I love men. I love real men—men of chivalry and honor, men who are enabled to embrace their masculinity. In a very sad way, we have a skewed perception of what a real man is. However, a real man is who God made him to be. The major traits of a real man are 1) responsibility 2) protectiveness 3) sincerity 4) honor
All too often we are presented with a distorted understanding of what manhood is. Be sensitive, we tell men. Take what you want, say other voices. In reality, a real man is somewhere in between. A real man is considerate and respectful; that is where his sensitivity comes from. A real man also has self-respect, initiative, and gumption, and this is the means by which a man gains what he wants. Men are conflicted by our confusing expectations and then feel like failures when they do not live up to contradictory unimaginable standards.
Responsibility: A real man takes responsibility for many things. He owns up to his actions, good or bad. He follows through on his commitments. A real man is responsible for caring for those in his charge. He provides protection, sustenance, and shelter and puts the needs of others before his own. A responsible man also has great self-control, because he is not a slave to his emotions or inclinations.
Protectiveness: A real man protects not only those he loves, his wife, his children, but he protects those who cannot protect themselves. Soldiers who are trained well and with conviction are protectors; there is a respectability of policemen and firemen for precisely the same reason; they protect others. Protection not only involves taking care of one’s physical security, but protecting others’ emotional and spiritual well being as well. Our faith dictates this as the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. A real man follows this code of protectiveness and finds his God given duty in the works of mercy which are a real man’s means of protecting others.
Sincerity: A real man is honest with his feelings and acts with purity of heart. A sincere man is one who is humble yet steadfast in his love and devotion. When a man is real, he is authentic and does not try to be that which he is not. This authenticity returns a man to who God made him to be. Some men are naturally very masculine and physical, while others are intellectual or creative; some are a combination of all of these things. Not all men are the same, but each must embrace who he actually is and the man God intended will come to fruition. Honesty is truly a crucial character trait that is the difference between a good man and a farce.
Honor: A real man is honorable. Honor is a product of all the character traits portrayed here. Honor is a word used in the Ten Commandments. We honor the Lord our God and we honor our father and mother. A real man is respectful and respectable, learning these traits and making them habitual.
Why profile a real man? We seem to be in a crisis of manhood. Have we only as of late, or have we always been in need of real men? Some men take what they want forcefully from women, and some men fabricate a life for themselves in hopes gaining respect, but under false pretenses, these men are simply pretenders. Men are emasculated so often they cannot become men of responsibility. We fail to hold men to a standard, yet lament when they do not achieve a standard they know nothing about.
Raising good, God-fearing men is difficult because of the unattainability of this manhood. Why not let our men embrace their natural masculinity; let us hold them to a clear level of responsibility; let us make them respect women through our own expectations and actions. We often set them up to fail us as women by not needing the gifts they have. So, we can let them, expect them to, take care of us, provide for us, and protect us as well as those who are vulnerable. That is not to say we are incapable of doing the same, but rather we complement them and partner with them in their desire to be responsible and honorable men.
Charla is a life-long Catholic, married since 1995. She has three children who attend Catholic school and university. Charla has been teaching high school English literature at the same Catholic high school she attended for over 15 years. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Latin American Studies, and Secondary Education, as well as a Masters degree in Education. Charla has served as a lector and Eucharistic minister at her parish and school. She enjoys reading, cooking, running, and all activities involving her children. Her special devotions are to the Blessed Mother, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and the Holy Rosary.