Writer’s Name: Nanette Buchanan
Title: Real Men are to be Respected
Just saying the words “A Real Man” brings a smile to my face. There are so many characteristics and qualities that a male has that it’s surprising to know that not one is the same. In that uniqueness we often find that each man his own essence, creativity, and swagger, all of which could be considered the core of a real man.
As a child, I remember my grandfather; his height and voice stood out more than his personality. A tall man about six foot or more, with a smooth baritone voice would speak and the room would become silent listening. He would soften his tone when speaking with me and my cousins as he explained his love for fishing or watching sports. He was a hard worker, a long shoreman at the docks in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This is my first memorable definition of a man.
I was raised by my step-father who I grew to love tremendously. I knew no other father; and in the making of this “real man” he wore the title proudly. He had different qualities but lacked none. His stature was different than that of my grandfathers. He stood about five foot eight inches, and his voice wasn’t as deep. However, his presence demanded the same respect and he got it. He too was a hard worker. I remember him going to school to become a licensed electrician, a lesson that taught me to be determined in what you want and don’t give up. He stood in place of a man I met only for a brief period in my life. Most men who fill the shoes of the absent father are not thought of as extraordinary, but they are.
I married at the age of twenty one and thought I had the man of my dreams, that fairytale love. My husband was in the military, which he left shortly after we married. He worked, and we saved our money and fulfilled our desires. This man was young; we both had a lot of growing up to do, but I thought I had a “real man.” I’ve learned that the difference between my first husband and the men I noted above was maturity. A real man without maturity holds no value to himself or others. It wasn’t long after we married that I found I had outgrown his antics, his teasers, his friends and so much more. In asking myself what I was searching, what type of man did I desire? What type of man is a real man? I had to find out fast I was raising a son.
After separating from my husband I found myself living the life of a single parent. I had two children - a girl and boy. I knew what to give my daughter to be a woman, but I had to admit raising a boy to be a man would be a task. I didn’t want to dabble with dating men who would leave a negative impact on him. The search for what a man was began.
Many of my male friends laughed when I said my son would not be the “typical male.” The characteristics that made my grandfather and father the men they were were quickly fading. Physically there were many who had the stature or the voice, but often they didn’t demand respect. Yes, they spoke about it, but that command presence wasn’t there. The appearance of a real man makes one take note of who they are; and if you don’t know him, you want to get to know him. It doesn’t matter if he is dressed in a suit or work boots, dirty or clean, there’s a look about him that says I am to be respected.
There is no doubt that he believes in himself; his morals and values can be depicted by the way he carries himself. You know that much about him before he introduces himself. He is not afraid to try; determination and motivation carry him through and above adversities. His past doesn’t hold him captive and his future, although it may be unknown, he holds on to his faith in God and himself. Real men live life knowing that challenges will come and they must be ready to face the reality they bring. Not all are leaders but the followers are supporters, lending their abilities and skills when needed. Real men aren’t afraid to love, cry, dance, or show their kindness; it is a part of their core. The richness that is within them illuminates their being and that is what we see in their smile, and hear in their voice. This is the man I wanted my son to be.
I allowed those of character to enter my son’s life. I allowed them to share their struggles, teach him what a woman could not and give him direction. Real men stand knowing that others will sit. They speak up knowing others will remain silent. They love when they know others will never understand why. Some men just won’t Man Up.