Ah, the 90’s! I remember driving my mom’s Mercury Cougar through the “mean streets” of Lincoln Park, blaring the radio with the bass turned up and the windows rolled down while I was on the way to my girlfriend’s house. My favorite jam was, “Whatta Man” by Salt-n-Pepa, and I couldn’t help but imagine (key word) the song was written about me, my Used Jeans, IOU shirts, and mildly stellar good looks.
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Though my conclusion was WAY off base, the reality is the song did aim to teach me a lot of what it “meant” to be a man. Thankfully, I had a number of solid relationships that I could look to that would help create a healthy balance of what being a man really meant.
1. Ken McCage (Provider)
Growing up I watched my dad work a lot of hours and a seemingly unending schedule to ensure our family was financially taken care of. He worked hard, saved money, taught us to live within our means, plan ahead, and the importance of taking family vacations.
2. James Penix (Servant)
In my nine years serving at Woodhaven there wasn’t a week that would go by when I didn’t see Brother James repairing something at the church. He never hesitated to serve, no matter the job or how often we asked. I’ve never seen someone so willing and happy in serving.
3. Gary Howard (Lover)
I’ve never seen a wife gaze at her husband the way Phyllis looked at Gary. I don’t know their age (he’s passed away now) but I just remember as a teenager seeing this couple standing in the back of the church after service. They were kind to my family and me, but what stuck out was how much she really loved him. To her, Gary hung the moon. Their boys thought he was a superhero even after his hair turned grey and they had families of their own.
4. George Blackburn (Encourager)
Growing up I never saw him treat someone poorly or say something mean. He seemed to always have a smile on his face, an uplifting word to say, a hug to give, and a handshake to extend. At his funeral the preacher referred to him as “A prince of a gentleman.”
5. Carroll Piggott (Fighter)
Now, before you laugh at his name, understand he could probably whip your butt—even from his wheelchair! With Brother Piggott you always knew where you stood, and if you were standing on the wrong side of right…he would confront you about it. I didn’t like him much as a teenager, but I fell in love with his heart as an adult. I realized he always stood with the pastor and would talk with him privately about a misunderstanding. And regardless of what took place or who the opposition was, when someone needed to stand with the pastor, Brother Piggott was the first one in line.
I’m not sure how I would have turned out if these examples (and many more) weren’t in my life. To be honest, I don’t want to entertain the thought.
Sometimes guys don’t have these type of role models in their lives. You can’t create mentors for them, but you can give them a leg up on what they need to know. I wrote a book with Jeffrey Wallace and Mike Hammer that’s all about the things guys need to know. Check it out at everyguyshouldknow.com.