Everything has an excellence – its highest good. And those principles that govern our behaviors and keep us aligned with our excellence are our ethical standards. To become men of excellence we must then consider the ethics of manhood.
Often when we think of ethics we think of professional standards or perhaps political correctness. What do we need to say or do so that we don’t get in trouble with HR. The emphasis is often on reminding us to play nice with others – avoiding harm more so than pursuing true good.
But, at its core, ethics are to provide aspirational standards for us to move ever closer toward achieving our created purpose. And this is true with manhood as well.
The ethics of manhood include in part the call to protect, provide, and bring life to those around us. While certainly this looks different from one generation and culture to the next, and even among men within the same group, there’s still this standard we long to embody for ourselves.
For instance, for many this will include having a family of our own and offering our strength to protect them and provide for their needs. For others this might entail being a type of spiritual father, or to otherwise use our father-energy to purposefully bring something new into existence that blesses others.
Likewise, we might protect our communities from physical harm or destructive teachings, provide basic needs or spiritual nourishment.
To be sure, there are perhaps infinite ways to live out this ethic – each tailored to our unique strengths. But this common theme of protecting, providing, and bringing life connects them all. And we miss the mark as men when we’re not striving toward these aspirational standards.
In the end, ethics names the principles that point toward our excellence. And the ethics of manhood remind us of our duty to protect, provide, and bring life to those around us.