The Measure of a Man, by J.H.

Not too terribly long ago, I was at work and came across a young man. (The word “young” is used as a relative term. I am 37, and this young gentleman was approximately 20.) I work for the U.S. Army on a military installation in CONUS, and this young soldier out of uniform happened into my work area to ask me a question. And the manner in which he asked me the question made my blood boil. It wasn’t that he was disrespectful or rude. By those standards he was completely polite. But he looked at my feet and muttered, and then he repeated the process when I asked him what he said. Having noticed this trend among younger men of late, I couldn’t help but ask him, “Son, didn’t your father ever teach you look a man in the eye and speak up when you’re talking to him?”

Imagine my surprise when the young man literally turned red as a beet, raised his eyes to my chest, and said, “No, Sir, he didn’t.” I was floored. This wasn’t sarcasm or snark. This was legitimate ignorance. I softened my tone and explained the etiquette of the situation, and we moved on. But I began thinking; how many young men out there are not learning from their fathers what it means to be a man? I’m talking about the lessons that now seem obvious and like common sense for those of us fortunate to have been brought up in a world where conversations took place face-to-face and not over text message, but are becoming increasingly lost as our culture automates and emasculates itself.

What’s This To Do With Prepping or Survivalism?

Question: So what does this have to do with prepping or survivalism, in a traditional sense? Answer: It is about establishing the standards for men and what we ought to expect, both now and in a post-collapse society. This matters, if we are to ever re-establish the type of Godly, Western nation and values we have surrendered in the culture war. Now, I don’t claim to be any type of sociologist or have any deep insight into that, and I do not pretend that I can pin down every characteristic or item that a man should be or have. But I do hope to provide a bare bones outline that will open a conversation among the blog’s readers that will help us all attempt to emulate and teach our own sons how we ought to be, as men.

First Standard- Faith

The first standard of a man is that he has faith. He should be well-versed in his Christianity and do his best to live a Godly life that is pleasing to the Father. His faith should guide his conduct and actions. This is the foundation for all other characteristics to follow.


He is inconspicuously generous. Selfishness is an ugly quality in a man. Charity should be a part of his make up, specifically through tithing to his church, but also by giving of his time and ability. When a neighbor needs a new roof, he should be the second one up the ladder. When the Little League needs a coach, he should find the time in the evenings. He should not do these things to garner praise or attention. These things should make him uncomfortable. His giving should be in silence and/or anonymity.


He has integrity. His word is his bond. If he says he will do something, he does it. He does not back out or make excuses, but puts all of his effort into keeping his word. Truthfulness is his normal approach, particularly when it is disadvantageous for him to be so. It is easy to tell the truth when there is nothing to be gained by lying. The real mark of character is to sacrifice personal gain in the interest of integrity.

Good Physical Shape

He is in good physical shape. Obesity is a sign of sloth and a weak will. Not every man can be a body-builder or a world class athlete, but all of us can maintain proper body weight and physical strength with some minor will-power and activity.


He is a protector of his family. Though he avoids conflict as best he can, he never abandons his recourse to violence. He balances his emotions, not allowing them to control him. Patience, restraint, and forbearance are virtues he recognizes but also that sometimes there is no satisfactory substitute for physical force commensurate and proportional to a posed threat.

Well-Read and Well-Rounded

He is well-read and well-rounded. Formal education is a luxury many of us have been blessed with. However, it is by no means a measure of intelligence. Education can be largely self-directed. Nevertheless, a man should have a firm grasp of as many fundamental subjects as is possible. He should be comfortable discussing topics ranging from John Locke to John Calvin to John Adams, from automobile mechanics to wood splitting to plumbing. We all have improvable minds and should seek to expand them.


He values moderation. The topic of alcohol and its merits (or lack thereof) to survivalists, preppers, and Christians, in general, has been debated many times over, and it is not my intent to rehash it here. My focus here is moderation. If a man chooses to indulge in any legal vice, be it spirits, tobacco, caffeine, or candy, he should do so in moderation. A man should not bend his will to foreign substances. He knows the line between an indulgence and an addiction, and he takes care not to cross it.


He is quiet. Beware a man who speaks too much. He should choose his words carefully and sparingly and should avoid boastfulness, braggadocio, gossip, and idle chatter. An unceasingly wagging tongue is unseemly and is a sign of nervousness, femininity, and a lack of self-confidence. When he does speak, however, he enunciates his words, making eye contact with his audience and avoiding slang and profanity. Profanity is the sign of an unimaginative and unengaged mind.

Gainfully Employed

He maintains gainful employment (unless retired after a long career). His work, whether it be for himself, a company, or a charity, is a priority for him, and he makes it his earnest duty to put in a fair days work for the wage he has agreed to accept for it. He avoids frivolous sick days. Note that I’m not advocating never taking time off to recharge, only taking time off under dishonest pretenses (that sick day when we’re not feeling sick). It goes back to integrity and being where we are committed to being when we are committed to being there.

Labors But Maintains Acceptable Grooming Standards

He does not shy from physical labor, dirt, or sweat but still maintains acceptable grooming standards. When appearing in public or to company, his clothes are clean and pressed, he keeps a neat and maintained haircut, his nails trimmed, his facial hair (if any) maintained, and he is bathed and presentable, not appearing unduly disheveled.


