About Being a Guy

Another Awkward Sex Talk: Respect and Violence

This is an article I came across this morning on the NYT website. It got me to thinking, mainly because of the following quote:

Dr. Sanders thinks that a double standard is legitimate here — “maybe because I have two girls and no boys of my own.”

“Girls need to be treated with more respect,” he said. “We need to focus more on empowering girls in relationships, particularly relationships with the opposite sex. I think of myself very much as a feminist.”

What does that mean for our boys? How are we meant to treat them? Do we treat them with less respect than we do our girls? Do we show them, whether that be intentional or not that they are some how less valued in society, let alone the kingdom?

Don’t read this as me saying that our girls are treated too well, and that boys are brought up crappily. I don’t think that’s the case at all. I don’t want us, especially the church, to swing too far to one side or the other. Some girls are better at doing some things than boys are, and on the other side of the coin, some boys are better at doing some things better than girls are. That isn’t universal in all cases, but we can’t ignore the fact and say that we are all equal at everything.

I can lift heavy things. Some girls I know can’t lift things that are as heavy. Helping them allows me to use a trait that makes me part of who I am, and in using that trait it makes me feel good about who I was created to be. Let’s not diminish who we’ve been made to be by turning the things that we are into anything less extraordinary.

In light of this article, I have been thinking all day long: are we teaching our sons any special lessons? I don’t know, but we should. Because of this I’ve decided to start a list of things that I think every boy should be able to do. It’d be great if girls could do all of these things as well, but I think at the very least guys need the following skills (feel free to include any of your own as mine will be forever changing as I think of more necessities of Mandom)
Top-10 things boys should know (in parenthesis after the advice, the person who taught me the important lesson):

1. You should always open the door for a lady. This is really not negotiable. Sometimes you’ll do a better job at remembering to open the doors, and sometimes you’ll look more smooth in doing so, but you should always make the effort. I learned this in third grade when my mom made me open the door everyday on the way to school for her and all of her teacher friends. I still open the door whenever possible, and I’ll always give up my seat for a lady. (Try this one on too, stand up anytime a girl walks in the room, sometimes they don’t even realize it, but they like it a lot. Or at least I hope they do on some level.)(MOM)

2. How to start a fire. If you’re ever out camping, either by choice or post-apocalyptic necessity, starting a fire is a great skill to have. Learn how to start one quickly, and everyone will want to hang out with you. (DAD and boyscout leaders)

3. How to apologize. This isn’t always the easiest thing to do, and often times it comes with no sense of satisfaction from the other person. But when you know you’re in the wrong, and the only way to get over the problem is to go to that person and straighten things out, be the bigger man and start the conversation. You’ll be amazed at how many people wont do this themselves. Make sure you at least have the conversation; you’ll feel way better about yourself after you’re done. (MOM, DAD, and every roommate I’ve ever had.)

4. How to change a tire. You don’t want to be stuck on some epic road trip on the side of the road, or get a call from a cute girl with a flat and not know how to remedy the situation. Ask your dad to show you, it’s an easy enough process, and very satisfying. (DAD)

5. Your clothing size. This might seem like an odd choice for this list but trust me. Nothing looks worse than clothes that don’t really fit on a guy. Take the time and figure out what size really fits you, waist, inseem length, coat size (chest/sleeve length/cut), pant cut, neck size. These are all things that will come in handy at some point. (BETH)

6. Hunting/fishing techniques. Go hunting at least once, be it deer or some type of bird. Shoot something. This might seem barbaric, but there is something to shooting something in the wild, and then cleaning and eating it that brings home this hunter gatherer nature we all have inside. Fishing too brings this home, though on another level all together. Plus girls love to go fishing. (And they will out-fish you every single time. Don’t ask why, God just likes it that way.) (DAD)

7. Football. Be able to talk at least one sport. Football is probably the easiest in America, because it is likely the most popular. (ESPN)

8. How to drive a stick shift. Imagine this: some guy you know gets a new car for his birthday, and it just happens to be something like a Porsche. Imagine not knowing how to shift through a 6 speed manual transmission with a racing clutch. It would suck not getting to drive that thing, trust me. Learn how to drive stick, it will come in handy at some point I’m convinced. (DAD)

9. How to back down. Though it isn’t always easy know how to step back from a fight. You’ll be pissed at the time, but later on you’ll feel much better about yourself. (MOM. I still don’t really like this one.)

10. How to love Jesus. Not this far down the list for any particular reason, just didn’t get around to it until now. (COMCHURCH)

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “About Being a Guy

  1. You forgot to mention belching the alphabet in one breath.

    Good thoughts, otherwise.

  2. Great thoughts, Kilzer. Not that you asked for additions, but I would add: Learning to look people in the eye when you’re talking with them. This one still eludes me at times, but I think it’s crucial and not terribly natural for most males. It not only has intrinsic relational value, but as you do this over time, it changes you and makes you more human in important ways.

  3. The art of the handshake.

    firm grip. eye contact. not too long. not too short.

  4. Emily

    Impressed. 🙂

  5. laura "hattox" costas

    Andrew, you are so right. And yes, girls really do like it when you stand up when they come in a room. Good call.

    I’d add knowing at least one good dance move, preferably suited to the two-step. A guy is never so manly to a girl as when he is guiding you around the dance floor. (Teague is pretty awesome at this, if I do say so myself.)

  6. Jen B.

    Few things:
    1. Thanks for helping me change that flat, I was that girl who called you when my tire was ripped to shreds on Hwy 6, even though I have AAA.
    2. I respect men so much more when they apologize. Even though I may not understand the full gravity of it at first, I will reflect on it later and really honor that person in my mind. People don’t apologize enough these days; we like to walk around in a bubble of our exalted selves. Humbling ourselves couldn’t connect us more with our true position and show Jesus more to people.
    3. Thad has a really good point, looking people in the eye is a good habit all of us need to learn. You feel more connected to the person you are talking to, and it sort of adds a one-two punch to whatever you are saying.

  7. rk

    this is great. I love thinking about this kind of thing; i.e. stuff that is important but that can’t easily be classified as “godly” or whatever. i sort of think that “the way of Jesus” is tied to these subtle behaviors in ways that are harder to see.

    it’s funny because i just wrote a song called “the way to be polite” for the kids record i’m working on (i didn’t mean for that to be a shameless plug, but i’m sure i’ll get slammed for it anyway), and it mentions like half of this stuff (including the suggestions by michael and thad). Not the fire-building or animal-slaying, but the manners stuff.

    anyway, cool post. i like the way you blog. keep it up.

  8. i enjoy reading what you right. i mean write. have you driven the stick shift porsche yet?

  9. Pingback: Ok, so I’m not dead. « Calves from the Stall

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