In my final teenage years, I realize I’m on the verge of manhood. I gave my testimony in my last article— the series of events and actions and decisions that made me who I am today. These past few years, inevitably, have been preparing me to become an adult.
The Am I a man? question hangs over my head more than ever before. Believe me, I’ve searched, Googled, communicated with men involved in the men’s movement (many of whom are on this very site) and my own father. I’ve reached a conclusion: Becoming a man isn’t about meeting the required criteria.
In past articles, when we’ve talked about the differences between a boy and a man. We list different, dare I say, requirements to be a man. Though, these do act as guidelines, they aren’t set in stone have-to-haves in order to declare your own manhood.
If anything, those guidelines are a measurement of maturity. A real man may act immature at times, but he will never dwell in it. Along with other things, a man will be responsible, respectful and stand on his own two feet.
Is manhood time-based?
If it isn’t a matter of meeting requirements, do all boys on the verge of manhood become men at a set time? Say, when they turn 18, do boys automatically turn into men? Absolutely not. Boys become men at different times.
If it were time based, then we’d have a lot of under prepared men who don’t know what they’re doing at a given time, disqualifying them for being on their own two feet.
If it isn’t time, or checking off requirements from a list, then what is it?
Is manhood affirmation from women?
A woman isn’t the key to your own manliness. We all look for affirmation, and most of the time it’s in the wrong place. Say you’re searching for affirmation from a girl. Will she be able to declare you a man? Again, that’s a no.
If you look for your manliness in the hands of women, you won’t be building your masculine foundation on masculine, but feminine ground. Women are great, and really help men out, but they can’t make a boy, who’s on the verge of manhood, a man.
Does manhood come from your father?
A father will most definitely guide you in the right direction. Words from a good father are one of the most important to hear on the masculine journey to manhood. But an outside voice might not always be enough.
And then there’s our Heavenly Father. Though, there are certainly men who aren’t religious. But what about the men who are? Did their Father God have any say as to when they became men? Edwin Louis Cole said, “You seek the heights of manhood when you seek the depths of God.”
God will nudge you towards manhood and give you everything you need to tackle what it means to really be a man, but the divine voice of heaven probably won’t tell you that you’re now finally a man if you don’t believe it. The key to becoming a man lies within you.
If our manhood is not affirmed, confirmed, or bestowed by outside influences such as time, women, other men, and even God, where does that leave you on the verge of manhood?
You’ve read the guidelines, you’ve studied under your father (figures) and have seen what it takes to become a man; all that’s left is to declare over yourself and believe that you are a man.
I am a man.
It’s something that no one except yourself can control. You will know when you’re ready to embrace manhood, and when you are, your silent declaration and self acceptance will speak louder than the voice of anyone else.
Though, the world will discourage you from your declaration — it will not allow you to believe it for one moment. That’s why reassurance from external forces, such as father figures, groups of like minded men, and your Heavenly Father is very important to hear while you are on your journey to manhood. It won’t determine your manhood, but it will greatly influence it.
As I finish this article, it forces me to reflect on where I’m at now, on my own journey in masculinity, on the verge of manhood. Am I a man? I ask myself. I know for certain I’m becoming one. I meet the “qualifications” and have followed the guidelines religiously, but there’s still something holding me back.
You are your own worst enemy. If you can hold yourself back, then you’ve lost the battle. But the war isn’t over. You, my dear friend, are well on your way to becoming a man, but the question is, will you declare yourself a man?