He is respectful of those around him and pays heed to the sensibilities of his neighbors and those sharing the public space with him. He is not loud, overbearing, demanding, or rude, but instead he is considerate of the rights of those around him and takes care not to trod on them, or to unnecessarily offend those around him. That being said…

Ethics and Values

He does not back down on matters that play to his ethics or values. Immorality, corruption, or evil in silence are not issues from which he suffers, but instead he opposes these in both word and deed whenever they appear. He does not make mountains out of molehills, but he maintains and clings to his convictions in matters of conscience. Moral relativism is generally contemptible to him.

Items For Every Man to Own

On a related, though admittedly tangential, something else I have noticed many of our young men no longer have or understand, is that there are certain items that every man should own. I wish to clarify that you are not a man because you own the following items, but rather you own them because you are a man. I am purposely omitting brand names or my own choices here, because to do so would inevitably confuse the issue. However, I am of the opinion that every man, not every prepper, not every survivalist, but every man, should possess several core items. These items speak to his civility, preparedness, and overall masculinity.

  1. A tailored, three-piece suit. Not an off-the-rack Wal-Mart special, but a quality suit specifically modified to fit his frame.
  2. A pair of high quality, shined, leather, dress shoes that match it.
  3. A high-quality wristwatch. It doesn’t have to cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, but it should be a thoughtful and considered purchase and not a $20 junk piece from J.C. Penny.
  4. A high quality, functional, pocket knife.

Lessons Learned, Not A Perfect Example

Let me finish by saying that I am by no means claiming to be a perfect example of all of these traits, or that I am somehow better than anyone or anything like that. I merely wanted to put out verbiage that outlined what I try to be and lessons I’ve learned from countless men in my life who have taught me how to act and conduct myself. The list is also by no means exhaustive, and I honestly look forward to other’s insights on this topic.

This has been another entry for Round 74 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
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  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
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  7. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value), and
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Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
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Round 74 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. Life sometime knocks a person down. A man down may try to keep up the look but be struggling to recover.A man may look at first glance to be not worthy of your company until you get to know him. Offering a hand out will often not be taken. This man does not want a hand out but an offer of work will be reward for both men. I is not without risk/reward to make the offer of work. It can be an investment.

  2. Well said, even though this man has no 3-piece suit, dress shoes or wristwatch. My Father was a true man and blessing. If I could change one thing in my life it would definitely be the first standard of faith. Ultimately I was led to Christ.

    The failed feminist movement destroyed not only women, but also men. A key factor in the lack of real men today is supply and demand. Women today do not expect these qualities and many tear down real men for possessing them. Fathers ought to make this article required reading for their daughters.

    1. Rodge D. Thank you for that last line …agreed that fathers should teach their daughters by example and clear instruction regarding what qualities a ‘man’ should have. Our young adults today are so confused and misguided thanks to entertainment, social media and the lack of stable family role modelling.

  3. So many points in this article are spot on. So many young people today don’t know how to communicate face to face. It gets irritating. On top of how many young men are raised by single mothers. They never learn to be a man. It is discouraging but those who wish to change the situation can find organizations to help them. Gun clubs, fishing clubs,automobile clubs and several others.

  4. JH-one of the best things I’ve ever read on here. So spot on, I wish every young man could read it. I’ll add something to your list of must haves since you opened it up to suggestions, a basic set of hand tools and the know how to use them. Thanks for your article.

  5. J.H.
    What a great and timely piece. This should be required reading in every school in the nation.
    Your section “Quiet” reminds me of someone I must share the holidays with. If you told this man you dug a hole, he would not show any interest in your accomplishment, but would then proceed with a 10 minute lecture about how he personally knew the guy that dug the most perfect hole ever. Not only did he know him, but he handed him the shovel (because he has no idea how to dig a hole) and without his assistance it would never have been done properly. This guy is 64 years old so it’s not always the young that have this problem.
    People like this remind me of one of my favorite Bible verse:
    “Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions.”-
    Proverbs 18:2

  6. Thank you. Excellent article.

    I’d like to add one thing under respectful. Every man should use and teach their children the simple use of “Please”, “Thank You” and “You’re Welcome”. Common respect to everyone they talk with no matter where they meet them.

    Recently I made a rare visit to the Golden Arches (moderation). I placed my order and stepped back to wait as they put together my order. Behind me in line a twenty something stepped up to the register. I noticed he looked at the employee behind the register directly in the eye and said “May I please have an Egg McMuffin….”. He continued with his order. When the employee asked a question on the order he answered “Yes, please”. When he was handed his change and coffee both times he said “Thank you”. The next young man stepped up to the register. He kept his eyes glued to the menu board mounted on the wall above the employee. He said “Yeah, gimme a Egg McMuffin…” and the rest of the order. He never made eye contact with the employee, didn’t say a word when he got his change or his order. His eyes were either on the menu, money, or McD bag. No eye contact with enployees.

    In a SHTF situation you may find yourself helping a stranger. Listen for “Please” and “Thank You” and eye contact. It’s an indication of the measure of that man and maybe an indicator of someone you can trust.

