Keeping It Real
How would you define a Real Man?
Steve Rushin, penned an article in Sport’s Illustrated a few weeks back, no doubt in response to the actions of Ray Rice and the NFL’s response. The short article tucked away on the back page, a parting word to the millions of men who flipped through the pages, asks a question in response to President Obama’s commentary on the Rice situation. He was quoted as saying: “Hitting a woman is not something a real man does.” Rushin looking for clarity, asks the question: “What, then, does a real man do?”
This question is near and dear to my heart. It is what this blog was created for, what I love thinking about, and what I hope to become.
From Hemmingway’s four steps to manhood (plant a tree, fight a bull, father a son, and write a book) to Ruyard Kipling’s poetry checklist (“if you keep your head when all around you are losing theirs”) to Justin Bieber’s tweet “Hockey’s a real man’s sport”, everyone with a “y” chromosome has the right to chime in, but not everyone has the experience.
Rushin ends his article with his opinion of what a Real Man by quoting Vince Lombardi. In summary, the real man has character, “in sacrifice, in self-denial, in love and in loyalty, in fearlessness and in humility, in the pursuit of excellence and the perfectly disciplined will.”
In a world that celebrates the size of truck tires, the number of women by your side, the fake testicles that grace pick-up trucks across our fair county, and the 0’s on your paycheck, as statistics on your “man card”, the opinions of what constitutes a real man has never been louder or clearer from the world. Rushin points out:
You shall know him by his knuck crushing handshake. The Real man and the caveman have become happily synonymous–giving birth to that 21st-century necessity, the man cave–with one difference. The caveman evolved.
Cavemen and current man…two peas in a pod. Im not sure that I am a cynical as Rushin, but I myself can fall into the category of cavemen at times. Character is Rushins answer to being a real man, which I don’t deny, however, I would argue for another “c” word.
Connection. A Real Man is connected to his God, connected to his wife (if he has one), his kids (if he has them), and others. No matter the effort a man puts into his character, it is a far cry from the God that he needs connected too and the life that God gives. Our character is based in his character. Real men connect with their wives, kids, families, friends, and others in real ways. Men in today’s culture are known for shallow relationships across the board. Real Men connect on a deeper level with those around them.
I applaud Rushin for his article and for him bringing the idea to a men’s magazine and I hope that more Real Men will connect in the way that this world needs.