To Have Better Relationships, Men Need Better Role Models
A guest post by Elias J. Calisto
What does it mean to be a man and, specifically, a Christian man? How should a man treat a woman? How do we lead spiritual lives that will help us when we have families? Is there more to being a man than just our age or gender?
Those are all questions young men at some point ask themselves, and the answers they find matter. Look at how a man behaves, and you will get an idea of the types of answers he found for these questions. Is he aggressive towards others? Does he tend to physically or verbally abuse women? Does he place a large percentage of his self-worth on how physically strong he is? Men who fit into these categories behave that way due in part to the influences and role models they follow. To produce better men, we need better role models.
We are living in a time where it has become increasingly common to blame the problems and deficiencies of our culture on men. Men are marked from birth as potential oppressors and go through a school system where they are often subtly coached to view masculinity as potentially harmful and as something that has to be strictly controlled and monitored.
This negative view of men, coupled with a lack of good male role models for young men to imitate, ends up worsening matters. It leaves the male spirit deflated.
Changing this point of view won’t occur if we focus on trying to correct the masses first. Instead of a top-down approach, we need to focus on the single person, the individual. We should give men ideals to strive for by providing better role models for them to emulate.
Learning in Groups
We are social creatures and as such are designed to grow and develop in a group setting. We learn by observing and mimicking the members of our group, making corrections as we apply what we see. We learn what works and what doesn’t, which actions bring punishment and which bring reward.
This process is fine and does wonders to help us develop into adults who can function properly in society, but it brings problems when it isn’t guided properly. Good leadership and guidance are necessary for successful development. This is true in just about any area of life imaginable and it starts in the home. Take religious upbringing, for example.
One of the worst mistakes Christian parents make is leaving the responsibility of the spiritual education of their kids up to the church they attend. They take their kids to church with hopes that there they will learn all they need to live strong Christian lives; however, parents forget that the kids are not so much interested in learning what the people at church have to teach them as they are in what they learn and observe from their parents. If the parents display an attitude of indifference towards growing spiritually, their kids will most likely emulate the same attitude as they develop into adulthood. This leaves a spiritual gap that is filled neither by the parents nor by the church. These children often end up filling the gap by emulating their peers and, depending on the group of people they choose to associate with, can find themselves embracing an improper and malnourished view of the beautiful religion that is Christianity. The same is true for masculinity.
Role Models in Relationships
How can we find these role models to help us become godlier men?
If you’re struggling with uncovering the ideals of manhood and how to behave in a masculine and God-centered way, find comfort in knowing that it is not up to you to figure it all out on your own. Many men before us have lived exemplary lives, and records of their legacies live on. Their stories are accessible through movies, books, audio, etc. This is useful because not all of us have necessarily been blessed with excellent models of manhood in our families. If none of these methods is immediately available, there is also the more practical and personal method of getting involved with a men’s group at church or being bold and asking someone you admire if he can become your mentor. The answers are out there waiting to be found. It’s up to you to go find them.
For more information on sex, marriage, and finding the person who is right for you, get a copy of Becoming the One by Salomé Roat. Click here to learn more.
Meet the author,
Elias J. Calisto