  7. Very well said sir.

    How can you learn from your father, what he didn´t teach?

    The First Standard is IMPOV Character, having faith make a characterless man not better.


    He gives reasonable warning, when he can´t hold his word.
    He stand up with the truth for others.

    So a full pacifist is not a man?

    Items For Every Man to Own
    So if he cannot afford them or if isn´t ethical(Vegan) or practical to own them?

    1. Good points, Sir.
      If your earthly father didn’t teach you, your heavenly Father would like to. And He will probably use other humans in the process. But those who have no earthly father are at a tremendous disadvantage. Those who have effeminate fathers are almost as poor.
      Having true faith (as opposed to idle opinions) will make a man’s character better.
      No, a passivist is not a complete man. He is disabled, unable to act.
      Which of the items listed can a vegan not own–the shoes? People can complain about a suit not being practical, but I can tell you that in the African Bushveld, they are of another opinion.

      1. @CF

        I mean´t pacifist not a passivist.

        Yes the shoes, i personally wouldn´t want to wear a classic suit in India, but mostly i mean´t if he cannot afford it – a full Suit from shoes to coat cost a bit and if that Money is needed for more important Things like Family(maybe a home), profession or education it should go there.

    2. Article said: “protector”
      ThoDan asked: “So a full pacifist is not a man?

      My response to ThoDan: Sir, this question, comes across as “prickly/contentious.” Are you personally and genuinely “a full pacifist”? Or are you taking an adversarial position just to be argumentative and waste everyone’s time? I’m truly interested in your motivation.

      In response to the question, a man is required to be the protector and provider for his family. If you can explain how a man may adequately protect his family during normal times, and during times of societal breakdown or collapse, while still fully practicing pacifism, then I’m all ears and would love to hear it.

      If one can effectively protect with pacifism then a “full pacifist” certainly could fulfill the requirements of being a man. But if you cannot explain effective protection from lawlessness by pacifistic means then logic dictates that the “full pacifist” would be a failure in his primary responsibility as a man, therefore he would (logically) NOT be “a man.”

      I await your short, concise, direct, and logical response and explanation.


      Goat Rancher Ron

      1. I´m not a pacifist(military service and pacifism don´t fit well together), but i respect a Person who is willing to die for those beliefs.

        It would be a very better world if it would, but i don´t believe it could truly function.

        So i asked this question out of intrerest for the answers

  8. I am shocked that a man of 37 has this figured out! Though I was blessed with a wonderful father, who taught by example, I fear I didn’t put the pieces together in a logical manner until later in life. Prior to that time, many of the traits mentioned above were a part of my make-up without even thinking about it. Thanks, Dad! This realization makes clear the responsibility I hold for my young son. I’d better step up my game! Time moves quickly!
    Also, if I didn’t know better, I would swear the author is Kenneth Royce (a.k.a., Boston T. Party), who has written a 3 book series entitled, “Modules for Manhood: What Every Man Must Know”. If any Dad, or young man (or old man, for that matter) would like more mental exercise on this topic, I recommend the books highly! They should be a customary high school graduation gift for all boys (if only they would read!….)
    My Dad, and most other American men of the day, entered “manhood” in uniform, fighting Nazis and Japs. Thank God most of them knew what a man was by watching their fathers! Otherwise, “Sprechen sie Deutsch?”
    May everyone have a wonderful and blessed New Year!

  9. Overall, an excellent description of a man. However, whether a man wears a 3 piece suit or a 2 piece one is a matter of style, not an indication of his character. Also, I have chosen to use a $30 Timex watch and do not think it’s any reflection of my character. In my thinking, a watch is like a tool, and thus its appearance is secondary.

  10. I agree with all your points (except perhaps the 3-piece suit). Buy I feel that it is important to discuss alcohol and drugs. Use alcohol in moderation or not at all and do not use drugs or be involved with anyone who does.

  11. We live in a multicultural America. Looking someone directly in the eye is European – but not African or Asian.
    What you suggest was correct when we had 1965 demographics. Now we have all men are rapists, white privilege, and LGBTQ “pride”. You aren’t going to find a 3 piece suit in “the hood” – you will find saggy pants.

    However I will point out a much greater irony.

    Just yesterday on this blog was an article where there was a good workman but he DIDN’T SPEAK OR UNDERSTAND ENGLISH. And there was not even a comment about there being anything wrong with that in the article. Take all your dozen points. Take your example. At least that young man spoke American English and at a level you could talk about such things.

    I juxtapose these two articles – you want men to be worried about clothes and mannerisms. Yet we aren’t even worried about being able to speak and understand the same language.

    Do you have to learn to deal with milquetoasts, or should the milquetoasts man up?
    Should we all have to learn Spanish, or should the workman have learned English?

    I would think the frontline on the culutural battle should be having English as the offical language and everyone learn to speak and read proper English and that is far more important than current aesthetics.

  12. Ex-Senator Allen Simpson of Wyoming once said of integrity, “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.”

  13. Great article. A suit is important, there are some situations where you look like an idiot with out one. I’m a simple man that makes a living with his hands and an excellent quality well fitting suit can project a lot of power in the right setting. And never wear shorts and a polo shirt to a funeral….I’ve seen it too often.
    I’d add to this, a man should own a few well made quality guns and know how to use them properly.
    The only things I learned from my father was how to take a physical and mental beating and a good work ethic. Made me a stronger man, I can’t be beat down.

