The Hard Skills of Better Men 

My current series about creating a roadmap for better manhood has reached a turning point. I started the series by stating I want to change the optics of today’s manhood and gave reasons why we need to help males learn how to become better men. I then began writing about the hard skills needed for proper manhood. This included learning to manage yourself, your money, and your time. I also wrote about good personal hygiene, understanding your transportation needs, developing education and employment plans, how to organize your belongings, and the need to have fun and adventure in your life. These were the hard skills all mature men need.

Even more important than those hard skills though, are what I believe are the essential soft skills that contribute to positive relationships, personal growth, and the overall well-being of men. My upcoming posts will describe these soft skills that can help young males become well-balanced men. Better men who know the importance of mature and proper manhood.

Let’s recap where we have been so far on this road to better manhood.  

Some Guys Have Gone “Off the Road” 

I began this series with a post titled, Time for a Change in which I stated we need to change the way the world views men and manhood today. To do so, I believe we needed a better roadmap that teaches young males about how to become good and proper men. Today, too many adult males still act like young boys who misuse their masculinity so a reset is needed. This includes those immature, adult guys well in their adult years who have gone off the road to proper manhood. These are guys who misapply misuse their masculinity by exhibiting sexual abuse, racism, misogyny, power and privilege, and political insurrection. They have completely absolved themselves of their responsibilities at work, in their families, and for themselves. Many guys have lost their purpose and masked their pain with alcohol, drugs, and pornography.  

Sadly, news channels, social media, and entertainment outlets send the message that all men are bad. Unfortunately, there is a truth in the bad behaviors of SOME men but not all men are bad. The world seems to have lost that part of the message. We’re caught in a cultural tsunami in which women are saying “Where have all the real men gone?” and many guys wonder “What does it mean to be a man today?” 

Essentially, the road to manhood has become full of cracks and potholes. Guys are unsure of where to go to get proper advice on how to behave like a man in the modern world. I believe we need to rebuild the road and give them a better map that teaches them how to use their masculine traits for good.

The Road Needs Repair

Today’s man is bombarded with mixed cultural messages which are far different from those taught in our youth. How do we be strong yet flexible, stoic and emotionally available, and tough but gentle? What does it mean to remain respectful of women yet the initiators of connection most prefer? Can we be good providers while still being available fathers and partners? How do we use our God-given masculinity and apply our moral worldview while accepting all possible sexual orientations and gender identities? 

Many sociologists worry that men are falling behind in nearly every important measure. The rates of depression in males are diagnosed at half the rate of females and men die by suicide 3 to 4 times more often than women. Rapidly changing sexual mores, political madness, and unclear gender expectations create confusion about a man’s roles as a male, a lover, a husband, a provider, and a father. 

The main theme of my blog and part of the foundation of the road to better manhood, is that men need deeper, more authentic friendships that help them become better men. These are what I call GodBuddies: men who desire to become more like the ultimate role model for manhood, Jesus Christ.

A Solid Foundation for the Road

Better manhood is needed among all men, whether they believe in a higher power or not. As a follower of Jesus, I believe the road to maturity in males starts by knowing the Secrets to Becoming a Real (Godly) Man. I followed that post with Start Being a R-E-A-L Man, in which I provide an acrostic that states that a “real” man:

  • Rejects Passivity
  • Engages with God (Others*)
  • Accepts Responsibility
  • Leads Courageously 

This foundation of this road includes A Man’s Identity as he learns who he is as a man and Who’s he is as a child of God. This is an important distinction between being an immature male and a mature man. The other layers in the foundation of the road are about A Man’s Worldview, how he uses his Masculinity Properly, and Discovering Your Purpose as a Man.

The road to maturity for a male begins by first learning to Manage Yourself Well. This comes by applying some personal disciplines repeatedly throughout your life:  

  • Setting Goals
  • Developing Good Habits
  • Learning to Prioritize
  • Developing Self-Discipline
  • Seeking Feedback
  • Learning from Mistakes
  • Being Self-Aware

This process for personal discipline helps a man traverse down the road of life. At times, he will encounter encounters times when he needs to use the hard skills of mature men. Here is a summary of the post on each hard skill for men. 

Hard Skills for Better Manhood

The skills needed for manhood have changed over time, but understanding and mastering them is critical to how you show up as a man in this world.  Let me briefly summarize each of the hard skills in this series.  

Money Management

Today, almost everything in life revolves around money. While money is not the “be all, end all,” learning to manage your finances well is critical since it reflects your priorities as a mature man. Godly men have a biblical view of their finances and keep money from becoming their main priority. They know the love of money is evil but also know that money is a gift from God to be used wisely and for His purposes. They avoid greed and materialism and give generously to those in need since our wealth and possessions are temporary and ultimately meaningless in light of eternity. 

