by Donald R. Barbera
The journey to manhood is fraught with mistakes, misdirection, misconceptions and missed opportunities. It is an adventure marked by its unpredictability as well as its inevitable conclusion--we all die. It is that growing from what we want to be to becoming what we truly are that completes the journey.
Between these distant and detached locations lies an excursion that builds or breaks the man. Through cauldrons of disappointment and reservoirs of ebullience there lays a resolute bearing that is incessant in its summons as the circuit of time itself. To succeed in the quest for manhood is to continue until we reach understanding and the last light flickers into eternity. To stop short, is to surrender to the comfort of mediocrity leaving meritorious dreams and noble purpose left to serendipity of others who continue the passage.
Anything worth having must be earned. There is no easy way to lighten the load or make the pathway clearer. Although we are bombarded by glimpses and glimmers of what it takes to be a man, only a man who has traveled the lonely road of trial and tribulation can even begin to explain the intricacies of manhood.
Manhood has little to do with biological functions such as having children, but it does have a direct correlation to the children that we have fathered ourselves. As fathers and men it is our duty and our pleasure to provide for those who come from us. It is not a burden, but a willing task that we shoulder gladly in order that another will have a chance to travel that unknown path.
The world is the training ground for those aspiring to manhood for there is no easy passage from the ways of children to the ways of a man. The first steps leading to manhood is the putting away of childish things. As long as we are attached to the ways of children we will never become men. This may seem a clear indicator but many of today's men are little more than large children who operate in the same realm as their younger counterparts. When we put away childish things we are immediately confronted with reality. Not the reality that we have had presented to us by caring and nurturing parents, but the world as it really is with all of warts and imperfections. It is how we react to this worldly nightmare that determines how far we will make it on the road to manhood.
The path itself is filled with dangers both seen and unseen. There are snares and traps waiting to sweep you away from your path. There are false prophets and fools who would lead you astray, but you must see through them if you are to continue the quest. There is no one who can help you. Although you will receive plenty of advice along the way, every path to manhood is different for every man.
Much of reaching manhood is making a conscious object of straining rules, bending regulations and flaunting morays set by community standards. Manhood often calls for civil disobedience. It demands standing up for what is right and refusing to sit when something is wrong. It means taking sides with the cause of righteousness even if it means going against the majority.
It demands that the shackles of conformity be shaken off when necessary and to take on the yoke of obedience when necessity demands it. It is doing what is necessary to get the job done, not what is necessary just to get by. The trail of manhood demands responsibility when reason has gone berserk and insanity reigns. There is nothing a man can't do if he follows the path of the world he will eventually reach manhood.
The path to womanhood is much the same. It requires a willingness to stand alone without the benefit of a man as a husband or as a prop to brace oneself against. Women must make their own way and become self-reliant just as men must do the same.
Having children and being a good mother count for something, but it is what you really want that determines your own spiritually and achievement of womanhood. A true woman is not mislead by the whims of nature nor by the idle gossip of others. She is serene and above that.
As men and women we all have to make the journey by ourselves. We can't take anyone with us, nor can we be prepared for hidden events that may pop-up at any anytime. It takes a lot more than a penis or vagina to make a man or a women--it takes character, vision, and courage.