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Real Men Drive Utes?

 

What’s A Real Man

Real Man

“What’s a man now?
What’s a man mean?
Is he rough or is he rugged? Is he cultural and clean?
Now it’s all changed

It’s got to change more
‘Cause we think it’s getting better but nobody’s really sure.
And so it goes, go round again
But now and then we wonder who the real men are…”

Joe Jackson sung those words in the song “Real Man” thirty years ago. It is interesting to see this song still gets airtime on the radio and the questions it throws up are probably even more relevant today than when it was first sung. With the rise of feminism, gender-equality, and homosexuality, everything seems so blurry between the sexes these days. Men don’t seem to know where they fit. We are losing their identity.What does it really mean to be a man? How is a man different from a woman? How is a man different from a boy?

Is it okay for us men to wear pink t-shirts? Do we do the barbeque? Do we hold the remote? Do we play sport? Are we the bread-winners? Are we the ones who change the light-bulbs and mow the lawns? Is it okay to ‘manscape’ and use ‘product’? Are we supposed to open the door for women, or will we be accused of being misogynist pigs? No wonder we are accused of being so quiet and ‘retreating into our caves’! We are confused and don’t know who we are and what we ‘do’!

Modern-day man seems to have both a characteristic behaviour and a native habitat; a place and manner of life that keeps himself out of the spotlight… Computer games. Violent movies. Working on ‘the guns’. Internet porn. Fast driving.Risk taking. ‘Boys toys’. Binge drinking. Climbing thecorporate ladder. Building a fortune. Sowing the wild oats. Staying uncommitted.

No- I am not just talking about men in their 20s here! Thispattern sadly characterises the modern man: enjoying himself with ‘boyish fun’, but avoiding the responsibility that comes with mature manhood. The problem with this kind of shape to the male life is that it is fundamentally selfish at its heart, andultimately, an unspeakable waste; a failure to live up to histrue potential and his God-ordained role.

 

Many of us have seen the movie ‘Cinderella Man’ with Russell Crowe. It tells the true story of James J. Braddock, a boxer during the Great Depression in New York. He was a true ‘man’s man’ but for reasons often missed by boxing fans.

He was tough as nails; known for his thumping right hand and granite chin. He stepped into the ring against some of the biggest brutes around. He worked his way to the top.

But at the height of his boxing career, he suffered an injury to his right hand which never fully healed and left him unable to fight like he used to. Suddenly he found himself unable to find work and the pressure of supporting his wife and three children became the greatest challenge of his life.

These days having to see through a commitment to a wife and family are seen as a liability and burden to more and more men and when the flowers fade and the pressure mounts, they leave their families because it just doesn’t fit with their idea of a good and meaningful life. But Braddock stays, and not only does he stay but he refuses to give up. He doesn’t allow his circumstances to change the man he is.

He swallowed his pride (and his boxing career gave him a lot of it) to save his family. He was forced to work on the docks and collect social assistance to feed his family.

Perhaps it was all the pain and uncertainty that was his life during these times prepared him for what was to come: out of the blue he was given a shot at the 1935 heavyweight title against Max Baer. Having been through what would break most men and send them to drink, seemed to make him stronger. A fight, even a fight against the current heavyweight champion, was nothing compared to what he endured daily: the pressure of having a family to take care of and no source of income to take care of them with. Not having the means to feed your children, who are looking to you for the next meal.

Braddock famously said: “Whether it goes 1 round or 3 rounds or 10 rounds, it will be a fight and a fight all the way. When you’ve been through what I’ve had to face in the last two years, a Max Baer or a Bengal tiger looks like a house pet. He might come at me with a cannon and a blackjack and he would still be a picnic compared to what I’ve had to face.”

Despite being the 10 to 1 underdog Braddock won in a unanimous points decision. The glory of being a boxing champion was one thing but his greatest motivation was being able to support his family though the difficulties of the Great Depression.

 

Here is a wonderful poem I heard some time ago that sums upwhat Braddock’s life illustrates so well…

“The Journey from Boy to Man to Husband” by Cameron Semmens.

Boy plays, man works, husband provides.

Boy strolls, man strides, husband walks alongside.

Boy- dependent, man- independent, husband is dependable.

When threatened; boy steps back,

Man steps forward, husband holds ground.

Boy is limbs, man is shoulders, husband is heart.

Boy is cuddle, man is hug, husband is embrace.

Boy doesn’t take care, man takes care of himself,

Husband takes care of all those around him.

The journey from boy to man to husband takes guidance, grace, guts and good choices.

Some boys never become men,

Some men never become husbands,

Some husbands never become

The spouse they could be,

The spouse they should be.

Boy is owned, man is his own,

Husband owns his role as guider, provider, walk alongsider.

 

Men- I encourage you to be brave enough to take responsibility and take on the job of leading. To not just live for pleasure but to live to protect and provide for those aroundyou.

Here are three quick ideas to get you moving in the right direction…

•Act in accordance with your principles.
•Do what you say you will do- no matter what.
•Commit to look after those who look to you- through good times and bad.

When speaking about the nature of tough servant-shaped love, the Apostle Paul said this: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)

 

The final word goes to Joe Jackson…

Time to get scared
Time to change plan
Don’t know how to treat a lady, don’t know how to be a man.
Time to admit
What you call defeat
‘Cause there’s women running past you now and you just dragyour
feet.

And so it goes, go round again
But now and then we wonder who the real men are…

By Cam Griffiths

 

Cam is a minister at Kenthurst Anglican Church

www.facebook.com/KenthurstAnglicanChurch

Follower of Jesus, Husband to Louise, Dad to Cody and Leila

And a great friend of mine 🙂

 

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