  14. Agreed except for the First Standard of “Faith” and knowing Religion and living a Godly Life and such. I believe in a sort of a separation of church and state kinda thing. Now if you want a ‘tribe’ of like minded friends to hang out with – sure. Definition of a Man- nah. Not even in the same space. I can reference plenty of trash that doesn’t even deserve to be called “Human”, let alone “Man”, that can appear to be knowledgeable of Christianity/Religion. Plenty of manly characteristics without being programmed to spout off some verse to try and seem wise or put down your fellow human. If you need allegorical direction for your morals and ethics…hey, that’s great. That demonstrates some level of awareness and concern. Every Human being has blind spots in awareness and needs help thinking things through on occasion. If you need the social aspect- great. I dont like people quite enough to go that route, but that is my issue. Your relationship with a higher power is your own last time I checked…but again…to have this being the first standard….I gotta call it when I see it. This is an ingratiating maneuver worthy of any politician. (I feel like I have to take this stance since all other comments are flat out agreeable….religious justification….ever heard of that term? Middle East uses it alot. That a BIG rock I am throwing at your article and very much on purpose, cause that is the direction you are taking it.) otherwise…I am 100% in tune with what you are saying. So- if you are talking about someone you like PERSONALLY, and Faith is the first standard…that is your own personal opinion. But I can point out a very many historical figures that were tough, wise, gentle but fierce when provoked…and the greater majority were of completely different faith or religion than any of the flavors of Christianity…and they were still studs and worthy of anyone’s respect.

    Here is another, older definition you might also agree with that leaves out all that messy bit of personal perspective and focuses purely on competence:

    “A Man should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
    — Robert Heinlein

    1. It’s not what you think God is. It’s what God thinks you are.

      You do not get to make up the truth. Reality is what it is. The universe did not create itself. Someone who moves into another’s house and makes themselves comfortable may be much less comfortable when the Owner arrives.

      The Founding Fathers were fully aware that morality rests on religion. If you doubt this, look around you. Or maybe that won’t help…if the nearly complete loss of both Christian and traditional pagan morality is comfortable for you.

      Also, if you read some of Heinlein’s very early stories you might see him a little differently. They don’t get republished. Farnham’s Freehold, for one. And a short story about a survivor in the woods getting rid of his wife and having sex with his daughter, if I remember correctly.

      1. Have you ever heard of Hubris?
        Why do you think that the things you WANT to be true are Gods Will?
        Wise people know that they don’t know what God wants, but try to live a good life anyway.
        There is more truth in Heinlein’s work than there is in most religious texts!

    2. Thank you for reminding those who think that religion is the beginning and end of everything that it is NOT necessary to be part of the herd.
      Good people don’t need religion, bad people won’t obey it.

  15. We’re talking about our grandfather’s generation.

    Luckily was raised by an old fashioned Scandinavian
    Grandmother ( parents were divorced early, mother worked full-time ) and she instilled my morals, values and principles.

    Dealing with young men now ( i’m 50+ ) is hugely disappointing.

    Surly, arrogant, complete lack of manners seems to be the order of the day with the exception of guys who have been in the military. Not all , but most are decent.

    Getting shot seems to take the “punk” out of these young men. Not the best way to get a dose of maturity granted, but at least there’s some hope for this generation.

  16. I’m not sure that a suit has anything to do with being a man. Every person that I consider a man did not need one. My father, god rest his soul, wore a one piece jump suit, or flight suit, and he was more than likely the most respected man that I knew. He gave money to all the churches in town, “covering his bet” is what he called it. He took over hauling propane for man so he could keep his insurance, the man had bone cancer, my father took no money for this and would be offended if anyone offered to pay him. All this while running a café, bar, bowing alley, hauling mail, and running up to the family ranch to help his parent and uncle. Plus flying cowboys to rodeos allover the U.S. and Canada. A busy man is a saintly man.

  17. Ability to function in a social situation without being uncomfortable or making others uncomfortable is a big part of being a gentleman. By choice, I live in a remote impoverished rural area where the elected officials are on food stamps and setting aside enough food for the winter is a major concern for most. Not many tailored suits, yet I once traveled the dip circuit and so have a tuxedo pressed and sealed away along with a gold IWC.

    My father had little acclaim for engineers (yet he employed some) often remarked that ‘libraries are free’ whenever someone protested a lack of education kept them down (he was self educated and few wiser men I have ever met).

    I think Charles T. Davis summed most of manhood up in a poem echoing Herodotus. He wrote that the ancient law of youth was to “ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth…

  18. Thanks to the feminists and government welfare, very few children grow up with fathers in the home. Sperm donors, baby-daddies, every-other-weekend dads, and child-support payors are now the norm in our society. A child needs a mother and a father in the home, not two mommies, or two daddies. Society won’t get better until society fixes the home and family. Courageously, and out of necessity, many single moms and single dads do the best they can with what they have.

