Most living things that grow start off in a seed form, usually in a smaller and less developed form than that which it will mature into, it’s the same way with men. From the moment of conception, we begin a process of transformation that continues throughout our entire life as we mature physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
Throughout this process we as men also take on a series of ever-changing roles, it is sometimes described as having to wear many different hats as we continue upon our life’s journey. What follows is a list identifying some of the major roles we transition through in life as a man and what we learn through them.
The role of son
We all start off wearing the hat of being a son. It is in this role that we begin to learn about the importance of respect and responsibility as we gain an understanding of the role that our father plays within the family. Father-son relationships ultimately create the next generation of father-son relationships, it is therefore an important time of learning in the life of every son.
The role of friend
Throughout life we often make many friendships and understanding what being a friend entails is important if we are to ultimately maintain those relationships long-term. It is as we wear the hat of being a friend that we learn many lessons about loyalty.
The role of boyfriend
When we finally make the connection with the girl who will become our future wife we begin to learn many new life lessons. Some of the more important lessons we learn as we wear the hat of being a boyfriend are about emotional sensitivity and treating our girlfriend with the honour she deserves as our future wife. We also begin to realise that for a relationship to truly work we must continue to work on ourselves as a man in the area of selflessness.
The role of husband
After we are married our opportunity and the need to change ourselves is magnified, as we begin the life-long process of becoming one married couple rather than two single individuals. It is within the blessed sanctity of marriage as we wear the hat of being a husband that we learn much about the character trait of faithfulness. It is in this role especially that we need to learn how to lay down our own desires and understand the importance of living a life of service. As head of the home we have much to learn if we are to become effective in our leadership role.
The role of provider
Traditionally most men wear the hat of being the principal provider for the marriage although in more recent times this is no longer universally accepted. Wisdom and practicality should be used as the couple assess everyone’s earning capacity and choose what is right for their situation. It is often advantageous for both to work to help them become financially secure as a couple, especially in the early stages of marriage, before the arrival of any children.
The role of father
Certainly, wearing the hat of being a father is one of the most challenging but also most fulfilling aspects of a man’s life. From the moment our child is born we will carry the responsibilities of fatherhood, as we lay down our own life for our family. It is in this role that we must attempt to master being an example to our children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and although none of us do it perfectly we should strive toward this goal. It is as a father that we learn about the incredible power of encouragement in the life of a child, and that our words can either hurt or heal. We also learn the value of consistency in discipline and our need for discernment in our relationship with our children and their peer groups. Also, as a father one of our most primary roles is that of protector of the family and especially the well-being of our children.
The role of coach
As our children grow, we often have opportunities to wear the hat of being a coach to them and to pass on the skills and experience that we have learnt in a sport or hobby. There is a great deal of satisfaction in watching your child pick up a skill you have taught them and reproduce it well on the playing field. Our role of encouraging them as a coach in their life often has a major influence in assisting the development of a long-term bond between you, that you can enjoy for years to come.
The role of guide and counsellor
As we watch our children grow and stand with them through the many challenges that they will face we are able to offer both guidance and counsel to help them navigate through life’s obstacles. As we wear the hat of being a guide to our child, we can offer understanding and direction in specific situations to assist them. It is as we wear the hat of being a counsellor that we can assist their self-development into maturity. By not doing everything for them and sometimes allowing them to learn from their own mistakes along the way they learn to use reason to understand the consequences of their actions.
The role of mentor
Later in life when our children have grown up and we have already achieved credibility as a guide and counsellor, we can begin to wear the hat of being a mentor. As an adult they should now be making their own decisions, but when they are facing things beyond their knowledge and experience they can still come to you for advice on important matters. The role of a mentor is that of a person with credibility, experience and wisdom that can assist another person through a respectful relationship as peers.
It is because of the natural evolution of the relationship over time that the father/mentor is no longer seen as an authority figure in their life that needs to be obeyed, but rather a friend to be looked to in times of need.
It is helpful to realise that as men we continue to grow into the roles of manhood along the way even as our children also grow. Although we may not be ready with all the answers for our children when they are born, we can confidently expect that our wisdom and understanding will grow through life’s experiences and we will be able to be there for them in their times of need.
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