There is no other way to put it. Men need to step up and (no pun intended), be a man. What does that mean though? What is the definition of “being a man?” The lines of manhood are blurred and should be wiped clear of confusion. If we don’t have concrete characteristics of a man, how can one strive towards not only being a man… but being the best man he can be?

First off, being a man doesn’t mean becoming a juice-head in an effort to intimidate any guy who crosses your path in the wrong way. Being able to beating the hell out of someone because you want too doesn’t make you a man. It makes you a bully. If you think bouncing 400 lbs off your chest as you grunt and spit on your face makes you a man, you are mistaken. But sadly, that is just the beginning of it all. It goes much deeper than that.

There is a stigma of men that we need to be in control. We need to be the breadwinner. We need to make the decisions. Well guess what men, those days are over. Wait though, do not think we have lost all power. We have power. We have the power to choose our own fate. We have the power to better ourselves and our world… which presents the problem and the solution.

Problem? We don’t use our power to better this society. We don’t use our power to even better the people that surround us on a daily basis. Because I am in college, I aim this post to the 17-24 year old male. The comparisons come easier that way.

It all begins with leading by example. For what you do not stop, you condone. The women being grabbed by her boyfriend (your friend) after the walk home from the bar? Well, you didn’t stop it, therefore you condone it. You had the power to stop it and you chose to do nothing. Here lies the problem.

Why are we so afraid to stand up and say something? We are so wrapped up in the essence of being one of the guys that we don’t even know what it means to become a man. I don’t have some definition that can create enlightenment across the spectrum of manhood, but it boils down to one thing. The protection of all, not just the protection of our own.

It is always about, “I have to protect myself… I have to protect my family… I have to protect my friends… I have to protect my girlfriend…” What are you protecting them from? From the people that YOU as a man have the power to change in a positive way? So, what about my people? Are people that are solely in your network the only people that matter? Have we departed from the fact that we are human? This is where my confusion lies.

We as men, as leaders, as powerful creatures protect “our people” from the people that are exact reflections of OURSELVES. This past semester I met a guy that I became friends with rather quickly. He was genuine. His sister was visiting him along with this parents. She was probably about fifteen-years old. He talked to her about guys in front of me. He told her if anything was happening that she didn’t want to happen, say no (nice and loud) and call her dad. He almost painted the picture of “all guys are bad news” which is a common theme that many fathers have when preaching to their young daughters. I was able to watch them say goodbye to each other as she went home with his parents and he returned to the busy college days. He really cared for his little sister. He looked devastated as she left. I felt for him…

He punched his girl friend in the face from behind during the first week of the summer. Arrested and charged with assault. Escalated quickly I know, but how did everything change so quickly? He just tried to protect his little sister from himself. You have to see a problem with that.

Changing what it means to be a man, starts with… Yeah you guessed it. Men. It’s time to redefine being a man.

 We have the power to better ourselves…

which presents the problem AND the solution.