OPINION: Putting the man in Manual

OPINION: Putting the man in Manual

Jack Steele Mattingly

Life. It’s gonna be hard. Whether you wanna hear that or not. So you can quit or you can show life who’s tougher. High school is a rough time, but you can see it through and come out stronger than before. So students, both male and female, here are some tips that can be some guidance to help put the man in Manual.

Be a man. You’ve probably heard someone tell you this at some point in your life. Guess what? You’ll hear it again. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. What does ‘be a man’ mean? Does it mean I should promote gender roles? Does it only apply to guys and tell women to stay in the kitchen? Do I have to grow a forest of chest hair and another eight inches? Should I chop down a tree, wrestle a bear, and go fishing using my hand-sharpened spear? Not necessarily. Although these tasks may leave a man satisfied, they are not what it means to be a man. There are qualities people think of when they say ‘be a man’ that really anyone can benefit from. And what better way to convey these qualities than to give analogies through overly-manly qualities. And let me clarify, these are METAPHORS. I’m not encouraging the literal meaning of these activities. But with each activity is a lesson.

Grow a beard. Figuratively. You can grow a physical one if you’d like. But by growing a beard, I mean having thicker skin. People in this world aren’t always gonna be ‘lovey-dovey-care-bear’. Go out there with your chest out and your bearded head up.

Grow an Eden. Do something extraordinary. Leave a mark. Where it could be something as large as a sequoia or as small as an apple tree. Make sure that when you leave, you feel like you did something that mattered and will be remembered for. Whether it’s fame or family, know where your aspirations and goals are so you can look back and have a sense of pride. Because that’s something everyone wants to feel: pride. So grab a shovel and find the closest clearing for that tree.

Know how to fight. I’m not telling you this so you can be the biggest, baddest kid in the courtyard. But to not be afraid to stand up. Whether it’s something physical or something you believe in. And not just for yourself, but for the little guy too. So if you must fight, don’t throw low blows and keep your head up. Stand your ground. And remember a man doesn’t back down easily.

Be romantic. A hairy chest should not make it difficult to get to the heart. So show your love and put passion into everything you do. Just look at a rose; beautiful petals but sharp thorns as well. A man is able to have a sensitive side; a soft center despite having tough skin.

Show respect to women. They aren’t objects and they don’t belong in the kitchen. Being a man doesn’t mean being a woman is any less important or great. Heck, we all came from a woman. So an important part of being a man is having respect for all people, especially women. Without them, where would we be?

Incorporate these lessons into your life. However, don’t take them too literally. With each of these metaphors you can have confidence, peace, protection, and passion. Life can be tough. But you’re tougher. The world isn’t getting any nicer and it won’t slow down for you all the time. It’s time to catch up. It’s time to be a man.