And now, the first masculine gift: Leadership
What is manly leadership?!
Manly leadership is something very wonderful. Now, like all other traits, leadership is something that can be carried out by both man and woman—there are certainly times when woman must lead, such as in a classroom, or in a home with small children—but for man, leadership is an innate quality that must be acknowledged as belonging primarily and specifically to him.
Men must lead. Period. For men, it’s not an option—it’s an innate drive, a calling, if you will, that they are compelled to answer. The reason is simple: God created man first. It was the man who requested, or called into being, if you will, the woman.
So it’s only natural that men are endowed with an unequaled sense of leadership. And I will say it again, as I did in my introduction: both men and women carry the exact same level of worth and dignity before God and man, we are both loved and honored by God, who created us to be equals in worth and dignity. But this equality ends where our gifts are concerned.
We simply do not have the same level of gifted-ness, you might say. However, our unique and indispensable gifts, when they are understood and used properly, bring about so much good for all.
And what is leadership? Well, one very basic description of leadership is that it is above all the desire and the ability to do something first. When something is done first, a path is forged. Men are path forgers, and when we look at history, we see innumerable examples of this path forging, even specifically in the lives of such historic figures as Lewis and Clark. Our culture says that men did these things only because women would not have been allowed to, but women, on a large scale, would only rarely have had the ability to have braved the hardships and mortal dangers that these men did. In examples like this, the man has gone out on a limb to forge this path, to do something that has not been done before. This is leadership in one of its purest forms. So too, in even ordinary situations, men are path forgers, such as when a man takes on a new career, or makes a decision to get married or to become a priest, when he plans a trip for his family, when he decides to start a business, and so forth.
For men, leadership is something that they are absolutely driven to do, it is not an option. In fact there are definitely times when men might much rather not have the burden of leadership on their shoulders, but nevertheless, it is there, squarely upon them, and they cannot lay it down. If they do, they will not be at peace within themselves, and their restlessness will be shown in their lives and in their relationships. If women constantly thwart their efforts or impatiently take up the jobs that they are preparing to do, they will eventually give up, lose heart, and the results will be evident: they will feel conquered and beaten down, and the woman will feel irritated and frustrated. Even Saint Paul admonishes women to submit to their husbands’ leadership. He wasn’t saying this just for the sake of convention. No, St. Paul knew that a man’s entire being is wrapped up very closely with his ability to lead and that if this ability is not acknowledged, havoc will ensue.
Unfortunately, in our culture, many women do usurp the leadership of men. I’m sorry to have to say this, but men will absolutely avoid a woman whom they believe will try to usurp his sense of leadership. Even if he cannot fully avoid her because she is a colleague, or even a boss, nevertheless, he will still usually offer nothing more than just a polite avoidance. She will never see his friendship and rarely see his devotion, because men will generally not compete with women. Men generally feel that it is beneath them to compete with women. So because leadership is so deeply written into the very soul of a man, women ought to tread lightly around it and offer a goodly amount of respect instead. This means that women should never try to undercut a man’s sense of authority and leadership by impatiently jumping ahead and attempting to do the things that men are so well suited to doing.
There are times that men will simply not lead. When this happens, however, women should ask themselves the following questions: When he makes suggestions about anything, big or small, do I normally say that it’s not a good idea and think of a better way to do it? Do I often contradict what he says? Do I find myself correcting him in everything from his speech, to his writing, to his road navigation, to his clothing choices and restaurant suggestions? Do I often tell him that he’s in the wrong career and that he should change it? Do I complain about his income and tell him it’s not enough? Do I complain about the home and let him know I’m dissatisfied with it? Do I insult him if he wants to do something out of the ordinary such as making a new investment? Complain if he wants to dress comfortably or wear an old shirt? Do I joke about him to others? Do I poke fun at his weaknesses? Do I change what he says and constantly insist on doing things my own way? When women are answering yes to these and similar questions, they should not be surprised that a man’s leadership skills have gone by the wayside.
Furthermore, there are signs that a man’s leadership has been usurped. In the short term, if a woman is usurping a man’s natural sense of leadership, you will generally see his frustration, his irritation, his anger, and his argumentativeness. Over the long term, a man whose leadership has been usurped repeatedly will show signs of outright depression, discouragement, poor decision making, obnoxiousness, and even crazy behavior. These signs show up in a man who feels that things are not as they should be, either in his personal life, in his career, or both, and they are often signs that he is angry that his ability to lead has been thwarted.
However, the good news is that because man’s leadership skills are innate, they might be temporarily missing in action, but they will never be gone.
So what are the qualities of manly leadership? There are very many, and you will see them in even the youngest boy. A man receives the gift of manly leadership right along with all of his XY chromosomes, the moment he is conceived in his mother’s womb. That’s why you will see, even in the very youngest of boys, characteristics of manful leadership such as innovation, impetuousness, bravado, cleverness, ingenuity, ingeniousness, creativity. When these gifts mature, you will see decisiveness, determination, bravery, even-temperedness, industriousness, and many more.
What if you don’t see these qualities in a young boy, and instead you see one who is sensitive, thoughtful, a peacemaker, soft-spoken, quiet, perhaps less masculine in his bodily movements, or more inclined to spend his time involved in creating artwork than in doing “boyish” activities. Are you inclined to think that because of this he is not a “manly” boy? Impossible! He was created a boy—his body unquestioningly bespeaks this—and a boy he is, to the very core. Just because there are a few incidentals that don’t match a cultural idea of how a boy should behave, doesn’t mean that he is not in fact a boy through and through—remember that every cell in his body is stamped with this proof. In the vast plan of God, there is certainly plenty of room for variation when it comes to how we express our gifts and talents. What there is not room for, however (as clearly noted in the “Handbook” that He left us), is the idea that boys can in some instances not be boys. God doesn’t make mistakes, and if he’s been created as a boy, please help him to realize his gifts: work with him and patiently show him how to use his particular gifts to become a leader, a protector, a provider, in other words, a man. You will be happy that you did, he will be happy that you did, and the world will be a better place for it.
Then how does one bring out the best in a man? By offering to him what he very much deserves: respect. Respectful behavior towards a man will bring out the best in him and cause him to want to give the very best of himself to others in return. To be respectful is to look for the best in him and to acknowledge it—to literally say what you admire in him—and then to show appreciation for all that he has to offer.
Above all, the true leader is good and just. A man can only be a true leader if he seeks the good of others as well as himself and he places others before himself with God above all. He is often willing to lay down his very life for those whom he is leading and often does just that by generously, quietly, unobtrusively placing himself and his needs unselfishly behind those of others, and doing this on a daily basis, even moment to moment. There is a list of words which can describe the gift of manly leadership: headship, guidance, direction, command, care, guardianship, governance, benevolence, management, supervision, justice, goodness, and right.
Thank God for manly leaders!
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