Good Personal Hygiene

Adolescent and teenage males must realize that their hygiene is critical to building self-confidence and making a good first impression. It also helps with social acceptance and professional success. Good personal hygiene includes the basics like regular showering or bathing, using deodorant, brushing teeth twice a day, and wearing clean and untattered clothes. It also includes facial hair grooming and hairstyling which enhances your overall appearance. Skincare, nail care, and fashion sense help you dress appropriately for different occasions. Weight control and scent management are critical to how healthy you appear. Godly men know their true beauty and worth. They work at developing a Christ-like character that reflects God’s love and grace, rather than obsessing over their outward appearance. 

Time Management

Another aspect of mature manhood is how well you manage your time commitments. It reduces stress, makes you more productive, and helps you achieve your goals When you set realistic goals, prioritize tasks, create a schedule, and learn to say ‘No’ (when appropriate), you can also manage your idleness and avoid any distractions that can derail your time and priorities. Mature men know the importance of work-life balance and the prevention of burnout. They find a good personal system, daily time planner, or technology for their appointments and to-do lists. Godly men prioritize their day according to a bigger purpose for their lives and make time for Sabbath rest. 

Navigation, Transportation, and Travel

All men and women need to be able to read maps or use GPS devices to navigate around. This skill set includes knowing how to drive and maintain a motorized vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle) It includes knowing the advantages and disadvantages of other transportation modes such as walking, cycling, and public transportation (i.e. riding the trains, subway, or bus system) to help you evaluate and manage your. car loans, maintenance, and insurance. Basic vehicle maintenance skills mean knowing how to check tire pressure, change a tire, and replace windshield wiper blades. Stay on schedule with oil changes, tire rotation, and brake and muffler repairs. This skill also means having a good awareness of your surroundings and situations to avoid danger. Godly men are guided by Scripture as the way to become more like Jesus.

Education and Employment

Today, it’s not just young adults from economically disadvantaged and minority backgrounds who are challenged at school and the workplace. Even adult men need continual learning and strong vocational skills to remain relevant and achieve their full potential. Learn how to articulate your thoughts clearly, listen actively, and engage in respectful and professional conversations. Develop critical thinking skills to make informed decisions, problem-solve, and think creatively. Be adaptable and flexible. Be a team player and collaborate. Take initiative, be resilient, and be self-motivated. Become emotionally intelligent. Make continual learning a lifestyle. Godly men know that if you “work hard, treat people right, and always do the right thing.” you are following many of God’s commandments. 

Organizing Your Belongings

According to Admiral William H. McRaven, maintaining an orderly life starts by making your bed each morning. Find systems to organize your life. Learn to put your clothing and shoes away so they are easily accessible. Have a dedicated space for charging, storing, and organizing your electronics. Put your grooming products, toiletries, and accessories (razors, cologne, hair products, etc.) in a container in the bathroom. Have a small personal “to-go” bag ready for an overnight stay or business trip. Organize your bedding and linens, school/home office supplies, books and study materials, sports equipment, and tools. Safely store tax returns, your passport, birth certificates, your marriage certificate, and any other important documents. Organize and store your hobbies and collectibles, along with memorabilia and sentimental items like photographs, letters, awards, and souvenirs. Godly men are gid stewards of their life and their belongings. 

Fun and Adventure 

All men need fun in their life. Many need adventures such as weekend getaways, retreats, and outdoor activities to reignite their passions or stimulate personal growth. Others need quiet time away in solitude. Regardless of how you get reenergized, finding time away with high-quality men is vital to becoming a mature man. It also helps you build friendships and your personal and spiritual growth as a godly man. Godly men know there is a difference between retreat and isolation. They know the importance of solitude for personal reflection and learning for personal and spiritual growth. They also seek proper outlets for fun and adventure to recharge their batteries. 

Being a Good Man

A few years ago, I wrote about the difference between Being Good at Being a Man or Just Being a Good Man based on some quotes from Jack Donovan, author of The Way of Man. Donovan stated, “Being a good man has to do with ideas about morality, ethics, religion, and behaving productively within a given civilizational structure”.  He also said that “Being good at being a man is about showing other men that you are the kind of guy they’d want on their team if the ‘shit hits the fan’.” 

I’d suggest that being good at being a man involves each of these hard skills. It also requires the soft skills that will follow in the rest of this series. But being good as a man who is also a good man, shows that you know how to stay on the road to manhood. 

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GodBuddy Focus

My firm belief is that we need good men but we also need more godly men. It simply requires having a moral worldview plus the desire to become more like Jesus Christ; the One and Only perfect man.  

So stick with me for the rest of the series. Better yet, go find another guy with whom you can share this information. Start to develop a deeper, more authentic friendship with him and help each other learn what it means to become a better man; a good and godly man. Then go out and find some younger guys to mentor and teach what you are learning about the road to better manhood. 

For discussion:

  • Which of these hard skills is your weakest? Who can help you develop those skills?
  • Which are your strongest hard skills? Can you teach them to someone else? 
  • Which soft skills do you feel are needed for this road to better manhood? 

[Feature Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash]

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