  19. My father was a good man, and he taught me much of what you mentioned as necessary to learn. But he died when I was 13 and no one took his place. . Over the years, I noticed many times that I had some rough edges that others had smoothed out. I have tried to adapt but I know I am still missing some things and I work on them. The influence of a good man is essential to a young man and the lack thereof is hard to overcome.

  20. Do you have any awareness of varying societal norms? In many Asian countries, where our youth will be involved in business transactions, staring directly into someone’s eyes is the height of impoliteness.

    It’s also very difficult for those with autism, who may otherwise be very intelligent and competent in their work.

    1. I’ve not taken the bait on any of the other negative comments. We, each of us, are entitled to our own opinions of what makes a man and what he should be, but this one was over the top. So you mean to tell me, because at some point in the distant future, we could possibly be conducting business with someone hailing from the Asian culture, we should disregard and discard hundreds of years of western norms of teaching our young men to look a man in the eye when you speak to him? I hadn’t realized the Chinese had taken control of America quite yet.

      What’s more, as a man with 2 autistic family members, I can attest to the fact that what is difficult is not impossible. Autistic folks are more than capable of meeting standards of behavior if those standards are presented and upheld firmly. If you’d rather make excuses for them, however, then expect what you accept.

    2. Lolita,I’m pretty sure the author wasn’t writing about young men in Vietnam or Indonesia but right here in the USA. So don’t muddy the water by throwing in excuses for how real men should act just because you’ve got someone in mind who doesn’t measure up…

  21. I would have loved to have been surprised about the manner of the “young” man’s initial try at asking the author a question but, unfortunately I’m not. Societally we are at a place where parents don’t even teach the most basic of situational observation & everyday survival skills – looking both ways before crossing a street. Just watch when you attempt to navigate a mall or big box store parking lot.

  22. Well said, although I think it would have sufficed to say a suit with matching tie and shoes…dress watches are just a fashion statement any more, you might as well as ‘ a good pocket watch or time piece ‘.
    My personal beef comes when discussing men volunteering their time with youth activities. This is the area where all men can help children that are missing male influences in their lives. Youth mentoring in areas of hunting and fishing is a new area that is gaining popularity in our area. But the biggest area of need that I see is in youth sports, where more and more families are expecting/paying others to take care of(babysit) their kids while they sit around on their phones or even worse, complain about what the coaches/refs are doing while they do nothing. Volunteer sports have almost died in our area in the last 30 yrs as recreational/volunteer leagues are replaced by competitive or paid leagues where the parents are not expected to do anything.

  23. “A Man should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
    — Robert Heinlein
    A career in the Army afforded me the opportunity to do all of the above (minus dying and writing sonnets) except the hog butchering. Fortunately an assignment in Colorado allowed me to butcher a couple elk, and other assignments provided multiple deer to be butchered. I cannot recommend military service too highly, whether enlisted or officer. And you don’t have to stay for a full career, but could accomplish half or more of Heinlein’s list in three to six years. I hadn’t planned to make it a career, but loved every minute of it.

  24. Give it a rest, Lolita. And as for encountering young men who lack skills, etc. on the points of being a man, train them! I’ve trained many away from the folly of their ways, and it sure beats moaning about it. If some one is autistic, I’m sure we can refrain from staring at them, or them at us and if they’re Chinese, and don’t like it, too bad. It’s the Anglo-Saxon/Viking in me. Deal with it. One indispensable trait of a man is that he doesn’t spend his life apologizing for who he is. Need an example of this kind of failure? Obongo.

  25. I am a high school teacher. I see a lot of theses kids being raised by their mothers or by a step dad. Video games instead of playing outside while younger along with having their stupid (smart) phone is another factor from detaching themselves from communicating and their environment. Home school….just because they can google the answer doesn’t necessarily make them smart. The average student over the past decade has disturbingly lower standards. They have little self motivation. The trophy participation or 100% honor roll hasn’t helped either.

  26. Great article.

    While walking out of the grocery store one day, I held the door open for a woman about to walk in. My five year old son darted out the door right in front of her causing her to stop. I was irate with him. When I asked him why he did not wait for the lady to walk in first he looked at me with a puzzled look. He didn’t know what he did was wrong. My job as a father hit me like me ton of bricks that day. I was then irate at myself. I realized if he was going to be the kind of man described above it is my responsibility to turn him into that.

  27. Amen. Teach that very thing to my Cub Scouts. I make them look me in the eye and shake hands like a man. My spirit leaps when I see my son put it into practice. For that matter, any of the boys.

    Comfortable in a tie, tux or ballroom pants. Hang sheet rock in the morning and dance at the black tie event that evening. Have not worn a three piece suit in a couple decades or three.

  28. I had an adopted grandfather who expected me to model the behaviors written in the above article. He got me involved in the Boy Scouts and my scoutmasters also worked hard to mold us into honorable young men. This article really hit home. I’ve tried to raise my boys to display the right attitude and show respect but I often ask if I’ve done enough.

  29. I always seem to have mixed thoughts on these articles, but that’s a good thing. We, as adults, should always question the standards we live by.

    Being a Christian does not make you a better man. It can, but it is far from a check mark that needs to be marked. I’ve known agnostics, and Buddhist I respect, and Christians I wouldn’t let near a small child. Religion can help guide someone towards developing a strong sense of character and integrity, or it can give someone an excuse to look down on others, and justify taking advantage of others with the knowledge that you will be “forgiven”

    What really matters is to have “something to live for” and a strong moral compass to live by.

