Paths to Manhood



Ambition of our own never fills our souls. Approval from the Father always will. – Pete Alwinson (Executive Director of FORGE, Orlando, Florida)

Key Bible Verse: For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. (1 John 2:16)

Dig Deeper: 1 John 2:15-17

Masai culture has a clear path to manhood for a boy to take, but it’s not an easy path. As David Gilmore explains in Manhood in the Making, to become a man, the Masai boy must first endure circumcision without uttering a cry of pain or even blinking. He must then prove himself as a warrior and develop economic independence by accumulating property.

Gilmore wraps up by saying, “[In] their construction of manhood … the man is only the sum of what he has achieved and what he has achieved is nothing more or less than what he leaves behind” (emphasis mine).

Although the Masai boy’s path to manhood is quite different than what boys in Western culture experience, it’s interesting to note what is the same – the emphasis on achievement. This emphasis leads many men to make their performance (and others’ approval of their performance) the most important thing in their lives.

Source of quote: David D. Gilmore, Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), 143.

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