Before launching into what I hope will be the first in a series of articles written for AM, I’d like to thank my good and long-time friend, Shannon, for this opportunity to share my thoughts with my fellow Authentic Men. I’ve been a member of this “Band of Brothers” since the beginning, when it was known as the “Ten Best Men Project”. During that first “bond fire” our host and inspiration for the gathering, posed a question to each of us: “What is an Authentic Man?” When my turn came to share my thoughts, I said “I can’t remember where I first heard this, but it has always stuck with me. It’s the “five-P’s: Protector, Provider, Prince, Prophet, and Priest.”” I still believe these are the natural and privileged roles an Authentic Man fulfills in his family, and in his community. While Shannon loves to credit me as the “Father” of the “Five-P’s”, I will only accept the title of “Godfather”, as intellectual authorship remains undetermined. Regardless, good ideas are meant to be shared!
An Authentic Man is a Protector. This is fundamental. A society, be it a family, clan, tribe, or nation cannot function or survive without those willing to defend it from internal and external threats. These threats can come in physical form, such as the criminal intent on doing harm, a natural disaster, fire, car accident, etc. They can be metaphysical, such as radical cultural, sociological, and political ideas, spread by those whose goal is to “fundamentally change” the traditional family, which forms the bedrock of any society. It is not enough for Authentic Men to understand that these threats exist. Authentic Men train their minds and bodies to meet these threats on the “FEBA”, the Forward Edge of Battle Area, and are also prepared to meet them “inside the wire” of their own perimeters.
An Authentic Man is a Provider. This is and always has been a province of Authentic Men, going back to the first hunter-gatherer societies we humans formed. Men were born for the hunt, and to thrive, a society needed meat. I am not arguing that women don’t have any role in provision for the family, but this role is secondary. Their “gathering” provides margin and variety in good times, and safety in lean times. The advent of complex economies hasn’t changed the fact that men are better equipped to be the principle providers in the household, regardless of the shrill arguments of neo-feminists. More importantly, men and women derive very different satisfaction from providing for the family.
An Authentic Man is a Prince. A Prince is the monarch of his household. The Authentic Man is the ultimate authority on all matters within his span of control. A wise Prince knows when to be authoritative, and when to be persuasive. He is a leader, who knows the way, shows the way, and most importantly, goes the way. He can delegate authority to his bride, his princess, but he cannot delegate responsibility. OK, maybe this sounds a bit like a dictatorship (and it is), but the Prince is a benevolent dictator. His authority is only exercised for the good of his household, and never to feed his ego. If his household is suffering, he bears the greatest share. However, if his household prospers, he takes the smallest reward. He is the last through the chow line, regardless.
An Authentic Man is a Prophet. A Prophet views current conditions and anticipates what the future may hold. The Authentic Man is deeply aware of the world around him, how it impacts his family today, and for better or worse, how it will impact them in the future. Most importantly, he prepares his family for what he sees coming, and has contingencies for each possible scenario. He is the “will” and ensures the “means” to meet the challenges of life. He prescribes the course corrections the family needs on its journey.
An Authentic Man is a Priest. A priest holds spiritual and moral headship in his house. He is responsible for the spiritual and moral formation of every member of his family. He “sweeps the sidewalk” in front of his house, so dirt is not tracked into it. He delivers messages of hope and strength that build the souls of his family. Most importantly, he sets the example in word and deed, as to what is right and good.
I am looking forward to delving into each one of these areas, in future articles, here at AM. It is my hope that we work daily to reassert our natural roles as Authentic Men, understand that each is a privilege and not a burden, and exercise them daily.
About the Author: Steve Thomas has lived a very storied life (and has some great stories about it to tell). He proudly served his country as both an enlisted Marine, and a Marine commissioned officer. While he considers this a great honor, he’s happily living the greatest honor of all; that of husband and father. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, but don’t look for him on Facebook. He believes Facebook is a leftist plot intended to undermine our society, and Twitter is just Facebook for inarticulate people with short-attention spans.