There are a lot of stereotypes in the world about who a man is. From the videogame addict to the buffoonish father and all the way to the man too obsessed with watching his favorite sports team that he can’t remember to change his infant’s diaper. And even though we all know men who do not fit these roles, these caricatures have become the defacto role models for many young men growing up in this world.

But as parents we can not shoulder all the blame for this. The last few decades have seen the shifting of roles in society, men, no longer the sole breadwinners nor the sole wielders of power in society, have lost their bearing and place in society. And with so many groups focused on the raising up and educating of women, it seems that men have just become an afterthought.

So what can be done? Well we can begin on the path towards redefining manliness in the modern world. I have said for many years that there are three generalized subsets that we can lump men into. Boys, Guys and Men.

Boys are the pre-pubescent men of society. They are young and therefore not expected to act like adults. In fact in many cases they are encouraged, either directly or indirectly (ie boys will be boys),  to be young and carefree.

Guys are boys as adults. These are the ones we see in the commercials, the videogame addict the buffoon.

And then we come to the modern conundrum that is men. The puzzle that is the thrust of this article.

  • Men are those who make decisions, instead of wallowing in indecision or apathy.
  • They finish the tasks that they take upon themselves. And out of a sense of responsibility, not requirement..
  • They are the Fathers who are present and try to make a difference in their children’s lives. Through marriage or divorce.
  • Men are those who share their strength and try to make a positive change in the world around them.

  • But men do not abuse others with their strength, only help them to grow.

Now I know this is a very brief list but it is one that focuses on the general outline instead of anything specific, so that it can apply to the category instead of the individual. And I know that these are the many of the very same traits that so many are focused on teaching to young girls. Yet how many of these traits are taught to our young men?

As Pagans we need to be about balance and not just in our Faith and rituals but in our whole lives. Whether we are a single mom raising up boys, or a single father raising up girls or any other combination. So take some time to talk to the young men in your lives and try to show them a better way to be, then what is showed on TV and other forms of popular culture.

Thoughts?

Blessed Be!

This post was written by

PaganDad – who has written posts on PaganDad.
Patrick is a PaganDad which is why he runs PaganDad.com. Dedicated to the idea of raising up the next generation in faith, be sure to check him out here.

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14 Responses to Manliness from a Pagan Perspective

  1. Kyrja says:

    Much of my life has been defined by feeling “less than” through the actions and words of my father. I was further degraded – personally – throughout much of my life, very often being told I couldn’t do a thing because I was a girl. And then, “Women don’t/can’t do that,” by those in authority (both male and female) during various phases of my employment. Sure, I ended up in the Army, and then digging ditches and operating heavy equipment to PROVE that I most-certainly COULD do “that.” And yet … sometimes I STILL wonder just what I might have accomplished if I had been celebrated instead of degraded for my gender. What if I DIDN’T have to prove that I COULD do that? I’ll never know.

    So, today, when I see a man treating a woman with respect, it is with great joy that I smile. When I see a father holding his daughter’s hand, or teaching her that she IS enough – just the way she is – I am moved to tears.

    Great fathers don’t just “happen.” They have role models. Just like PaganDad. We must celebrate each other every single chance we get. Teach, explain, help, motivate – avoid degradation or making another feel “less than” – no matter WHO they may be.

    Rock on PaganDad! You’re doing a fabulous job leading us forward!

  2. Brau says:

    Tahnk you for this post. So less is done for men in our society, all we teach to young me is to not be rude, predators or violents, but no one teaches them how to meet women in another way…

  3. Terri says:

    I love this post, very true and moving in many ways. It is a great triumph for us women to finally be seen for what we can do and accomplish, but we must remember to not push men down at the same time. We are equals, not one better than the other. Our son’s need to grow up knowing how important they are, just as much as our daughters. They need to be encouraged to break the stereo types and to use their “manhood” for good things. Not mundane things such as video games and football banter. Nothing wrong with those things in general (heck I’m a sucker for video games myself) but men still need to be MEN. Just like women still need to be women. But that’s my 2 cents worth

  4. Mike says:

    So many of the coming-of-age rituals that help boys transition to manhood have been lost for many reasons, including women coming forth to claim their rightful place in society, latent homophobia preventing healthy male bonding and, yes, caricaturisation in the popular media. I think Men need to redefine themselves and find new rituals to help their sons and brothers step forward into their eventual role as responsible, self-assured, confident men

  5. This is indeed a big problem. But there are also people who care about it and do their part to help solving it: http://artofmanliness.com/

  6. Nathan howe says:

    i just read this post and i agree with what i read. As someone who was raised mainly by his Mother i try to live up to what she taught me, but it is hard to do for someone with low self-esteem and confidence. But with my son to raise i have a chance to show him how to be a man that my Mother can be proud of.

    Thank You for the post.

  7. Jamie says:

    I am a single mom raising a boy. We are figuring out how to be a man together. I just hope I’m steering him in the right direction. Finding a balance in our world is a challenge with all the outside influences, I can have some influence on him but friends bring in so much that I can’t say don’t follow them follow yourself and be your own man. But it’s all part of growing and becoming your own person right? Thank you for this I enjoyed reading it.

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