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The Man in the Mirror

 

 “Most men run away from the fight because they don’t want to answer the inevitable question…Am I one of the weak ones or am I one of the strong?”...unknown

 

Growing up in a small country town outside the Houston area I met many boys that would go to school along with me. I learned early on that boys come in all shapes and sizes. Not necessarily in physical appearance but in likes and dislikes, tough as nails and some as strong as flower petals, but there was one thing that we all knew inside…country boys never back down from a fight. It didn’t matter if we were getting an outstanding butt whooping, you never gave in and you never quit.

 

In reading the quote above, it reminded me about my growing up years and what I had learned that would carry me through life. Fighting, come to find out, used to be a normal part of a man’s development, expected I guess one could say, and it was there to create or enrich inner strength. But since the days of my youth, this expectation has been added to the list of reworking what masculinity looks like in a young man.  It too has taken on water and is quickly sinking. Men today are, as the quote states, “afraid to discover if they are strong men or weak men.” They avoid many types of conflict, not just in physical battle, but also intangible struggles, in areas that are outside their comfort caves.


They have not learned what the Gambler used to sing, “know when to hold them and know when to fold them”. They just go through life ignoring that part of choice. This is not healthy to do as it provides the path to do only what feels good and not what doesn’t feel good. Seems like today the definition of internal strength of manhood, is being eroded by not only culture, but what boys are being taught, how parents raise them, the expectations set before them. It is definitely a good thing to know when to pick our battles, so to speak, but when totally skirting around the decisions, it just serves to damage confidence with their inner self. The thing inside that develops a man by providing courage, humility, gentleness, wisdom, and yes, the ever-evolving understanding of “who” I am and what my purpose in life is supposed to be.

 

Ask any man who he is and he will generally tell you what he does, ask him what is his greatest skill and it will be something he does well, like sing, play an instrument, or maybe his greatest asset is gaming. All things outside of him, things that don’t relay any characteristic of what’s inside of him. For all intents and purposes, men have become conditioned to this. Men don’t actually think about this and decide intentionally that they will never choose something that doesn’t feel good. It becomes an “instinct” response whenever they are faced with situations presented to him. They don’t actually wake up one morning and decide what kind of man they want to be that day but they do think about their wants and desires, which really turns into looking for things that make him “feel” good inside. 



This mindset has come about from many years of a “developing” world. We have all played a part in this, whether it is directly or indirectly, but we do share the load. Whether it was family oriented, politics, schools, or peer pressure, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we are here now and we need to turn the tide in the places we can, so our own family and friends don’t lose out. If you feel you are not one of those that I am referring to, great! Now go out and teach a younger man how to be one. If you feel like you are one of those that missed out on manly instruction, ask someone you know who is a good example and follow their teaching. You may have gotten here via many reasons, but don't stay here. Character does not have an expiration date nor does it require any special training. The only
prerequisite is the desire to be more than you are. To be a real man, so that when you look in the mirror, you like who you see and this man "man in the mirror" makes you smile.

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