Manhood = Virility + Virtue

Soldier at prayerIf fatherhood is the essence of authentic masculinity (see previous post), a man’s life should be dedicated to becoming the best father possible. Only in this way will he become the best man possible. What potential athlete, believing that winning is the essence of athletics, would simply sit back and hope one day to become a successful sprinter? As training and discipline turns the athlete into the winner, so taking up his paternal responsibilities turns the boy into the man. Reaching manhood is a parallel learning process of knowing how to be good at being a man and of knowing how to be a good man; in other words, manhood is the challenge of balancing virility with virtue (words that both find their root in the Latin vir, meaning man). Too much virility and we fall into the trap of toxic masculinity; too much virtue and we leave ourselves vulnerable to bland and inactive niceness. A man of faith should spend as much time in prayer as in the gym, in the church as in the workshop, reading scripture as reading car manuals, with his family as at his place of work.

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