What is the difference between men and boys?

A man doesn’t become a man when he reaches a certain age but this is true for all adults. We use the word ‘adult’ these days as a physical descriptor

IShimwe Emile

April 10, 2024

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  • Imagination
A man doesn’t become a man when he reaches a certain age but this is true for all adults. We use the word ‘adult’ these days as a physical descriptor only. Women are acting like children just as much or even to a greater degree than men are these days but we don’t hold them near to the degree of accountability or impunity that we do men, but that’s neither here nor there.

Before publishing my answer to this I was able to pick the brain of a friend of mine who I consider to be a man, like a ‘real man’ however people might interpret that. Some of what I am publishing here is part of the discussion that we had about this topic. But I also glean from him as an individual and his individual path and his individual struggle because a boy can only become a man through the struggles.

So what’s the difference between men and boys?

We live in a world full of boys who are emulating men (or trying to) and acting like men but they aren’t men. They aren’t doing a very good job of it but boys never do a good job of acting like men. That’s part of what makes them boys.

Men have gone through rites of passage. Rites of passage are a lost art. Many cultures have held rites of passage as an essential part of growth and personal identity. Our culture completely lacks any of this. Boys aren’t put in situations where they need to confront themselves and find themselves and it shows. The rites would help them find themselves by helping them through a process of courage and growth.
One of the most fundamental differences between boys and men is that they go through their own rites of passage and gain many benefits from doing it. Their identity changes through the process, they change from having other people be their masters to being their own masters.

Boys have something to prove and they think that they need to prove something to other people because, as boys do, they’re worried about how other people are perceiving them when men don’t really car. Men are only trying to prove things to one person. Themselves.
Boys need to be ruled. They need a ruler. They need to be instructed and told what to do, men do not. Men are self-governing. Boys have to be instructed and they seek permission to be their own person or to make their own decisions and men make their own decisions.
Boys sacrifice their individuality for group conformity. Men know that it’s okay to live a life that other people don’t understand or approve of when boys are afraid to stand out or stand alone. Boys are afraid to be their own person while men are determined to be their own person regardless of the consequences.
Boys avoid taking accountability for their lives when men seek to take what one great man calls “extreme ownership.” Men accept responsibility for their lives and their experience with it while boys are busy avoiding it. Boys are detached from their role in their own lives while men practice radical ownership of their lives. Boys blame other people or other things for their issues and their afflictions while men take ownership of those things.
Boys don’t respect their strength or their power. They wield it poorly and cause harm to others. Men understand their power and they understand how much harm they can cause and so they are respectful to themselves and others.
Men choose their battles while boys, like small dogs, are barking at anything and everything that comes along again, because he’s trying to prove something to someone else. Men choose their battles. They know that their time, energy and attention is a finite resource and they’re
Boys avoid anything difficult, challenging or painful. They expect life to be easy and comfortable which makes them weak. Boys are weak even though they want to be strong which is why they feign strength while coming across as weak. Men know that life is hard and they know that true strength comes through doing difficult things. Instead of avoiding difficult things, men take them on directly and do them deliberately. They’ve accepted this reality of life and they know there isn’t a better way to become strong.
Boys are afraid of emotions. They’re afraid of their emotions and everybody else's emotions. If someone is upset with them, it’s terribly distressing for them, it feels like the end of the world to them. It triggers some deep and intense shame for them because they haven’t learned to support themselves or be their own person while lacking emotional intelligence. They psychologically sustain themselves from other people. It’s especially troubling to them when the person who’s upset with them is a wife, girlfriend or mother. Men learn to emotionally sustain themselves and while they love getting affection and validation from those they love they also know that life doesn’t owe them anything and they know not to allow their wellbeing to depend on this from others and so they learn to depend on themselves above all others. Men aren’t afraid of emotion and they’re thick skinned so they’re able to handle themselves when people are upset with them.
Men are emotionally intelligent. This is a big and major factor. When he becomes emotionally intelligent, he grows up. Men become emotionally intelligent by taking the difficulties of life head on instead of running away from them. They work through difficult and painful things and they grow up in the process. 

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