A younger guy recently asked me what I think it means to be a man. The fundamental difference between a man and a boy is maturity and responsibility. When a guy becomes mature and responsible, he becomes more of a man.
We all have a vague idea of what maturity, or a lack thereof, looks like. But what are the marks of a responsible man?
1. A responsible man understands that “live for today” also means “plan for tomorrow.”
I take issue with “live like there’s not tomorrow” because it’s used as license to do stupid things without regard to the lasting consequences. More often than not, we do have a tomorrow, so bear that in mind.
2. A responsible man is financially responsible.
My coworkers and I often go to hang out and get food because we’re a tight group of friends. But one friend of our is never sure if he can make it because he’s constantly broke. The moment he gets his paycheck, it’s gone, and not spent on necessities. In general, with some of the guys I know, having more than $500 in the bank is considered an achievement. In college this is fine, but financial responsibility starts even now.
3. A responsible man is emotionally responsible.
He approaches relationships and life with an understanding that he can affect people’s feelings, and acts accordingly. That’s not to say he tiptoes around people constantly in order to please them, but he makes decisions based on an understanding that people have feelings and people are important.
4. A responsible man can be trusted.
If he says he’ll do something then he’ll do it. Both my father and I are the kind of people who will be there if we say we’ll be there. And when other people aren’t like that it frustrates us. Responsible men can be trusted with their word.
5. A responsible man is able to take care of other people.
Emotionally, physically, even spiritually. Responsible men are able to guide and provide for the people under their care.
6. A responsible man can take care of himself.
This doesn’t mean that he should lone wolf it all the time and never accept help. It means that, when left to his own devices, he’ll still be able to live well without constant dependence on others.
7. A responsible man takes responsibility for his own actions
…especially when he makes mistakes. This is probably the hardest for me because it requires laying down my pride, and I can be a pretty prideful person sometimes (just ask my family). But the fact that it’s difficult is exactly what makes it so important.
Responsibility is vital to the well-being of individuals, communities, and nations. And if we don’t take up the torch and pass it on, then who will?