In a recent conversation with a very good friend, we spoke about the four faces of manhood. This faith-based idea explores masculinity and highlights a theory that focuses on how men should be represented in our world. These four faces of manhood are believed to be: the king, the warrior, the lover, and the friend. The king is a representation of leadership and integrity. The warrior fights for what matters most. The lover represents providing tender care for others and having the ability to be vulnerable, and the friend through pursuing character builds healthy connections with others.
In our discussion, we spoke about the positives of this concept, and to the unfortunate reality that many of our young men and I would argue young ladies are not developing to their full potential (through no fault of their own). Most of the blame could point towards society and the decay of civility amongst people, and I would tend to agree in part, but I think there is a nuance here that we might be missing. The faith-based organizations would argue that these values have been lost because people are straying from the teachings of the church and the holy scriptures. Also, quite possibly a reason. But, I would contend that perhaps our society has placed the development of the “warrior” higher than any other. Our young boys see hyper-masculinity portrayed daily and are emulating what they perceive as the right path. I would suggest that we have our priorities backward and that the path of our young boy’s development should focus on strengthening the faces of the lover and friend. Educators, mentors, coaches, and teachers should foster values like compassion, empathy, character, and vulnerability. These values of the lover and friend are what we should be espousing in our children before ever allowing them the wield the sword. The young warrior will surface, but if nurtured correctly after the traits of the lover and friend we will see steady, mature, and thoughtful fighters for what matters most, humanity.
At Emerge, the nonprofit I am building, we will develop young leaders by focusing on these values and character traits described. We will be in the business of producing future leaders who serve, build-up, and stand-up for others.