by Early L. Jackson

Black couple travel

There are unspoken rules of conduct that men abide by.

The summer of 2013 is gearing up to be an action movie junkies’ dream come true. With releases set from Hollywood heavy hitters like DeNiro, Smith, Hanks and Cruise, I have already prepared to beat the heat of summer in the movie theaters. As usual, I look forward to a couple of films that were adapted from the comics. Last year was the Dark Knight’s run, this year it’s none other than the man from Krypton, Kal-El. Most recognize him from his earth name, Clark Kent.

I can’t tell you the times I wrapped a towel from my mother’s linen closet around my neck and ran off to simulate flying. Every boy has once dreamed of being faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive. But somewhere between adolescence and high school our once lofty dreams approach life from a safer perspective.

There are unspoken rules of conduct that men abide by. See, the worst insult you could give a man is that he’s somehow acting less than what a ‘real’ man should. So we go through great lengths to ensure our manhood is not questioned. In this we often lose sight of transparency or being authentic. Instead we are working overtime to keep up a facade. This behavior is passed down time and time again. But as men, we can never grow pass what we refuse to confront. Here are a few ‘myths’ we carry as men of steel:

  • Men don’t have feelings, therefore they cannot be hurt: This is a flat out lie. As I often say, we have the same feelings as women with a much different expression. Any guy who says a woman has never broken his heart or let him down needs to get his head examined. As men, we are occupational while women tend to be relational. So we find our identity in what we do, not who we know.
  • Men just don’t like to talk: The truth is, we don’t like to talk at the exact moment women do, but we do talk. We speak about things that affect us or inspire us. If you ever want to see a guy really get chatty, tap into what he’s passionate about. That’s what matters most to men.
  • Men avoid commitment at all costs: What connects us to our manhood is how well our families are taken care of. I don’t believe I have been more ashamed or disappointed in myself than when my finances fell too short to take care of my family. I felt less than a man. Often if we have a doubt about our ability to provide, we tend to shy away from that commitment.
  • Men never get depressed: Absolutely we do! The difference is, early in boyhood we were told, big boys don’t cry. We took that mantra to heart. In fact, we added on that big boys don’t share their emotions. We took it as a sign of weakness. But anything without a pressure valve to give release will likely explode.

I have always been fascinated with the story of Superman. Not just because of his incredible acts of heroics, but because the people closest to him never made the connection. Somehow he could come up missing, he could save their lives and spend time with them, and no one ever thought Clark was really Superman. I guess that’s appropriate. As men, we have lived the truth that it’s the other way around. Superman, was really Clark Kent all along.

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Early L. Jackson is co-founder of New Direction Coaching Associates and author of “Groomed For Greatness: 31 Days To An Empowered Life”.

 

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