Be a Man

16 Dec

During a related workplace discussion this afternoon, I thought back to my last article on domestic violence. While recognizing that this social ill is widespread and affects so many, I won’t dwell on it for too much longer.

However, I remember reading an article in a magazine recently about the power of mens’ religious organizations and the place of men in society in general. Too may men fail to recognize their true role in society. As such, about 40% of marriages in Canada end in divorce, and only 1.5 children (these are statistics; no sense nitpicking over the 0.5 of a child :) are born to each Canadian woman of childbearing age. In Quebec, the majority of children are born out of wedlock. (See StatsCan) And then of course there’s anger and violence which are particularly endemic among young men. The development of young priests and discernment of vocations do not receive enough attention. Much of this can be related to our society’s misplaced identity of men.

Too many men, according to Terrence Moore (see the Claremont review of books, Winter 2003, at, are either “wimps or barbarians”. This is actually the title of Moore’s article. When not contributing to the barbarianism that leads to crime, violence, and treatment of women as objects for example, many men fail to speak out to help remedy these social evils. These men fall into the “wimp” category.

Men need to step forward and be neither “wimp” nor “barbarian”. Then there will be progress and justice in society.

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), British poet, novelist, and short story author, gave us a valuable and lasting ideal of what a man should be in a poem he wrote for his son. Kipling’s poem is entitled “If”.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

-Rudyard Kipling




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: