What it means to be a man and how men are to treat women? by Charles Morse
When I spend very much time thinking about these questions, I immediately recognize that the 2nd question is a result or consequence of the first. How I see myself, my identity, and my vision for manhood will directly impact how I treat all others, including women. How I think about myself and my responsibilities is projected into all my relationships. My treatment of others is a reflection of how I think.
A friend of mine once pointed out that in the movie scenes of my life, I’m in every scene and of course I’m going to think life is about me and how I feel. If I think everything is about me and my feelings, I will project this “self-focus” into how I act as a man and how I treat others. I will get angry because I didn’t get what I wanted and someone owes me more respect that I was shown. I will get jealous because someone got something that I didn’t. I become greedy because what I have is mine and all mine. I feel guilty because I didn’t do what I thought I should and now I owe someone something. Attitudes of anger, jealousy, greed, and guilt are all reflections of how I see myself in light of others around me. My experience and observation is that this is not healthy, for myself or others.
The “#MeToo” movement recognizes and fights against the unhealthy outcome of this “self-focused” attitude. Said another way and to paraphrase an ancient book, “do not merely look out for your own personal interest but also the interest of others.” Simple to say, hard to do. With this in mind, I start with a definition that I do not claim as my own.
I embrace a definition for manhood that incorporates many efforts to live out four characteristics in light of life not being just about me: 1) Reject passivity; 2) Accept responsibility; 3) Lead courageously; 4) Invest eternally. By injecting these qualities into the everyday decision making process, the resulting actions reflect what it means to me to be a man. These four characteristics are woven together into each decision. I need to simultaneously consider them all to appropriately reflect what it means to be a man. To lead courageously without consideration of the eternal consequences or accepting responsibility makes me more of a bully than a real man. To reject passivity without accepting responsibility or leading courageously makes me ineffective and a blow hard.
So how does this play out in how a man treats a women? Incorporate these same concepts… reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously, and invest eternally, into the relationship. It’s a relationship, don’t miss this. Consider her interest as well as yours. Ask questions. Listen to the answers. Protect the relationship. Act honorably. Give freely. Encourage. Serve one another. Accept one another. Be patient. Be hospitable. Care.
Simple, but not easy.