Life Lessons on Transitioning from a Boy to a Man

Commentary by Alexander “Dad” Hamilton

I know we have been talking about choices and their impact on your lives.  However, this time, allows me to show you how choosing to know the difference in roles can help empower you to make even better choices.  What I am about to tell you will benefit both males and females equally.  It will give you food for thought, something to look for when you are making important decisions both large and small.  Let’s begin with an example this time.

Recently, one of my tenants made a statement that people always refer to him as “Boy.”  Now, as you may have experienced and personally know, a man being called a “Boy” is an incredible blow to what he thinks about himself.  In fact, it can lead to build up anger resentment that explodes into every area of a male’s life.  Getting back to our story, I asked the tenant to tell me why he thought he was being called a boy.  He stated that people looked at him and did not respect him based on what they saw.  I could really see that the word “boy” really hurt him.  You see the one thing that man needs most is to feel empowered, to know and feel that he is respected.  What few males realize is that in order for that to happen they have to have certain traits and practices in place that they follow consistently and wholeheartedly.

There are several examples of males who have shown that they are men in my life.  My eldest son has three elements that he has displayed in his life that makes him a man.  First, he takes responsibility for his actions and those who he cares for.  My son spends as much time as he possibly can with his two sons.  I know many men who have children but do not spend quality time with them.  He reads to them, gives them baths and takes them out to activities that they can enjoy together.  This to me is the first step in going from being a boy to a man.  Even if a man does not have children he can be an influence in other children’s lives like his other family siblings or by mentoring other children, and joining volunteer programs that will help him feel fulfilled as being a man.

The second attribute of becoming a man is that my son sacrifices for others.  He cares about people’s feelings and tries to be helpful in any way he possibly can.  He does this without expecting anything in return.  The greatest sacrifice he made was enlisting in the military.  He was willing to give his life for his country.  When a man can surrender his own wants and desires,that is a sure sign of manhood but also a sign of extreme maturity.  Now I am not saying you have to join the military to show that you’re being a man, because there are other ways that man can state their manliness.  Take my son-in-law for instance.  Prior to him marrying my daughter, he stood by her side when her ex-husband left her with a young daughter, and expecting a second child at the time.  This young man who is in his early thirties took on the responsibility to care for this woman and her kids and they are still together to this day.  That took maturity.  So look for ways to display your matureness. 

Lastly, a man knows how to follow his passions.  When my eldest son was three years old he loved cars.  Most children can’t read at that age, but my son could be shown a toy car and tell you the maker of that car.  I found that to be very impressive.  As an adult he test drives race cars for professional drivers who then drive them in competition events.  In that instance his passion and commitment is saving lives.  In his spare time, he even repairs cars and does complete makeovers on cars.  Also his passion for cars is showing that you can gain positive recognition by doing something you love.

These are just three ways that a boy can become a man.  You see, being recognized as a man does not come just based on your age; it comes by choices, experiences and by learning what to do in a less than desirable situation.  It ultimately boils down to choosing to make positive choices as opposed to negative ones.   For males trying to grow up into men, find a mentor or a trusted male friend that you can confide in and who will help you become the person that you want to be.  For women, knowing some of the positive choices that real men make may help you make better choices when you choosing a lifetime partner.  In any case, I am always here to give fatherly advice if you want to know how males can go from being boys to men. 

Copyright NEOCH and Street Chronicle May 2013, Cleveland, Ohio