What does it take to be a “manly” man? It is a question that has been debated for centuries and across continents.
On The Glenn Beck Program Wednesday, New York Times bestselling author Stephen Mansfield, who wrote “Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men: An Utterly Invigorating Guide to Being Your Most Masculine Self,” answered the age-old question.
As he sees it, a real man “does the things he’s made for.”
A man “does his duty, bears his responsibilities,” Mansfield said. “And that means recognizing that you are not here to live out your lust, your drives … what you are here for is to own the responsibilities that a man has in this life. And your own fulfillment and your own joy and your own sense of place in the universe will come out of that owning of responsibility.”
Beck said that before the show, he was challenged by his female producer about the book and whether it meant she should “have to stay at home.”
Mansfield said that’s not the way he sees it at all, but that “what’s passed for manhood has usually been so insecure that it oppressed women.”
“A man who just insists his wife be barefoot, pregnant in the kitchen is not much of a man,” he explained. “If he’s a real man, he’s happy for her to be everything she’s made to be.”
Mansfield lays out four “manly maxims” in the book summarizing how to go about being a “manly man”:
1) Manly men do manly things
2) Manly men tend their fields
3) Manly men make manly men
4) Manly men live to the glory of God
The author only had time for a brief explanation of each, but said of the first maxim that it doesn’t mean a return to wagons and chopping lumber, but acting instead of perpetually talking.
He said of the second maxim that your “field” represents your space in life. Whether your “field” is a television network or a college dorm room, “your field grows as you tend what you already have.”
Of the third maxim, “manly men build manly men,” Mansfield said the culture is not going to change because males attend seminars and read books on the topic (though, as an author, that pains him to say.) The culture will change because real men will show their sons and their brothers and their friends what it means to be a man.
But the fourth maxim is arguably the most important.
“You can’t do what you’re made to do as a man without God’s power, grace, and you can’t do it if you’re living for applause in this life so you’ve got to live for the applause of heaven,” Mansfield said. “That’s why the anchor of your vision and purpose really is with God.”
Glenn Beck described the book as the best work on being a man he has “ever read,” adding: “I’ve read a lot of them, and most of them are crap.”
“I have a feeling we’re going to be doing a lot on this book next year…” he told his audience.
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