LADIES: 7 Signs He Is No More A Boy But A Grown Man

Age does not a man make.

While the law says a boy becomes an adult when he reaches the age of 18, the measurement of manhood is not his age. Nor is it the size of his muscles, or knowledge, or even the amount of hair on specific body parts. I didn’t understand what it was to become a man until after I had become one.

A boy must learn to, and be committed to, working daily on improving himself in these seven areas:

(1) A Man Has a Love for Others

These past two months of the COVID crisis reminds me that love is in the little things. Like wearing a mask. Or gloves. True love always strikes me as an act, not a feeling. Love requires us to put others before ourselves.

Even when you’re “in love” — you’ve got that feeling — you’re putting that special someone before yourself. Admittedly, it might be an act in hopes of “winning her over,” but you’re still unselfish for a minute.

(2) A Man Owns a Sense of Peace

I’m not talking about the opposite of war. I’m talking about an amount of confidence that keeps a man from starting battles with others. It’s the mature version of “my daddy can beat up your daddy.” With confidence, you know you don’t have to pick a fight. At my 30th class reunion, I asked a bully I fought back against why he stopped. His answer was, “I didn’t want to risk the embarrassment of you beating me up, so I left you alone!” I discovered a truth that night. Some insecure boys become bullies. They pick fights because they’re afraid and have absolutely no confidence in themselves.

(3) A Man Exhibits a Behavior of Kindness

A kind man is one who, as they say in 12-step programs, “does the next right thing.” I learned that phrase while helping serve as a volunteer in a program. It’s a great phrase.

(4) Do the Next Right Thing.

When a man sees someone in need, he helps them. When he sees someone mistreated, he seeks justice for them. When a man sees the sadness in others, he finds ways to plant joy. When a man hears a lie, he corrects it — gently. When a man sees an argument escalating toward a fight, he steps in to disarm all involved. When faced with a struggle, a man seeks wisdom and guidance. And, when offered knowledge and advice, he will listen to it. Hopefully, he learns from it. Those are how a man does the next right thing. And, that’s how a boy begins to exhibit the behavior of kindness.

(5) A Man Shows a Faithful Attitude

If I had to choose one characteristic out of these seven that makes a man, this would be it. The centrality of this characteristic is because it is equally central to being a man. A faithful man is honest. What he says matches what he does. As my grandfather would say, “a man’s word should be his bond.” In chemistry, a bond is an electrical reaction between two or more atoms that hold those atoms together to form a stable and reliable molecule. When two atoms of Hydrogen form a covalent bond with one atom of Oxygen, a powerful bond creates water.

The relationship between H2O is so strong that you can float heavy objects above thousands and thousands of molecules of water that share their bonds. The bond is reliable. The bond is strong. The bond shares its strength with others. A faithful man is trustworthy. If he says he’ll do something, you can bet it will be done. His promise would qualify as a guarantee on a loan. His faithful attitude undergirds his words, his relationships, and his life. When he commits to “love, honor, and cherish till death,” she knows he’ll be there, no matter what. This attitude — state of mind — directs the other six characteristics of manhood. A Man Uses a Gentle Hand

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh one stirs up anger. That bit of ancient wisdom proves true today. This gentleness underlies a man of peace. A harsh word belies a cruel heart. It creates enemies quickly. I mentioned one of my boyhood heroes earlier — Paul “Bear” Bryant. After a tight win, Bryant didn’t celebrate or rub it in. And, after a bad loss, he didn’t blame others. Even if the complained about a bad call, Coach did so with a gentle spirit and a kind answer. I believe that’s why he decided to settle his case out of court. “The Bear” rarely ever “ran up the score” against an opponent — not even a rival.

(6) A Man Builds Self-Discipline

The ability to manage your feelings and weaknesses while pursuing to accomplish the “next right thing” even in the face of temptations to abandon good is called self-discipline. We often think of the word “discipline” as a correction. Self-discipline is understood as a self-managed correction. But, the term “discipline” also indicates that one is a “learner,” a “follower.” Thus, one who is self-disciplined directs his learning and discovers a way of life — or philosophy — to follow.

(7) A Man Has a Joyful Spirit

Finally, a man has a joyful spirit. I’m not talking about the class clown. I’m talking about JOY. A joyful man keeps a positive mind even in the worst of times. That’s because he sees every disaster has an eventual happy ending. At a minimum, there’s always a good lesson to learn (he’s a learner, remember?). When you have confidence, things will turn out better, and a discipline to manage your emotional responses, you’re able to influence people just by being. They recognize something inside of you that they don’t have — and wish they did.

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