    I have a suit, Bill Clinton has a suit, Adolph Hitler had a suit. I know a lot of people with a nice suit, and nothing in the bank, in the heart, or that are down right evil. Being able to dress appropriately for a social situation is more important.

    It’s not easy to try and define what a “real” man is. Most of your items I would agree with, at least to one degree or another.

    Here’s a few items I would add.

    Treat people with respect, regardless of social standing, unless they have shown not to deserve it. Do you treat the person serving your coffee, or sweeping the floor in your office, with the same curtesy you show to your pastor, boss or “the rich guy in town?”

    Don’t be useless, or dependent on others due to sloth or excuses. This is hard to quantify, but what I am saying is that learning new skills should be a never ending process.

    Know what situational awareness is, and have it. Many say they do, most don’t.

    In the end, thanks for the article.

    I always enjoy these. We may disagree on some items, but that doesn’t matter. Having a code to live by does. It really doesn’t matter if your code is a little different from mine.

  30. I think too many folks are a little hung up on the three-piece suit comment. It needn’t be a three-piece, but every man ought to have one good quality, well-fitting suit and a pair of quality leather dress shoes. If cared for properly, quality dress shoes will last a long time, particularly if you take a traditional approach. A suit is the go to for weddings, wakes/funerals and the unexpected meeting that could change the course of your career. You don’t need to be a “suit” to wear one.

    Kenneth W. Royce (aka Boston T. Party) put together a series called “Modules for Manhood”, that can be found on amazon, for kindle or good old paper. I believe that he intended to write three, but I’ve seen only two. They are must reads, and cover the topics of this post and MUCH more. I wish I had all of that material available at my fingertips when raising my kids, although I was given a good foundation. My boy is a fine man now, and an aviator and captain in the Corps. My daughter is a confident and professional young woman, who knows not only what she wants in a man, but what she should expect and demand in one.

    Thanks for a nice article and the start of a conversation for many men. Far too many have abdicated their responsibilities.

  31. On the subject of “The Measure of a Man”, I believe that “If” by Rudyard Kipling sums it up quite succinctly and also reminds me that we all have a lot to aspire to! Regards

  32. In the current, young generation, the best young men I see are returning military vets. Quiet, well-mannored, reflective, polite. Good work ethic. They’ve seen the world, didn’t like it, and came home.
    A vest (for a suit) interferes with my two Glocks. For some reason, I’m never comfortable in a suit. As noted above, Bill Clinton and other creeps wear a suit, have $300 haircuts and trimmed nails. Conversely, good men wear them, too. I just find them restricting. Can’t change a flat tire, use a saw, or get anything done in one. I look at the man, not the clothes.
    Personal electronic devices have brought us the current culture. How often have all of us nearly run over a fool crossing the street, oblivious to traffic, starring at his phone?
    Great article overall, and the comments round it out.
    I was lucky, and had a great dad, great Scout leaders, and great mentors in two military academies. It’s challenging for young men today to find good mentors, and the pop culture rewards failure.
    Solid friends are a luxury.

  33. This was a great article about how to be a Man. I agreed with most of it. I was fortune to have two parents who grew up during the 20’when most all people had “Class”. I learned how to dress and act as a man should. My Mother taught my brother and me manners from the table to how a “Lady” was to be treated.
    Having been born when the Nazis invaded Poland all my uncles and my father were in the Military.I saw how people dress and were treated. My father taught me to be a man, how to shoot,ride a horse,drive a tractor, plus many other skills. When I was drafted in 1962 I was glad for all the lessons about what to except in the Army. He was a training officer as well as having lot of other MOS’s. I have always been a person who walked tall after being in the Army.
    Today’s young men don’t know how or when to be a man.I watch every day as the come and go in the local coffee shop how they don’t say “Thank you”,”Please” and have a “Good day” to the people working there.
    I live in a small town of around 600 folks. Lots of “Old” people. We all talk about there attitude.I fear what will happen in 20 years when they try and run our country.God help them.
    One last thing I have to say, our military people do have good social skills for the most part.
    God Bless Our Country. Have a great 2018.

  34. Folks the 3pc suite is easily transferable to a highly presentable culturally formal attire. A well rounded man or woman needs to look the part to support their inner qualities.

    Both the books and web-log of “The Art of Maniliness” are recommendable. They have a newish self-study guided program to pickup and hone skills called “The Strenuous Life.”

    Web link is:

    The books have been regular gifts from us to young folks.

    1. Suits are about first impressions. You rarely get another opportunity to give one. Despite the old adage of never judging a book by its cover, we regularly do. While you can be a good decent person and dress like a hillbilly, most people will only see that after an extended time of really getting to know you. A well dressed man is almost always given the benefit of the doubt in our modern society. Those that profess otherwise are usually either the exception or they are not being truthful but they are in the vast minority. Why else do think shysters (lawyers, used car salesmen and other stereotypical examples) dress well?
      I used to work for a company that taught professionals technical skills in mini-seminars. The rule of thumb is that I was to be the best dressed person in the room. Even if it was 100 degrees, I could not take off my coat until everyone in the room had already taken theirs off. If there was a woman in the room, the coat did not come off. The tie never came off.
      Being well dressed does make a huge difference in how people treat you when they first meet you.

