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A real call of duty to fight real modern warfare

REAL Men fight the REAL Call of Duty

The REAL Call of Duty

Sometimes the simplest gesture can make a big statement.  I remember the weekend when I first brought my Merry (who eventually became my wife) to meet my family in Oregon.  My parents took us to a college basketball game, and it was raining hard when we arrived at the arena.

We had only one umbrella, so Dad dropped us off so we wouldn’t get wet. That really impressed Merry — she thought if my father had that type of servant attitude, some of it must have rubbed off on me.

And though I confess that I haven’t always followed my father’s example, I did learn much from him about being a husband, a father, and a man.  I’m fortunate to have a father who modeled how to take responsibility — he provided well for his family, he loved my mother, he was involved in his church and community, and he worked hard at helping raise my sister and me.  He was consistent, stable, and wise — and he was there for us.

In fact, he still is.

The REAL Modern Warfare

I thought of my father as I was reading about men who won’t grow up.   A number of media reports over time have focused on what some call the “Peter Pan Syndrome” — the growing phenomenon of young men who drift from job to job, live with parents or with a crew of buddies, and focus much of their energy on drinking, carousing, watching sports, playing video games (like Call of Duty® and Modern Warfare®), and chasing women.

It’s as if these young men have developed a warped idea of manhood.  They think becoming a man means getting to do whatever they want.  So for them, starting a family means giving up their cherished independence.  With that type of mindset, you wonder what type of husbands and fathers they will be when they finally set aside their childish ways.

But my father showed me that being a man means taking responsibility — for your choices, for your family, for your community, and for the next generation — this is our REAL call of duty as men — taking responsibility when we would rather be passive.  And a key step to becoming that man is to eventually find a wife and raise a family.  This is hard to do if we are still at home, playing video games and not working.

Our sinful, human nature craves independence; we want to go our own way, and avoid the responsibilities of commitment to God and to other people.  As Isaiah 53:6 tells us, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.”  In other words, we are prone to be men who won’t grow up.

Yet we live in a culture that celebrates youth and beauty and independence — even at the expense of growing up.  Many young men today immerse themselves in a world of media entertainment and diversions that tell them it’s okay to live a self-centered lifestyle, free of commitments to anything beyond endless and mindless pleasure.

I could also make a good argument that this culture can influence men in their later years.  How many men revert to adolescent behavior in middle age and leave their wives and families to pursue the excitement and adventure they feel they’re missing?

What Men Need to Grow Up and STEP UP

In a culture like this, where can men — young and old — learn how to become real men?  The simple answer is:  From other men.  Whether we are young or old, we need other men in our lives who will teach us, model for us, and encourage us to make the right choices.

Husbands and fathers need to step up and take responsibility for raising the next generation.

Boys growing up without fathers need men who will step into their lives and mentor them.

And men who refuse to grow up need peers and mentors who will exhort them to act like men.

As Dennis Rainey, president of FamilyLife, writes, “While none of us ever outgrow the need for having other men to mentor us, to watch behind us, to hold us accountable, it is an absolute essential for those who would admit that their teenage tendencies are still pretty strong inside. If you find yourself grown but still exhibiting immature, adolescent behavior on a fairly regular basis, you need people around you who can call you up and out.”

And that’s how men grow up … they step up with each other’s help.

Copyright (c) 2014 FamilyLife.

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1 Comment

  1. Ed's Gravatar Ed
    November 21, 2012    

    The ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’, I must say and admit that I was guilty of this. Excellent article, keep them coming!

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