Brian Reinholz believes that the timeless quality of what it means to be a man is taking care of things more precious than yourself.
Twenty three-year old Brian Reinholz prefers to be identified as a man. Not “guy” or “bro” or even “dude.” Why? He views manhood as something more than just being macho: to him it means taking care of things that are more important than himself.
“I believe that to be a man, you must be entrusted with things more precious than your own life: be that the lives of a spouse, children, or taking the banner of a spiritual or political cause.”
Brian looks around him and sees other guys his age living without vision or accountability, which he thinks are keys to becoming a great man. Many of his peers avoid responsibility because they are afraid it will turn them into boring, tired people weighed down by eons of obligations. However, he says there’s a lot more to it than that:
“I hope that all young men can see responsibility and discipline not as something to fear, but something to aspire to as a means to greater ends. It’s not a drag on ‘the good times’ … it’s an opportunity, a freedom to aspire to greater things and maximize your self-potential.”
Brett and Kate McKay of The Art of Manliness agree with him: “Unfortunately, a lot of guys get stuck. […] They grow up in a culture that emphasizes negative freedom as the end all, be all of life; happiness equals being able to do whatever you’d like. So they never make the transition from thinking about freedom from, to thinking about freedom to. But that transition is a big part of going from boy to man.”
So, at twenty-three, how does he plan to do that in his own life and how will he carry his vision of manhood into the future?
“[I plan] to build a solid foundation for my life. Specifically: a solid foundation for my marriage, solid principles for parenting, to work on my own character, discipline, virtues, etc. … to have clear life direction as far as my career goes, my purpose, etc. To have a connection to God that is a guiding force in all these aspects.”
While it may sound like he has everything figured out, Brian is quick to acknowledge that is not the case, but the soon he works on it, the faster it will serve and affect his future. He also thinks the meaning of manhood has not really changed over the last couple of decades. While things may change culturally, the core of what it means to be a man in this world is the same as is always has been and always will be:
“We can still look to the men who, throughout history, put others before themselves, fought for what they believed in, loved with reckless abandon, faced adversity and didn’t blame others for their hardships. These are the type of men we should all aspire to be. There’s no finish line—it’s a daily battle with the darker parts of our nature, and the belief in better days ahead.”
Photo credit: andrewmalone / Flickr