3 Challenges Every Man Needs to Hear

If I had the stage at the Gathering of All Men, and I was allowed to issue only three challenges to all those men, it would be these

by | Oct 12, 2018 | Men's Ministry, Principles Matter

I’m doing a series of articles where I answer my own questions posed to Blog of Manly readers and Facebook followers. You can find the videos on the website here, and you can follow us on Facebook here.

If I had the stage at the Gathering of All Men, and I was allowed to issue only three challenges to all those men, it would be these:

1. YOUR WORD MATTERS. By calling yourself a man, you’re making certain implicit promises. You’re assuring those around you that you can be counted on, that you’ll carry your weight – and when necessary the weight of those depending on you, and that you’re accountable for your actions. You declare yourself responsible for the health and safety of your people.

We’re the foundation of homes, communities, and nations. There is a straight line between the health of a home, community, or nation and the willingness of its men to be true to their words. Hold your heads up high, men. You’re in elite company. Don’t be a pompous, heavy-handed ass; but carry yourself with a little bit of swagger even as you lead humbly and in the best interests of those depending on you.

But heed this warning: this is not optional. You can’t settle for weakness and abdicate your responsibility. A man who fails to honor his obligations is directly accountable for the harm his inaction causes. We will not be content with perpetual adolescence. The video games, cheap sex, and refusal to accept responsibility will not fulfill us. Meeting our mission head on will.

It’s a heavy burden – sometimes it seems too heavy. But, men, we’re wired to find joy in this struggle. Be true to your word and honor your oaths. We’re all depending on you.

2. OWN THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN (because they’re real). Without devolving into unwinnable arguments around fluid genders, trans issues, etc., let me say this plainly: men and women – both gender and sex as defined by biology – are different.

Yet for some reason, in our society, men are taking their cues from women. Everything from how to dress, how to talk to women, how to relate to their kids, how to behave in public, how to behave in the home – women are calling all the shots.

I have a simple test to determine if you’re doing manhood wrong:


The battle of the sexes isn’t much of a battle when one side gives up. And, despite what you may have been told by your local feminist icon, the tension from the battle of the sexes is where the best sex comes from. So, all you guys acting like ladies in the hopes of getting laid for your efforts, you’re missing out.

Men, we’re wild. We take stupid, unnecessary risks. We do dangerous things. We’re naturally more violent and more likely to use physical force to solve a problem. We find humor in the most unsophisticated places. We are what we are.

The notion of “civilizing” men is fine, but as T.R. said, “Over-sentimentality, over-softness, in fact washiness and mushiness are the great dangers of this age and of this people. Unless we keep the barbarian virtues, gaining the civilized ones will be of little avail.” That’s a notion that isn’t obvious to women. It’s why women can’t teach males how to be men. They lack an instinct for half of the equation.

But more than just character traits, men and women are different in their intended purposes. No more or less valuable, just different.

Men should be the first line of defense. Men should be the primary providers. Men should be the spiritual leaders. We are the sun in our children’s solar systems.

We’re different. We’re unique. It ought to be a point of pride (for both sides). It’s definitely not something we should seek to eliminate.

3. TOUGHEN UP A LITTLE BIT. I recognize that men aren’t cookie cutter. When I speak in generalities, I realize that some people are out there screaming, “not me!” That’s fair. There are variations with the group. But even in those variations, some distinction between the genders should exist.

Also, keep in mind, that not all differences are ideal. Sometimes being different is bad. It makes you less prepared, less capable, less accomplished. You won’t hear that from your mom or your wife, but hear it from me.

For starters, Quit Crying So Much. Toughen up. Get some muscles. Spar with your friends so you know what it feels like to take a punch. Or throw a punch. Play tackle football or playground basketball and give/take some hard hits and fouls. Do hard manual labor and cut your hands up and get shit in your eyes. Walk more miles than you thought you could walk carrying a heavier pack than you thought you could ever carry.

Toughness is the secret sauce of fulfilled manhood. Being tough enables you to be useful. You can fix more stuff, carry more stuff, and be more useful to the people around you. You aren’t deterred by obstacles so you get more stuff done. You’re not dependent on other (paid) people to solve your problems.

Don’t underestimate the lift you’ll get from being tough.

And, if you ever find yourself in a situation where violence might be necessary, a visible willingness to do violence is a pretty amazing deterrent.