Writer’s Name: Charlotte Templeman
Title: The Look of a Man
When I think about what a real man looks like I do not have to look far for the answer. A man is an individual who takes care of his family by providing a safe environment for them. He is the protector of his household and he leans on God or his spirituality for guidance. He provides his family with a secure sense of stability while being there for them emotionally, physically and spiritually. He has a strong work ethic which he shows every day by going to work, even when he does not want to. A real man respects women, especially his mother and his wife. He loves her unconditionally along with his children and he supports her every endeavor. A real man not only takes care of his immediate family but he extends himself to others when needed.
From an early age I was blessed to see first-hand the look of a real man. That man was my father. He worked daily to provide an income so that my mother had the resources to take care of me and my siblings. Not only did he financially take care of us but he always encouraged us to do our best. His motto was “go to school and learn something.” He gave us accolades when we did something wonderful but he also reprimanded us as well. It was all done out of the love he had for us and we appreciated it as we grew older. My father instilled values and morals in us by teaching us to respect our elders and other human beings. He showed us the importance of loving ourselves and each other. Today my father is 83 years old and he continues to be loved by his family and friends. He continues to teach his grandchildren, especially the males, about valuing life and living it to the fullest. He truly exemplifies what a real man is and from his teachings my two older brothers know it too.
But what if a young boy growing up today does not have the example my siblings and I had? What would their definition of a man be and what would he look like? Would he be the drug dealer on the corner making a fast buck? Would he be the rapper who constantly degrades women and put them down? Or would he be the man who does not work but relies on a woman to take care of him? Often within our communities there are single mothers who have the task of raising boys to men. Most of them are doing their best without the help of a man but as we know it can be difficult raising a son alone. The difficulty does not come in the lack of love they give or the resources they provide in ensuring their needs are met, the difficulty is a woman cannot teach a boy to be a man. That is why it is imperative for single mothers raising sons to have positive men around them.
Young boys growing up have to be made aware that it is okay to be respectful, hardworking, loving and kind with a solid foundation to do the right thing. They have to understand that a real man does not hurt, degrade or abuse their loved ones but instead uplift them and motivate them. They have to also understand that a real man never stops learning and is always eager to learn something new. The trend of young boys growing up without fathers or positive men in their lives has to change. This change can come from the old saying; “it takes a village to raise a child.” As a village if we do not get a hold of our boys early and teach them right from wrong and the look of a real man, it is highly possible that we may lose a lot of them to unfortunate circumstances. Our African American boys are too valuable and needed. Are we committed to raising men or non-productive males? It is highly important that we nurture our boys from an early age and surround them with positive images; doing this will increase the number of African American boys going to college as opposed to jail. Let’s show them the look of a real man and give them a head start in life. They deserve it. Are you on board?