This is the second post in a four-part series on The Four Foundations of Masculinity.
The second foundation is Family.
After a man’s faith, his family is the next most important thing in his life. They are who he loves, why he does what he does, and will give him more happiness than anything else he can possibly do in his life.
A man needs a family. True masculinity requires a family. All of the qualities that make up a strong, masculine man, are qualities that are inherent in being a husband, a father, and a leader.
There are three qualities which are often said to define a good man: Provider, Protector, and Pastor. Family allows a man to live out these qualities.
Let’s break down the three things that a family gives a man
1. Someone to provide for (Provider)
Deep in every man’s heart is a desire to provide. This goes all the way back to the hunter/gatherer societies of old. It is a man’s responsibility to provide for his family.
He must provide for them financially. He must provide them a home. He must provide them with sustenance. Now, I’m not saying that a woman shouldn’t work and help with things, but at the end of the day, it’s the man’s responsibility to care and provide for his family.
1 Timothy 5:8
“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”
It is our duty as men to provide for our family’s needs. But men need to provide for more than financial and physical needs. We must provide love. We must provide instruction. We must provide our families, especially our children, with the tools to grow and prosper.
We must also provide discipline. It’s the man’s job to set the standard and the values of the household. It’s his job to provide correction if those standards are not upheld.
Family gives a man the opportunity to be the provider he needs and should be. It gives him someone to provide for; a flock to nurture and grow. Family gives a man purpose for all the work that he does. He works diligently. He strives in his vocation, not for his own satisfaction, but because he has people who depend on him.
2. Someone to fight for (Protector)
In his excellent book on Christian masculinity, Wild At Heart, John Eldredge writes:
“In the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, and adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.”
He writes that men need to fight battles. It’s how men are wired. They need an adventure to go on, and they need someone to do it all for.
“It’s not just that a man needs a battle to fight, he needs someone to fight for.”
Fighting a battle isn’t enough, men need someone back home that they’re fighting for. Men have a yearning to be the hero. To have a “beauty to rescue”.
Men need to be strong to protect their families. We need to be physically strong. We need to make sure we are taking care of our bodies so that we can protect our families if the need would arise.
We also need to be mentally and emotionally strong. We not only need to physically protect our families; we need to protect our families on an emotional level as well. It’s our responsibility to make sure what our children are consuming is what we want them to be consuming. We need to protect them from the evil of this world. We should be the filter through which everything they see, read, or watch is passed through.
3. Someone to lead (Pastor)
Men are born leaders. Not all men are leaders of the Churchill or Washington variety, but all men have leadership qualities. Men are to be the head of their households.
“For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church.”
Every man should be the Pastor of his family. He should be the leader. The word Pastor is literally translated from “shepherd”. We are to lead our “flocks”, our families, as a shepherd leads his flock.
Your family will follow your lead and your example. It’s up to you to pastor and lead your family. It’s not your wife’s job, it’s yours. Set the example and set the bar for your family.
Do you pray with and for your wife? Do your kids see you praying and studying your Bible? Do you have family devotional time?
Want your kids to follow God when they go out on their own? SHOW them how to be a man of God. Show your sons how to be Godly men. Show your daughters what to look for in a Godly husband.
It’s our job as men to be the leaders, to be in control and to have a plan. We are the kings of the castle, and our families look to us for leadership.
Outside of our faith, family is the most important institution in our lives. It’s more important that career, or school, or hobbies, or our passions. At the end of your life, you won’t look back and wish you spent more hours at work or more time at the golf course. You’ll wish you spent more time with the people that mean the most to you. You won’t surround yourself at your deathbed with trophies and memorabilia. You’ll surround yourself with the people you provided for. With the people you love.
Your family is not only important in your life, it’s important after your life. Your family is your legacy. They are the living embodiment of you long after you’re gone. They will carry on your name and the values you instilled in them for future generations. Make sure it’s a legacy worth passing on.
Family is a foundation of masculinity. It gives us someone to provide for, protect, and pastor. It gives us the opportunity to live out our masculinity.
If we are to truly live our lives as the masculine men we are called to be, we need family.
Family is the second of the Four Foundations of Masculinity.
Next, we’ll look at the third, Fraternity.