In the 90s, I was a regular on the church basement seminar circuit. One of my presentations was entitled, “Helping Boys Become Men.” It drew nice crowds, but I don’t think I did a good job because it’s still a very confusing issue. Back then it seemed simple enough to reinforce stereotypes like men were from Mars, not Venus, and that boys should be plugged into a kind of masculinity they could acquire by imitating the big males in their world. Throw in a dash of savagery and a BB gun and you’re good to go. Well, it isn’t that simple. You could end up with a cartoon character and not a man.
Dear God, what makes a man? You do. Manhood goes deeper than having external plumbing and the physiology to donate sperm. Manhood develops out of the heart of what God wants to see in all of humanity: “The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God” (Psalm 14:2). Real men can be lots of different things, just like real women can. What does God ultimately want to see in men? What is God looking for from his sons? “A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father” (Proverbs 29:3). Tough boys can become good men. Gentle boys can become good men. All boys can become good men. Good men seek God and grow up in his wisdom and grace.