Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What do Men Lack Most?

Written by: Conrade Yap
Date: 23 May 2012

Back in 1993, Dr Gary Rossberg traced out four of the biggest pressures and four of the major challenges for the male gender in our society. Talk to most men, and they will agree to at least some of the challenges that face them. Those trying to climb the career ladder under the pretext of bringing home the bread and butter, are at a deeper level looking for significance. Even those who are struggling with barely making ends meet are hopeful that one day, they will be able to start climbing like everybody else. Then there are those who struggles with the issue of money and finances. With greater earning power, they are more able to control their own wants and desires. Better finances mean greater ability to be in charge. Go to the restaurant and the rich can ask the waiter to run a second mile with a bigger tip. Without money, one quickly gets ushered out of the restaurant.

Then there is the area of relationships. I have seen many men who are quiet when out in social circles. They speak minimally and for many, usually the wives talk more. They have a tendency to withdraw, and to be passive. The older they get, the more passive they become. This invariably affects their relationships too. This third pressure leads automatically to sexual temptations. Without a healthy circle of people to relate to, men are particularly vulnerable to sexual temptations. Underlying the sexual temptation is a desire to conquer, to compete against one's fantasies.

The major reason why men typically go wayward as they fail to handle these pressures and challenges adequately is due to this: Lack of friends.

Table attributed to Gary Rossberg, in (Vibrant Men's Ministry Resource Kit, Denver: Promise Keepers, 1996, p9)

Without friends, one spends time simply working and climbing the career ladder. One focuses on making more money. One is unable to relate well since one does not have many friends in the first place. Worse, without friends, one's relational need is extremely acute. Husbands who do not have a good relationship with their wives are particularly vulnerable. The book of Ecclesiastes is a reminder of our need to relate to people.

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11)

The writer of Ecclesiastes has identified a key need in human beings. Two are better than one. With friends, one can be helped up. With friends, one can keep warm. With friends, living on this earth becomes more bearable.

Our modern world has become more lonely simply because we have lack of friends. Without friends, the difficult becomes more difficult, and the tough becomes impossible. It takes friends to encourage us, and to give us a sense of purpose and hope. I like this particular saying about what friends do.

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." (Source unknown)

One advantage of having friends is to be able to get a frank feedback of self. The Roman Catholic theologian Mary Hunt writes,

"Friendship is an honest mirror, but it must be allowed to reflect or its power is lost." (Mary Hunt)

Every man needs friends. A healthy person has at least 3-5 good and close friends they can openly share their lives with. This is something many men lacks. How many friends do you have? I do not mean Facebook friends or acquaintances. I mean friends you meet regularly face to face.


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