for action."

Young men should do things! Video games, virtual reality, Facebook updates and watching TV don't count as action!

If at all possible, get out into the creation. Learn the names of the trees in your neighborhood. Identify the birds and animals. Dig in the dirt, collect rocks, learn to fly fish or take up archery. Breathe the air directly—rather than through the air conditioner. Savor the energy of your true manhood!

Remember Roosevelt's constant advice: "Get action; do things; be sane; don't fritter away your time; be somebody; get action."

Value #3: Humble service

One "dissident" feminist scholar offered a surprising insight about manhood's service: "Masculinity is aggressive, unstable, combustible. It is also the most creative cultural force in history. When I cross...any of America's great bridges, I think—men have done this. Construction is sublime male poetry" (Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae, 1992).

Building bridges—whether over chasms or between people—serves others. And who was the greatest bridge-building servant and primary role model for young manhood?

"Whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:27-28). The great Lord and Savior is the humble servant.

What can you do to serve others? Help your parents and family with cleaning, carrying and other chores. Help friends and classmates with encouragement. Hold doors open for people. Pick up litter—even if it's not yours. Do what you can with what you have to serve where you are.

Do it just because it needs to be done—not for thanks or praise.

Value #4: Love

We all need and want love—and need to love others. Most young men only focus on the first part. But not you, right?

Young manhood starts at home. Loving and honoring your parents is the first step to manhood. You will develop notable masculine maturity by serving and caring for your family—including brothers and sisters. Notable, because others will see a depth in you that is missing in so many of today's lost boys.

As a boy at home, Jesus Christ had a spiritual perception of His unique place in history, but He deeply loved, honored and obeyed His mother and stepfather, Mary and Joseph (see Luke 2:39-52).

Outgoing concern for your fellow man—or, as the Bible says, loving your neighbor as yourself (see Matthew 19:19)—begins with a strong love for one's family.

The Romantic Era began around 1800. The movement considered young men to be "authentic" only if they were full of angst, anger and rebellion. Hello, 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s! But that's a far cry from what God intended manhood to be.

A young man who genuinely cares for others and does what he can to help and serve his fellow man represents true manhood in God's eyes.

But when does true young manhood get to love true young womanhood?

Sir Winston Churchill once stated: "Where does the family start? It starts with a young man falling in love with a girl. No superior alternative has yet been found."

The sexual part of love comes only after you have married that particular sweetheart of young womanhood—and it's to be experienced only with her. Sexual purity is summarily defined in the Seventh Commandment, "You shall not commit adultery" (Matthew 19:18). Premarital sex is just another form of adultery. Honor the one you love, or will one day love, by remaining sexually pure for her.

That incredible man-woman bond will produce your children. Young manhood holds a deep concern for, cares for and protects children—especially one's own. And again, all this begins with you growing up at home. By loving and honoring your parents today, you will know how to powerfully, wonderfully love your wife and children tomorrow.

Value #5: God

The main reason for the gender confusion and sexual perversion in modern society's young men is that they don't know God—or necessarily even want to admit He exists. But exist He does!

Recapturing these true values of young manhood is not possible without first debunking atheism and, second, knowing the true God of the Bible.

Jesus and His close cadre of disciples—who became the 12 apostles—were all young men. Christ began His ministry at age 30 and died at 33. The Bible and tradition say that nearly all of them, except for John, died as martyrs for the true faith.

That kind of dedication to God required a powerfully formative early young manhood. They rejected the "atheism" of their day, which was a rampantly sexually immoral paganism. They dared to stand apart from others—to follow God's way.

Jesus called for such young men early in His ministry and seeks the same today (John 4:23). So pray daily, study the Bible, seek and prove the truth—then follow the great God whose truth it is. VT