  35. Good article, and full of things that need saying. I would add that a man should be well-armed and well-trained in the use of those arms. This has been covered by your section on the protector, at least for a critical thinker, but specifics seem to be needed by many in the current period.

  36. One of best articles I’ve read this year. I’ve tried to install most all of these qualities you’ve mentioned to my two sons. I’m so proud that they practiced what I’ve taught them .

  37. I try to be patient with some of the young “men” and keep in mind that they may not have had a strong male figure in their lives. I’ve worked with many young men (in the skilled trades) who had a lot of potential and good character but their upbringing didn’t include a strong father or grandfather to look up to.

    Remember, be patient with these young men, they are still capable of being molded by us older men of strong moral character. I think that is the key, young men yearn for responsibility, so be patient and work with them and they’ll be open and responsive to character building.

  38. I’m convinced that, second only to turning our back on God, the abdication by men of their responsibilities has contributed more to our nation’s decline than anything else. When I was a LEO, I saw firsthand the results of families without a stable masculine presence.
    In my previous church. We had a ministry called REALL Men, where adult men mentored the young men in the congregation. The program combined elements of Robert Lewis’s RAISING A MODERN DAY KNIGHT with some military influences as well (in addition to my experience, we had a former Ranger Training Battalion commander and a retired Sergeant Major from the 82nd). The acronym adopted 5 principles: REALLL Men Reject Passivity; Expect a greater reward; Accept responsibility; Lead courageously; and Love unconditionally. This program was very popular among our young men and ensured they were grounded with a Godly vision of manhood.

  39. I would like to talk about “first standard”. Everything BUT the Christianity is right on. I know this is blunt..please for give me. The whole world has been lied to for 1700 yrs. Christianity divide man from God. Luke 6:46 Jesus says” why do you call me Lord Lord and not do what I say”. The Faith has no truth in it. Jesus said it.. we don’t do what He says,and we really need to.

  40. OK, the easy stuff first. Suits are about prejudice and it’s present in each and every one us. If you afford someone respect because they wear a suit it’s prejudice. If you don’t, it’s prejudice. Suits are about managing that prejudice. If I walk into a courtroom to ask a judge for leniency with one of my young protégés a suit makes a better impression than shorts and a t-shirt.

    Religion is about having ethical standards. Yes, many of the least ethical people I’ve met were in church but what better place for them to be. It’s possible to be a good and decent man without any religious training I just find it extremely rare.

    I would like to add one to the list, “stewardship”. If you take care of the ones you love and the things you own you’ll have a bountiful life, if not it’ll but of misery, strife and financial stress.

    I try to live a simple, minimal life. I don’t wear a watch because clocks are around me everywhere I go, I keep a Swiss Army knife on my keychain. I make a challenge out of making things last as long as possible. I have tools my father gave me fifty years ago.

    Sadly it took me much of those fifty years to accomplish this list. The greatest contribution we can make to future generations is to spread this message.

    1. Stewardship,a simple life,and yes fifty years to figure out just some of this stuff called Life. The longer it take’s the less time one has to figure out the rest of life. No time left to sweat the small stuff.

  41. Excellent article, thank you for sharing this. In addition to the pocket knife (Barlow for me) and watch, I always carry a good quality pen and a note pad. I’m not sure why there is so much conflict regarding the suit. Weddings and funerals at the very least require one. In those situations, a guy not wearing a suit really stands out, and not in a good way.

    1. I don’t think owning a suit is the issue. Every man should, if they can afford it. The issue I have with that statement is that owning a suit is being used to define a man. It’s not the suit, it’s the priority. Owning a suit should fall between owning a toothbrush and good working gloves.

      Manhood is about character.

      1. You are not entirely wrong sir. I completely agree with you regarding character. Part of that is knowing how to present yourself in a situation, particularly one that requires dignity and a show of respect. In public, we not only represent ourselves, but our families, our employers and our community. It’s about standards and setting the right example. That being said, I hate wearing a suit, but I would never be without one.

        Peace be unto you.

  42. Every man deserves a son but some are not that fortunate, so they try to fill the void by have they’re daughters fill that roll. I’m sure I will get plenty of flack for that statement, but that being said, we are definitely in the age of feminization. It use to be the programs on TV that tried to form our thoughts but now it’s every commercial, yes they do promote their product but also now it’s always a mother and her son or a father and his daughter, very rarely do you see father and son. No wonder young men are becoming effeminate. Trekker Out

  43. Well, this article does ok with socially defining a man in a certain paradigm. I take as my example the model provided by my faith. Based on my experience, there was no better model of man than Jesus. In that context, there isn’t much in this article that describes a man based on that standard. Some of the items in the article can be inferred to be in opposition to the Jesus man model.

    God’s standards for being a man are not the world’s standards. Perhaps it would do us better if our focus on self was less mundane, albeit we must still function in this world. I do not own a custom made suit, and have no intention of ever owning one. I don’t need it to prove to anyone I am a man. In fact, none of the material items will do it for me. Where my heart is makes me a man, and that is the only standard I really care about; the rest is just frosting.

