For many years, I’ve admired the current king of Jordan, King Abdullah II, for his principled, authentic manhood and fair hand. His tiny nation sits surrounded by war, hate, fear, and catastrophe. The kingdom he rules has been in the most perilous of situations. Yet his voice is of a great peacemaker, calm and reasonable. Once, he did something that impressed me beyond measure. Responding to a terrible act against his kingdom, the king decided he must use force to protect his people and send a message of strength. But instead of just ordering young men and women into harm’s way by command, he led them by example.
He climbed aboard a Jordanian fighter jet and engaged in battle himself. Rare is the leader who not only leads with great diplomatic skill and fairness but also has the intestinal fortitude and skill to fly a jet into combat. Calculating authentic manhood requires us to take a look into the entire picture of our lives. We cannot just cherry-pick the portions that make us look good. The goal is to keep pushing toward completeness. Authentic manhood can be achieved—if we employ these characteristics.
It is important for a man to be in control of his emotions. We are made to be leaders, and that requires a delicate emotional balance. Different aspects of our lives demand different emotional capabilities. This is where many men lose their way. Some scenarios call for us to be hard-nosed and unwavering, which is the stereotype of male emotion. But family life and parenting call for us to be far more dynamic. We need to be able to reason logically, compromise, have empathy, display compassion, and be vulnerable enough to love deeply.
A man should never stop learning. Life gives us a never-ending education and when we think we’ve learned all we need to know, we become stagnant. We need not only to enjoy learning new things but to relish in it. Pick up a book, learn a new skill, experience other cultures. Always keep expanding your capabilities and viewpoint. It will take you far in life.
Responsibility and Loyalty
A common thread in great men is adherence to responsibility and determined loyalty.A common thread in great men is adherence to responsibility and determined loyalty. We are in a culture with a “me first” mindset. The ramifications are startling and have taken their tolls on marriage, the family, and the entire social fabric of the culture. “Me first” goes against every single God-given principle of life. We were created to serve and love each other. It’s necessary and important.
Honor and Dignity
What we do in the dark eventually catches up to us. Liars, cheats, and thieves may look successful at times, but they leave a long trail of misery behind them. Do you want to be an authentic man? It starts with honor and dignity. As Socrates said, “The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”
Sound off: What do you think is the most important characteristic a man must have?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some important characteristics you think a man should have?”