16 November

What It Means To Be A Man

by Jon Katz
What It Means To Be A Man

I woke up early this morning and picked up my Ipad and Google News came up and I looked at the news for a few minutes. It is good for me to do that from time to time, because it inspires me, encourages me to live my life in a different way I so often see men living. I look at the news from Washington – shouts, affairs, accusations, investigations, conspiracies. It seemed to have a familiar ring to it – humanity and empathy washed away in the rooster-like posturing of mostly old and angry men, trying to beat down yet another powerful woman, and the ancient instinct of powerful men to fly too close to the sun and set themselves on fire. Real men learn, powerful men seem unable to learn or remember.

And then I saw the news from the Middle East, more angry and violent men doing what angry and violent men have always done with their many rationales and justifications. It is a rare man in power who becomes a warrior for peace. Most often in history, some angry man kills them.

So I got to thinking more seriously than the Bedlam Farm Men’s Club permits about what it means to me to be a man and how different it is from the way most men are. It is sometimes a gift to be so out of touch, so different, sometimes a curse. I don’t know if we will ever get there. I will work to get there.

For me, being a man means being a Peaceful Warrior.

For love.

For protection.

For encouragement.

A real man is a safe place, not a war zone.

A real man listens and does not shout.

Smiles, does not hate or bully.

Shows his children how to live safely and well in the world. And to love.

A real man cherishes freedom and life and does not tell women or others how to live it, who to marry, how to die.

A real man saves and helps people, does not kill and attack them.

A real man respects women and understands that in the modern world, they are better equipped to exercise power as war clearly does not work any longer, if it ever did, and men in power seem to have no new models or tools for dealing the the earth as it is. Women can save the world, given the chance, and if not, they will take the chance. A real man supports them in their struggle for a better world. A real man knows men have failed in this mission again and again.

And this, too: A real man frees his creative spark and lets it live in the open world.

He understands that loving women is not about sex but is much deeper and affirming.

He opens himself up to emotion. He feels and learns to show his feeling.

He works to heal Mother Earth, the sacred task of men and women.

He loves and cares for animals because in loving them he can learn how to be a human man.

He does not raise his hand in anger, because he knows that anger is always, always, a reality check, a call to him to learn how to be a real man.


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