Loading
September 09, 2013
How do you know you’re a man?
By Brian Caulfield *

By Brian Caulfield *

Guys of a certain age will remember Chuck Connors, TV’s version of Charlton Heston, who blasted his way across the small screen as “The Rifleman” for five seasons beginning in 1958. Week to week, he was the consummate straight-shooter: a widower riding the West with his pre-teen son, working hard and saying little, encountering trouble (usually a gang of black-hatted bad guys stealing livestock), and doing justice in his square-jawed, reluctant way by shooting two or three with his rapid-fire rifle, which he wielded like a handgun.

It was pure testosterone fun.

Connors came to mind when I was considering the topic of this article: “How Do You Know You’re a Man?” He starred in a less popular TV series in the late 60s called “Branded,” also set in the Old West. This time he was an Army commander wrongly accused and court-martialed for deserting his troops under fire. The dramatic opening scene each week showed Connors being stripped of his hat, insignia and sword and marching out of the fort as the high wooden doors closed behind him. The theme song ends: “Wherever you go for the rest of your life you must prove you’re a man!”

It was a great theme for a 10-year-old kid like me to hear. The sense that there was a measure for manhood and the possibility of being cast out and BRANDED was instructive and somewhat frightening. How would I respond to the challenge? Would I cut and run to leave my men, my friends, behind? Would I be willing to suffer and die for others, for a good cause? How would I shape up under fire, or the battle of life?

How would I prove that I’m a man?

Our American culture lacks definitive rites of passage for bringing teens into manhood. There are some unofficial rites, such as getting a driver’s license, ordering your first legal beer, getting drunk, and even graduating from college, but somehow many guys manage to remain adolescent in action and attitude through all these passages. First sexual experience has served as a last-resort rite of passage for generations, but we know that premarital sex is more a sign of irresponsibility than maturity. Not even marriage seems to be a popular passage into manhood, with most men waiting until nearly 30 years of age to tie the knot, and then not too tightly.

Maybe we don’t want to run the gauntlet with the elders of the tribe hitting us with paddles as in some primitive cultures, but we American males could use some more defined ways of declaring ourselves bona fide adults – grown men with a mission.

I welcome male readers to give their own answers to these basic questions:

When did you first know you were a man?

Was there a moment or passage you experienced?

How do you think our culture can better prepare our adolescents for the challenges of manhood?

Brian Caulfield is editor of the website Fathers for Good, an initiative by the Knights of Columbus that features regular articles, videos and other multimedia on the subject of Christian fatherhood. A father of two young boys, Brian writes on the spiritual truths found in daily life and the issues men face while striving to live out their vocation.
« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

3D Church mapping
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Jul
30

Liturgical Calendar

July 30, 2014

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:44-46

Gospel
Date
07/30/14
07/29/14
07/28/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 15: 10, 16-21
Gospel:: Mt 13: 44-46

Saint of the Day

St. Peter Chrysologus »

Saint
Date
07/29/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:44-46

Homily
Date
07/30/14
07/29/14
07/28/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: