My name is Shaun and several years ago I set out on a journey to grow up once and for all and was faced with the daunting reality that I wasn’t really sure what that looked like. The more I discovered the more I realized how vastly different true manhood is from what we have been lead to believe by the world around us. I realized that the media has it all wrong, the academy has it all wrong, industry has it all wrong, and sadly so do most of the religious organizations.
This blog isn’t about me, but since I am the author, you’ll want to know a thing or two about me; at least enough to have some context as to what shapes my thinking on things. There are a few basic things you should know.
I’m married to the most amazing woman in the world, she is good from the inside out, and has stood by me through it all. Each of you will need to find what I call “anchors” and “motivators”, concepts that I will define in several of my first few posts to this blog. For me, “because she deserves to be married to a real man” serves in both categories. I understand that not every reader is married and some who are, may have difficulty finding anchorage or motivation there; however, stick with me and you may find your eyes being opened to possibilities you never before considered. Together, this woman and I, have added three precious souls to this planet. They are still young, which also deeply shapes my views on things.
I am a businessman, for almost twenty years now, a leader, coach and entrepreneur. I have experienced a great deal of success in this realm, and great disappointment as to the lack of satisfaction that came along with this success.
I am not perfect, never have been and never will be. I have made so many mistakes in my life which is partly why I haven’t shared my mantastic discoveries publicly until now. I felt totally unqualified to bring this message forward until I read this quote by Soren Kierkegaard, where he takes on the piety of the clergy:
Parsons who live by presenting the sufferings of others; and that is regarded as religion, uncommonly deep religion even, for the religion of the congregation is nothing but hearing this presented. As a religion … just about as genuine as tea made from a bit of paper which once lay in a drawer beside another bit of paper which had once been used to wrap up a few dried tea leaves from which read had already been made three times.
In this quote, Soren was taking issue with preachers who built entire religions by preaching on the suffering of others, while having none of their own. Soren likens that to making tea from a piece of paper that had once been used to wrap up a few used and dried tea leaves … not tea at all really! As I read this, I realized, who better to explore manhood than someone who has mucked it up entirely, gone round, and began to discover a set of truths that work. I accept that there will be a tinge of hypocrisy in these writings, and I, at the same time, loath hypocrisy; however, I have resolved these things in that I am writing about idealic manhood. I know I fall short of it myself, but know all too well how much we all need an ideal to which to strive. In my writings I affirm to ideal as well as my personal commitment to it, but make no claims that I have arrived.
I am a spiritual person and much of my discovery of what it really means to be a man is inseparable from my spiritual journey. My spirituality can best be categorized in the Judeo-Christian vein and further as an evangelical Christian. I cringe even as I type those words because of what those words have come to mean and how they have been abused in the world today. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians – you are not like him”. Nonetheless, the reality of Jesus and His teachings, and the teachings He inspired, are worked into every nook and cranny of my views on manhood. I understand that not all readers will approach things from this particular world view and that is okay. We don’t have to believe the same things, on all things, to discuss the journey to manhood; however, to understand much of my views on things you do have to be, at least, neutral with regards to Jesus. If you do not believe in His Deity, as I do, that is okay; however, if you reject Him, wholesale, many of these concepts may not resonate with you. The same can be said of The Holy Bible. I’m not asking for you to believe, as I do, it the total sufficiency, inerrancy, and perspicuity of it; however, if you reject it, wholesale, I’m afraid that, for you, reading on might be a waste of your time. Along with the Bible, much of my views have been shaped from antiquity, and I will periodically call on literature from Beowulf to Bronte and Lord Byron to Thoreau. Old books can tell us a lot about what manhood has looked like over these many thousands of years.
I am endeavoring to write in this way because I have come to deeply believe that true manhood is in grave danger. In danger in America and in danger in The West as a whole. The situation would be dire, or down right hopeless, except that by all definitions “the west” includes Australia and New Zealand. I suspect that the “real men per capita” (a metric I have just now invented but fully intent to qualify and quantify), is being propped up by Australia and New Zealand despite the attempts of Europe, United States, Canada, and Latin America. Of all of the battles that we have taken on so far in the twenty-first century, none, to my mind, are as important as the battle to protect a true and right definition of manhood.
I’m excited about this journey and look forward to hearing from you along the way.