Over the next few weeks, I’m going to write about “Authentic Manhood.” This is the first in the series.
Definition of Authentic: not false or copied; genuine; real
Authentic men seek real adventures, not fake or manufactured ones.
When was the last time you and your buddies said, “Next month, we’ll take an awesome road trip. We’ll get real amped up about it; we’ll make fun of Steve for bringing along his little sister’s Cinderella backpack, then we’ll drink 17 Mountain Dews and use the bathroom out the passenger window, and then, and then…?”
It doesn’t happen that way. And I’m glad.
Yes, some moments in life can be pre-planned, and some outdoor adventures come packaged. But authentic moments in life just happen; they aren’t found on Aisle #4 near the “Half-priced Happiness” nor below the “Dysfunctional Family-sized Despair.” Even though you can now post, tweet, podcast, blog and broadcast recorded moments of your life doesn’t mean your life can be downloaded, duplicated or forced.
We are all guilty of trying to force moments to happen. One of my favorite movies offers a solid example.
In the cult classic, Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays Phil Conners, a bitter, lonely, middle-aged TV weatherman who gets stuck in a mysterious time hiccup reliving the same day over and over.
Conners gets depressed because nothing ever changes, then he attempts to take his life only to learn that he can’t die. So, in typical Murray fashion, he makes the most of his situation by trying to have sex with Andie McDowell, who plays Rita, his producer. Throughout his replicating days, he inquires about Rita’s background, education and interests. At first, he learns all he can about her and begins putting his new-found knowledge to use toward his goal. However, in one scene of the movie, they laugh and fall down in the snow together; they have a great date! Bam!! They share that authentic, romantic moment, and he realizes that he really likes her.
After that day, he attempts to duplicate that moment–that perfect date–only to have it backfire again and again, resulting in a multi-cut scene of face-numbing slaps. His selfish attempts at authenticity end in guilt and loneliness.
Only after taking interest in meeting the needs of others around him does Conners win her heart. Through helping the people he once viewed as interruptions and inconveniences, he is transformed into the man he always wanted to be and into the authentic man she was looking for.
By living an authentic life, he snapped out of the Groundhog Day living.
Let’s be real men. Let’s seek authentic experiences with our families and loved ones. Let’s allow hardships and challenges to motivate and mold us toward what our families, our church and our society need.
Let’s quit trying to be somebody we aren’t. Let’s rise above cultural expectations and poor media portrayals. Let’s prove bad parenting statistics wrong.
Some men don’t even know who they are these days. Media has told them they need to be this or that. They’ve lived their entire lives lying to themselves. They’ve fantasized so much and so long about different career, spouse and lifestyle choices they don’t even know their own heart.
How can we spot the fake and counterfeit in ourselves? How can we live as authentic men? We’ll talk more about that over the next several weeks.
In the meantime, let’s think about good examples. Who do you think lived an authentic life?