Unfortunately, some millennial men do not have good examples of what it means to be a man. Obviously this is more than physically being a man.
Some millennials have grown up without a father in the home. This is a more common experience today than it used to be.
Because of divorce, imprisonment, death, abandonment or other unfortunate circumstances, the average millennial male will grow up in a home not raised by their biological father. In some cases, they are raised only by their mom without the involvement of a father-figure.
Many millennials are looking from other men to learn how to be a “man” in today’s world. This is one thing that as wonderful as that single mom is, she cannot teach her son how to be a man. As a result, the Millennial male is left to figure out these things on his own.
With that said, I believe there are some basic yet important lessons that the Millennial male needs to know. Here are five lessons I would like to pass on as a father and as a man.
1. Learn to take responsibility for your actions.
Many people today are blamers. They find it easier to shift blame onto others rather than taking responsibility for their actions.
Granted, whatever happens, may not be fully your fault. However, you have a role to play in whatever took place. No one is totally innocent in any activity that have a negative outcome. There are some exceptions to this. An example would be a child sexually assaulted by an adult.
One of the best course of action when you are involved in a conflict that is impacting your life negatively, is to look for your contribution to the problem and take responsibility.
2. Learn to stand firm in what you believe.
Having strong convictions about what you believe and being willing to pay the price for it, is seemingly less appealing in some segments of our society today.
The message being sent is that if your belief system dictates that you refrain from certain behaviors or stand against them, you are to keep it to yourself and not make it known.
To stand up for your belief even if it goes against societal norms, you are castigated and put to public shame and humiliation. You are labeled as someone who is phobic, intolerant or on the wrong side of history.
With these kind of messages, you might choose to compromise for the sake of “fitting in.”
Once you begin to do so, you no longer have a baseline from which to operate. You are more apt to compromise other parts of your life.
So standing firm in what you believe, is critical for remaining true to yourself even if it comes at a price. Be willing to pay the price.
That’s what the late Muhammad Ali did when he was being drafted to go to Vietnam. He went to prison instead because he was unwilling to compromise.
3. Learn to be respectful of others … give respect and you’ll gain respect.
Being respectful of other people’s opinions is very important to your overall growth. You and I don’t know everything. There is always room for growth.
Sometimes this growth takes place when we are not being in agreement with someone else’s opinion. Their way of thinking and doing things may be totally opposite from how you would do them.
Being respectful of them and what they have to “bring to the table” can allow you to learn something that you didn’t know before.
Case and point:
I recently engaged someone on my Facebook post about what my thoughts were about terrorism. This person who was Muslim, took a different view from mine and used the opportunity to “enlighten” me on my ignorance.
My first reaction was for him to take his thoughts somewhere else. I even encouraged him to take it to his timeline.
However, as I engaged him in conversation, I was able to see his point of view and thanked him for taking the time to respectfully educate me on somethings I didn’t know.
I gave him respect by not arguing with him and in return, I learned from him. Interestingly, he also said at the end how he learned something about a biblical story from me that he didn’t know. We both thanked each other for being respectful and patient.
4. Learn how to treat women as special … Seek to “protect” them.
Even though we are in the age of women’s lib where there is a push to make women equal to men in almost every area, there is still an overall acceptance that she is still the “weaker of the two.”
The term weaker of the two doesn’t sit well with some people because of what it seems to suggest. However, it is a fact that most women are not comparable to most men in physical aspects.
I believe if you can keep this in mind, it will help you in your relationships with females especially when you’re in marriage.
You will find that the woman you are with, wants you to treat her as special; care for and protect her.
As someone who has done hundreds and hundreds of marital counseling, I’ve yet to hear a complaint from a wife or fiancé that her husband or husband-to-be treats her too much like a woman.
On the contrary I’ve heard many who yearn for their husband or boyfriend to treat them with more care and respect. Sometimes the statement is: he treats me like one of the boys, meaning his male friends.
Learning this skill, will ensure a better relationship.
5. Learn to be a good provider for your family. Work hard at doing so.
Once you have taken on the role of being head of household, you are now responsible for the overall welfare of your family. This family takes the place of your birth family. They should be placed first.
This is sometimes challenging when you have birth family members who make you feel guilty for not taking care of them. They also will try to put you at odds with your wife and blame her. You are now caught in the middle. You want to please both. You can’t.
You must choose and when you do, your immediate family – wife and kids – take precedent. You must send this message in more ways than one and as often as you can to those who see it otherwise.
Working hard to make sure they are taken care of is now your responsibility. You should not abdicate this role or shift it to anyone else.
There are times you might need the help of others, but it should not be at the expense of being the main provider. Your family depends on you. Your children will see you model what it means to be a responsible father and husband.
6. Learn to love and fear God (or a spiritual path of your own choosing)
Even though this is last on the list, it is the most important as far as I’m concerned.
As a Millennial male, my personal believe is that loving and fearing God teaches your dependence on a higher Source. You will have times when you don’t know what your next move is or find yourself in very difficult situations and needing someone to cry out to.
Having a spiritual outlook—however you choose to define that—-helps you to keep life in its proper perspective. You will be more likely to live your life from a position of humility rather than a prideful one.
I believe if you are able to keep these six lessons in mind as you go through life, you will be better off. I would love to hear from you as to what your thoughts are on these six lessons. What would you add to the list?
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