  44. If you want to help make a difference in the lives of fatherless men, read “Wild at Heart” and “Fathered by God” by John Eldredge. They speak directly on this subject, and have made a HUGE difference in my life in the last few years, and I’m going on 57. Search on Amazon, or pay a little more and buy directly from I would also recommend buying a 12-pack of the small paperbacks and handing them out. I’m on my second box.

  45. “Son didn’t your father ever teach you”
    First that was the correct question, there are to many young boys that do not have a father in the home for them to emulate.
    Second this nation’s boys are pushed to only play sports,admiring and trying to copy a bunch of disrespectful thugs.
    Why as a core group of Americans do we no longer encourage Scouting (boy and girl) 4-H and other wholesome activities?
    We need to start raising our children. Be involved with them.

  46. Much of the author’s descriptions of proper manhood are spot-on. I don’t quite agree with the fancy suit requirement, as it presumes a level of wealth that is unnecessary for proper manhood.

    Somewhat related to the suit ‘requirement’ is that a real man shows respect. One of those ways of showing respect is wearing his best to honor others. It used to be that one’s “Sunday best” was out of respect for the Lord (not to show off to other congregants). Invited to a social event (wedding, funeral, ceremony, dinner), a respectful man would wear his best to show his esteem for his host.

    Our current culture seems to value personal comfort above respect. For example, at our son’s wedding, the justice of the peace wore what looked like mismatched old workout clothes. I rather doubt that was their best clothes.

    Young men these days, have grown up with this preoccupation with personal comfort as paramount. They come to work in baggy shorts and flip-flops. If they come to church, it’s in baggy shorts and t-shirts. Their clothes show no respect for their hosts or their work.

    So, my tweak to the three-piece-suit would be: “A real man wears his best as a show of respect to honor his host.”

  47. Ya’ll are missing the point of the suit. Its about adaptability. You should be adapt at tending to you yard or land as you are at attending social functions, because in life you have many opportunities to do both. Great your a mechanic, but can you show the proper social skills at a family or close friends funeral??

  48. This article is spot on! I’d like to add that most of these desirable characteristics apply to women too, and that most young women under 30 or so display the same problems of not knowing how to or not caring enough to behave in a socially appropriate manner. I’m a homemaker north of 50, and I find the cold and negligent attitudes of so many younger women to be absolutely chilling. As is the slovenly appearance – tattoos, piercings, obesity, pajamas in public, smart phone slouch, etc. Most all of it can be dated back to the 60s when the arbiters of our culture (so-called “feminists” but really pinkos) convinced many Americans that it was sad, even shameful, for women to occupy themselves mainly with proper child rearing and home management, and they should rush out into the world of work and start throwing their weight around and busting glass ceilings, and leave “child care” to paid, indifferent strangers. A healthy, capable mom at home, supported by a stand up man who provides all or most of the income, builds the capabilities, intellect and personalities of both boys and girls as no substitute can.
    Differences between the author’s recommendations for men and appropriate ones for women would be: women basically aren’t completely dressed for being out in public unless they are wearing earrings; women need a tasteful outfit with a skirt that hits below the knee, for going out to dinner or social occasions; and unfortunately, in our culture in the US, women are expected to be able to maintain a constant stream of pleasant, trivial chatter whenever they find themselves thrown together for more than a few minutes with other women who are not friend or family. This is the opposite expectation from that for men, who are allowed to be silent until and unless something comes up that really needs to be talked about, a situation that I personally would much prefer.
    I also think that though it is not considered so important for women as for men to be able to do tasks that require skill or manual labor, it would be a more well-rounded woman who can learn to do some of them. For instance, I learned from my father to do simple carpentry and have completed projects using mitre box, chisels, drills, saws, etc. I have built a six-foot-tall stone retaining wall. And I have lead nature hikes and explorations into the local woods for my kids and their friends. This activity left several of the other moms staring at me in disbelief, obviously because of a mindset that nature and the woods are dirty and scary, and should only be of interest to men!

    1. Except maybe for Piercings None of this is a Domain of younger People, i would say i´ve more rudeness, ruthlessness and significantly worse from older People experienced then from Young.

      Much so called inpoliteness, and so on is the reaction of the Young Generation not taking respectless and insulting behaviour from older and higher ups, and rightly so.

      Oh this short lived dream of the modern west, i´m sorry but considering human history man and woman did work on the farm, fields, the Workshop and plant.

      My father taught me that weather is a very useful conversation theme, okay it´s true i would care much less for most Sports to talk about.

  49. Young man you took the very words I just used to lecture a class of LEOs and Firemen. Like you I was shocked at the lack of lessons being taught by fathers. Once again similar to your incident mine started without eye contact and mumbling. To be honest I shouldn’t have been shocked. Having been in the business for 33 years I have seen the decline from man things. Things like knowing how to use a measuring tape to what direction North is (when we are outside!) even when I give them a hint to look at the rising or setting Sun. There is a running joke in my industry when getting promoted. No longer are you a Captain, Major or Chief instead you are a Dad(parent) of your shift or battalion. Time aren’t changing, they have changed.

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