What makes you a man? On the day of my son’s twenty-third birthday

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You could say, what about what makes you a person? Or what makes you an adult? But I’m talking about being a man. So if you’re wondering if you’re a man, here is the Kate test of manhood followed by the Rudyard Kipling test which is far superior.

Being a man means

1. You think of others beside yourself. You are not the center of the universe.
2. You can act on and change the world. You are not waiting for it to change for you.
3. You can leave your own comfort zone and be okay outside of it.
4. You can make plans for the future but you’re willing to change those plans if necessary.
5. You respond to emergency with ideas and tasks to carry out those ideas.
6. You know how to listen to other people. This is a good one for all thinking humans.
7. You make things happen.
8. You are part of the solution, not part of the problem.
9. Your list of what you are afraid of is short and does not include monsters under the bed.
10. You know how to handle the zombie apocalypse.

If, by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


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