Where are the Men?
Where are the men of this world? I am not talking about guys who think being macho, a jock or a rugged outdoors man makes them a man. I am talking about men who show up when times are tough and men you can count on in times of need. The men who stand behind their commitment to their family and friends to be a good husband, father, provider and protector. Men who aren’t afraid of hard work and who aren’t a thin veneer with no substance under it. Men who demonstrate when times get tough they don't tuck their tales and run. Where have these men gone? They aren’t gone but they are on the path to extinction.
Case in point, a month ago we were hosting a gathering of friends and family for my youngest son who recently got engaged. During a conversation with several friends and 2 of my brother-in-laws we got onto the subject of the lack of work ethic and the extreme challenge it is too hire someone from the younger generation that wants to work. I brought up a situation not long ago my business partner encountered with college graduate. He just hired a 26 year old who recently graduated with his accounting degree. Unfortunately, after only 3 days this young man found that the demands of being an assistant to a financial advisor was just too demanding for him. On day 4 of his employment he didn’t show. No courtesy call or warning, just another "no show." Unbelievably, mid-morning his mom came to our office and informed my partner that the job was just too demanding for her son and he had to quit………WHAT!
One brother in law quickly chimed in stating “he obviously didn’t get into enough fights on the playground when he was a kid.” His comment was meant to be tongue and cheek until my second brother in law joined in. Understand these comments are coming from a non-believer who has spent his career as an elementary school teacher. What he said next shocked me. He went on to describe the current challenge he is dealing with socially with boys and girls. He described a role reversal where the girls have become the aggressors and are frequently getting into violent fights on the playground. I asked so what are the boys doing and he states, "well the boys they are busy playing patty cakes”. Dead serious, patty cakes. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
Ask almost any responsible father now who has adult age daughters who are longing to be in relationships with men of integrity and have substance, what they are experiencing. They will tell there is a void of motivated young men out there. Most, including myself, will describe the void as epidemic. How have we fallen so far so fast? Social engineering certainly has played a part in the equation. The modern church probably has to accept partial responsibility by not remaining relevant and in tune with the needs of young men in this changing world. The education system has certainly contributed to the neutering of our young men. Then there are the obvious snares of video games, cell phones, pornography and coddling parents who over sheltered their young men, all contributing to the creation of such extreme examples as described above.
Have we lost the battle? I am certain the enemy wants us to think an entire generation of men has been de-masculated and rendered impotent. He is wrong, the battle isn’t over and defeat is not the final outcome. For those young men who are reading this do not take these words lightly. Your generation is at war and you need to stand firm in your relationships with Christ and pull those men around you who are slipping away into obscurity back into the fight. Furthermore, I challenge each man who is a generation or 2 removed from the current battle that your role remains vitally important. Younger men long for mature men to look to as role models and points of encouragement. They need you to be relevant though. Don’t expect them to just follow your lead. You need to get down to their level, enter into their world and understand life where they live. Admittedly the older generations have done a good job of demonstrating hypocrisy so words are not enough, actions are what matters.
10 Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. 11 I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. 12 When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. 13 Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.
Proverbs instructs us to be teachers and instructors of the young men of this world. We need to lead by our words and by actions. Are we? I encourage each of us to stop, look around you and observe what you see. What young men are in your life and what have you communicated to them about the importance they are in your life and others. If you simply walk past them and allow them to remain on the fringe they may never recover. That is unacceptable and we must act. We all have the time to invest into at least 1 or 2 young men. Who do you know that needs to be called out, built up and encouraged to be the man God fully intended? You don't need to be perfect, you just need to care and be real.
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force.
Let us be men that remain in the fight for all generations and be willing to be violent when it pertains to expanding heaven's territory by force. Let me close with the following quote that is as relevant today as when it was spoken.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."