The Quest for Manhood: Superheroes, Dragons, and Everything in Between

It’s Friday! Yahoo!

As the month is rapidly coming to a close, things don’t really seem to be settling down on campus at all. Such is the way of higher education I suppose…

Those of you who know me, know that I enjoy fun-filled movies packed with adventure, hidden treasure, damsels in distress, epic space battles, fiery dragons, and pretty much anything involving a fantastic quest.

My favorite being the tale of the Hobbits. What better way to prove to the world that you’ve got what it takes than by being three feet tall and still managing to destroy the One Ring of Power?! BAM.

The same applies in the video games realm… just one more quest before I go to bed (4 hours later…. ) MMORPGs are notorious for doing this to me [thanks Mike and Rick :P ]. If I could just rescue enough fluffy baby seals I’ll be that much closer to getting a giant hammer for pulverizing my enemies into dust at my feet!!!

Superheros are a similar area of awesomeness… If only we could be like Batman, Iron Man, or Wolverine then we’d be manly. Right?

There is something about completing tasks en route to a greater goal that is addicting and very characteristic of an adventuresome person. I just want a shiny new helmet or magic sword encased in flames! Every good adventurer enjoys the pursuit of something better, it’s human nature, but do we pursue the right things?

This blog has been in the works for some time (all summer) and has been inspired by many experiences, discussions, movies (Courageous), reading many wonderful books, and observations during my personal quest to becoming a man. Be sure to take some of this with a grain of salt. I’m not a  female, and this isn’t written about them. Thanks to all you contributors out there :-)

So what is it that makes our superheroes super? They don’t fold when the pressure is on. They do right in the face of evil. They don’t abandon their values. They push on in the face of certain failure. That, is the sign of a true man! Clearly, there is a very physical stereotype to being a man (strong, athletic) but it is the emotional side that many seem to have misplaced.

  • Backbone – Many men today seemed to have lost their backbone and ability to “wear the pants”… how can you be a man without the courage to stand up for what is right, the vigor and discipline to fight against something you think is wrong, or the ability to disagree when the time comes? You can’t.
  • Integrity – One of the greatest traits for any person is the ability to maintain integrity in all areas of their life. Be honest with yourself, friends and family, stick to your guns, don’t compromise because you think it might not be worth fighting for! Dictionary.com defines integrity as “the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.” What are you without integrity? Only half a man…
  • Responsibility – An interesting epidemic seems to be the avoidance of responsibility in our society. Did you or did you not cause “XYZ” to occur? Admit you made a mistake. Take steps to correct the issue. Don’t hide or blame shift! You will get much further in life by simply accepting what you have done and moving forward. On the flip-side, take responsibility for the awesome things you’ve accomplished! Another area, (which I’m not qualified to address) is in the area of families, and that’s a big one. There’s books for that :P
  • Sacrifice – Whether it’s investing time, finances, or just existing in the man-cave, there are many areas that we can cut back on to meet the needs of others. I’m all about “my time” but there comes a point when “their time” is just as important, if not more so. Men are often called to sacrifice their wants and desires in order to build and lift others up. That can be a tough burden to shoulder.
  • Leaders – Leadership is an oft talked about subject, and one with a great deal of speculation. Are you born a leader? Do you need classes? Can you “make” a leader? I would argue that is a learned trait, but one that doesn’t need to be overly bearing. The greatest leaders are capable of both taking the helm and, at the same time, they are able to lead quietly by example. I’m more likely to follow someone who shows me what example to follow rather than telling me what to follow.
  • Cultural expectations – In today’s society, the role of men has been squelched, manipulated, and twisted around. Damn straight boys should be able to play cowboys and Indians with toy guns! Males are made to get dirty, scrape knees, bleed, go on adventures, and just “be boys.” Of course they would rather be outside blasting aliens or reenacting Indiana Jones, that doesn’t mean they’re bad students or have their priorities askew! Taking away that sense of adventure creates males that are self-conscious, timid, and have utterly lost their manly identity. Where have the John Wayne’s of our day gone to?

We each have our own quests that we constantly juggle. Mine, coincidentally, culminated this summer with a combination of spectacular adventures and a big birthday, and here I am trying to take the world by storm…

What is your personal quest?

A

Picture credit 1. Picture credit 2.

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3 Comments

  1. My personal quest is Matthew 25:21 His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”
    Jim Nicola :->

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