“Age has no bearing on manhood.  I have seen men as young as eight years old.  I have seen boys in their 70’s.  The development of character, or the lack thereof, is what separates men from boys. ”  Author Unknown.

Many of us remember the birth of a son.  I can remember every detail. 

December 18, 2005 – Evening – Tanner Medical Center – I am in a panic.  My son is about to be born.  I don’t know why I am so nervous.  But, it must be obvious.  Dr. Zoeller grabs my arms and commands that I calm down and enter the delivery room.   She does not have to tell me twice. 

Later in the evening, I look into Jake’s squinted eyes for the first time and see a miracle.

He and his little brother, Reagan, are the greatest blessings I have ever received.

But, I noticed that neither boy came with instructions.  What now?

Fortunately, they were born to a good mother who nurtured them and assisted me in becoming a good father. 

Today, they are 14 and 9.  Somehow, they both became very smart overnight while I became an old man who could be tricked at the drop of a hat.  I also noticed that my pocket change in the car would sometimes disappear (mostly quarters), my tools would find their way to other locations, and when they got into trouble, the fingers were pointed at each other. 

However, as time passes, I have noticed that these boys, and their friends, are becoming young men. 

The timing could not be better.  America is bitterly divided, we are at war with a virus that will not give in, and personal freedom is in jeopardy.  We will need more strong men and women in America than ever before. 

But, how can we tell when a boy is becoming a man?  Here are ten clues to consider:

  1. Loyalty – A man understands and practices loyalty.  A boy is loyal as long as he is receiving a benefit;
  2. Honesty – We have all been dishonest.  A man seeks to be honest even when adverse consequences may arise.  A boy will sometime lie when telling the truth would be more beneficial and come with less negative consequences;
  3. Helping Others – A boy focuses on himself. A man will focus on how he can help or better those around him;
  4. Work Ethic – A boy looks to get fed; a man will do whatever it takes to feed his family;

5.      Adversity – Throughout our lives there will be tough times.  The question is will we bounce back or bounce backwards?   Boys will sit and pout. Men will focus on God and seek how to make themselves better tomorrow.

6.      Listening – According to Ernest Hemingway, when others speak, men listen.  While we might be determined to share our story with the world today, men will be all ears. We never know what part of our own story could get solved or improved by listening to someone else’s story.

7.      Speaking – Men speak their minds at the right time.  They are not uncertain in their beliefs.  Men know when to speak and, more importantly, when to stay silent. This does not mean being a “yes man” or shutting up and appeasing the masses is honorable.  Being a man requires knowing what to say, when to say it, and how to go about it respectfully.

8.      Care for People / Use things – Men realize that people, not material items, are more important to care for.  A man will not use the people around him to provoke an immoral outcome, as a form of amusement, or to satisfy a need to accumulate wealth from others.  

9.      Own It – Men are the first to own their mistakes, apologize, and seek forgiveness.  Boys believe they have never made a mistake and do not take any responsibility when they do; and

  1. See it Through – One of the most important qualities men possess is their commitment to seeing things through regardless of how big of a failure might be imminent. Captains go down with their ships and men follow through with their word.  A man is only as good as his word. 

I pray that, with God’s guidance, we can lead our boys to become men.  Our country desperately needs their leadership coupled with the leadership of our strong women.