Today two of my staff asked me a particular question; when do you become a man? Now, since I am the leader of the band, the oldest person in the store, generally thought to be scholarly and am revered by all, mostly because I control the payroll, I thought it was an astute question. As well, they are quite younger than I, one in college and one in his early twenties, while I am a grandfather.
The question took me off guard and required a few moments of thought. When does one become a man? Could it be different for different people? Certainly. Do some actually never become real men? Absolutely. I would however think there is a generally universal theme or time when one graduates from being a young man to a man.
Is one a man when he graduates from school, be it high school or college? I would say no. Having the physical attributes of an adult male has nothing to do with becoming a man. Some may argue a soldier is now a man. Some yes, some no. The dangers one faces in the armed forces generally doesn't make one become a man. It may hasten the process, however.
Does one become a man at, say twenty-five? No. Again age doesn't necessarily have much to do with it. How about thirty? Gosh, I would hope so. But why? That person is certainly older and in the eyes of the public looks like a man. If you walked down the street and saw him, you would certainly say he was a man but outer appearances can be deceiving. So what is the answer?
I can't speak to another's viewpoint but I would offer the following. A young man becomes a man when the world stops revolving around himself. He moves out of a self-awareness and becomes aware of a greater world, a greater responsibility. His family becomes more important than himself. His relationships with others change and often he may be secondary to others needs. As a young man a life is often viewed as a straight line. He is here and there is where he wants to go. He sees his future as an arrow. Unfortunately the world doesn't work like that and ones future and dreams takes a weaving course and being a man is how you deal with those changes while you maintain your relationships.
Life is a construction project and being a man is to be the best foreman you can be while respecting and keeping the respect of others while staying true to your underlying principles.