Every man reading this (at least most) will agree that being a man is so much work. From societal expectations to corporate, even family. I would be lying if I said that I have figured out what it means to be a man, let alone a husband and a father. Growing up as a guy who has spent virtually all my life in Nairobi, these are some of the things that I have learned, some I have seen and some I have heard about being a man. Men don’t cry, they don’t openly talk about their feelings, we don’t ask for help, we figure it out. We never let anyone see our weakness. Heck, we don’t ask for directions. We’re superior to women. A woman should love you more than you love her. You are the man of the house and whatever you say goes. You can’t be soft or too nice, otherwise, people will take advantage of you. The more alcohol you can handle, the more masculine you are. Men provide, protect and procreate – that’s as much as it goes. We have multiple relationships, we flirt, we cheat, and that’s just what we do. Being a virgin is almost considered taboo. These are just some of the many guidelines or rules as some call it, that men live by.

            But who really came up with these ideals? One thing is for sure, they were definitely not made up by God. They were made up by human beings and by our culture. When you look at the real definition of a man, nowhere in our DNA is it written that we have to be tough and violent, that we’re not supposed to cry, that we’re not supposed to get in touch with our feelings and emotions, that we’re not supposed to ask for help, that we’re better than women, that we’re not supposed to show weakness, that we can’t be kind, tender and sensitive.

Yes, some of these biological advantages definitely served us well tens of thousands of years ago when we were living in caves and had to kill lions – David style… The year is 2020, times have changed, drastically! And we need to change right along with these times.

Now, I know what some of you may be of a different opinion that nice guys finish last. While it may be true in some cases that nice guys finish last, kind guys never finish last. There’s nothing weak or unmanly about being kind, in fact, it takes more courage to be kind because it goes against what our culture says a man is supposed to be like.

Some time back, I checked into a bar to hang out with some long lost friends. As we chilled out and had some pep talk as we ordered for drinks, one of them asked me what I had come to do if I’m not taking alcohol. “I can’t waste my cash on soft drinks” he went on to say. It was a statement that was meant to make me feel inferior to the crew. Lucky me who is comfortable being me. But how about the guy who’s struggling to find his identity?

We need to begin to break this assumption of what our culture says a man is supposed to be, it is causing more harm than it is good. By telling and showing men that emotions, feelings, and expressions are weak, we are telling and showing them that they need to be something they are not. We are making them feel like they are not good enough, like they are not man enough unless they embody what society deems it is to be a man. And telling anyone — man, woman, boy, girl, adult, child — that they are not good enough just as they are is a recipe for disaster. It’s quite unfortunate that a good chunk of ladies have bought into this misconception of who a man is and relationships have suffered due to this.

Encourage men, young and old, to talk about their emotions and feelings. Give them a safe space where they won’t be judged or ridiculed for not living up to our “rules” of what it means to be a man. Just because we have penises and muscles and testosterone doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to cry, or be scared, or feel lonely, or ask for help.

Back in the day, I thought it was gangster to love many women. I thought it was gangster to live a carefree life. But through the years, and with the perfect gift of a loving wife. I know that there is nothing more gangster than loving one woman in many ways. There’s nothing more gangster than being a Christ-like man. Let’s face it, it takes more courage to be who God has created you to be because it goes against everything society expects you to be.

Let’s do away with these old outdated ways of manhood that have been handed down from generation to generation without anyone stopping to think for a moment why we have these rules and the harm it can cause, not just to our young men, but to the world as a whole and every living being in it.

What does it mean to be a man? It means take initiative, to be strong, of good character, supportive to our women, courageous, and bold, not by embodying what someone else says a man is supposed to be, but by embodying exactly who God says you are.



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