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.
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.
- A tailored, three-piece suit. Not an off-the-rack Wal-Mart special, but a quality suit specifically modified to fit his frame.
- A pair of high quality, shined, leather, dress shoes that match it.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- 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),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
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.