by John Hawkins | May 16, 2008 8:00 am
“You think I am brave because I carry a gun; well, your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility, for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground. And there’s nobody says they have to do this. They do it because they love you, and because they want to. I have never had this kind of courage. Running a farm, working like a mule every day with no guarantee anything will ever come of it. This is bravery.” — Charles Bronson in The Magnificent Seven
You can scarcely pick up a paper these days without reading about someone talking about “rights.” However, the word “responsibilities” doesn’t seem to come up as often. That’s a shame because our “responsibilities” are every bit as important as our “rights.” In fact, the “responsibilities” are more important in some ways because of our nature.
We human beings are born savages, not much different than highly intelligent wolves. It’s only because we have been socialized, civilized, taught better, and bathed in the grace of God that we have the wherewithal to live together respectfully in a civilized society.
Moreover, because men are bigger, stronger, and more naturally aggressive than women, we particularly need to be schooled on what our duties are — not just as human beings, but as men.
To begin with, a real man should be able to shoot a gun, catch a fish, hunt, take and throw a punch, know what to do if a tornado or hurricane hits, cook a steak, jump-start a car, change a tire, drive a stick shift, give a firm handshake, read a map, handle a budget, swim, tie a tie, give a 5 minute speech, comfort someone who has just had a loved one die, negotiate a raise or a price on something he’s going to buy, and tell a pushy salesman “no.”
However, real men understand that their responsibilities don’t end with mere skills. Men have duties that go far beyond that.
Men have an obligation to treat women with respect, to open doors, to pull out chairs, to pay for dinner on a date, to act in a chivalrous manner — and a real man wouldn’t physically hurt a woman if you put a gun to his head. In other words, a man should show a woman the same respect that he would want another man to show to his sister or mother.
That goes double for a man’s wife and family. Every man has an obligation to protect and provide for his family. A man with a sense of honor doesn’t abandon his children or put his own wants ahead of his family’s needs. Moreover, the sort of man you’d want your son to grow up and be, is not only capable of taking care of himself, he will find a way to make sure his family is taken care of as well. For a man like that, having to see his own family take government assistance or charity is a rebuke that cuts him to the quick because it means that he has failed at one of his most important jobs.
Additionally, not every man is going to be a president, CEO, or general, but every man should be able to lead and act responsibly when the situation calls for it. He is the one ultimately responsible for his own life, his own family, and for setting an example. Not everybody has the same religious beliefs or version of patriotism, but men should understand that standing up for God, country, and what’s right is important because it sets a much needed example for others to follow.
That’s why being a pistol-toting gang banger or a pick-up artist with five children by five different mothers doesn’t make you a real man, although people sometimes confuse that sort of bad behavior with manhood. A real man isn’t just the sort of guy you’d want to cover your back in a fight or someone you’d want with you if you were trying to meet women; a man who deserves to be emulated is decent, loyal, trustworthy, courteous and feels an almost instinctive outrage at injustice and desire to protect the weak.
Real men are responsible, honorable, and do what needs to be done. As long as this country never runs short of men like that, the greatest country on God’s green earth will continue to thrive, prosper, and show the rest of the world how it should be done.
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