6 Classic Skills Men Should Know
What does it mean to be "manly"?
A quick Google search brings up this: Manly - Adj - having or denoting those good qualities traditionally associated with men, such as courage and strength.
Today’s society has tried to redefine what it means to be a man, and while that theoretical debate is for another time, some things in this world will always be manly in a classical sense. Here’s a short list of things that every manly man should know.
1. Share the Gospel
This one may be a little daunting. “With anyone” is a big task, I know, but it is possible. The goal is to share scripture and truth. And it is much easier than you might think. There are tools (like this one - http://www.thearchersguild.com/blog/napkin-theology) all over the internet to help you share the gospel. Here are two… untraditional ways of sharing the gospel.
You can share the whole story of the gospel in less than five minutes – no excuses. Ultimately, if you are given a chance to share, the Lord will give you the words that you should say.
Now, why is this so important? The full story of life is found in it. If you have the key to life, you also have an obligation to share it. Jacob writes about this very thing in his book, ARROWS.
2. Know your passions
What are you passionate about?
If you cannot answer that question in less than two sentences, then it is doubtful that you actually know. A fun (and slightly challenging) way to figure out what your passions are, is to ask yourself a few questions:
- What do I spend my time and money doing?
- What do I wish I were spending my time and money doing?
- If money were not an issue, what would you want to do?
Answering these and you should be a step closer to discovering where your heart lies.
While this video is about the passion of cycling, imagine if it were about baking. Or writing. Or woodworking. Or music. No matter what you are passionate about, I promise, there is someone out there that has the same passion. That is not to discourage you, but to encourage you to share your passions. Because, your passion may help someone else find theirs.
If Alexander Gram Bell had not been so passionate, then the iPhones in our pockets wouldn’t be possible. If Ben Franklin didn’t have a passion, we wouldn’t have lights in our house. Our passions drive us to take action. Sometimes we are driven toward great things that make us famous or rich, while others are lowly and humble. Yet despite the potential outcome, at its core, our passions are something that are very special to us as individuals. While someone may share our passion, we may never know until we open up and share ours first. Sharing our passions allows us to share in the joy we get from it.
3. Build a fire
Okay, I know this may sound dumb, but I think that it’s a good one to have on the list. Fire has been a huge part of my life. Last year, I went camping with a friend of mine out by a lake here in beautiful Central Louisiana. After going to bed in our hammocks, the night got much colder than we had planned, and my lite sleeping bag wasn’t enough to keep me warm. Waking up freezing cold in the middle of the night is never fun and falling out of your hammock isn’t either, but both happened that night. After recovering from my fall, I re-stoked the fire that we had from dinner, and I curled up near it to warm up my body.
For as long as fire has been on the earth, it has been making an impact. It refines, molds, and shapes, but it also destroys. Fire is a key part of survival, and every man (and woman for that matter) should know how to build one from scratch and without using matches, lighter, or propellant. It is much easier than you might think. Here are three ways to start a fire without using matches or a lighter.
4. Grill a steak
Why should we know how to cook a stake? Steak is the meat of men. There are many memories that I have from having a man’s night eating steak and playing poker with a few friends. I have heard throughout my life that sharing food breaks down walls. Might as well make it good! And steak is a great food.
This one is going to depend on if you like your steak good, or burnt (just a little joke, to each their own). The way you learn to cook a good steak is by doing it. You will have good ones, and bad ones.
A few helpful tips:
- Beef: Buy quality, not quantity. Don't skimp on the price of your beef. Just because it is cheaper doesn't mean it is better.
- Marinade: You should marinade your steaks. This allows the flavor to go into the steaks. There are bagged marinades at the store, you can find ones online, or you can experiment with your own. My personal favorite is Jack Daniels Marinade in a Bag Original. Delicious!
- The grill: You want it hot, but not blazing hot. You can very easily scorch the outside of the steak and the center be cold. I like mine Medium rare to Medium, so I don't want it to cook to quickly on the outside. This takes time and practice. I mess this part up the most.
- Sides: You should have some kind of side to your steak dinner. Grilled asparagus with a little salt on top is very nice.
Gordon Ramsey shows how to cook a steak in a pan here. There are not many wrong ways to cook a steak.
5. Basic car maintenance
We have all been there. Stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire. This is where some people get into trouble. Once, I had to change three flat tires in the course of a week. If I had not known how to do it, I would have been helpless. More and more guys (and girls) do not know how to change a tire despite how easy it actually is!
Gents, bottom line, even if you aren’t learning this for yourself, learn it for others. Always be prepared. Be it a total stranger, or your wife, if you see a woman with a flat tire you should be able to stop and help her.
Although I think this is more of a car commercial than an instructional video, this should help you out.
Follow these easy steps:
- Find a safe spot to pull over.
- Turn on your hazard lights and engage your parking break
- Use the wrench to loosen the lug nuts.
- Use the jack to lift the vehicle off the ground.
- Remove the lug nuts and pull the tire off the car.
- Place the spare on the car.
- Hand tighten the lug nuts.
- Lower the car till the wheel no longer moves freely.
- Tighten the lug nuts with the wrench.
NOTE: Rather than tightening them one by one in order, start with one lug nut, tighten it about 50%, move to the opposite nut (across the circle) and tighten that one about the same amount. Keep tightening opposite lug nuts gradually in turn until each lug nut is as tight as it can be.
- Remove the jack and put everything away.
It is also a good thing to know how to check your own oil, windshield wiper fluid, and clean your air filters. Knowing how to do each of these can save you hundreds of dollars in fees at mechanics shops. It is probably a good idea to learn to change your own oil as well. There are plenty of videos online that teach you how to do this, but it does require a good bit of extra tools, so this isn't as much of a necessity.
6. Basic home repair
Knowing your way around a work shop can come in handy. I was fortunate growing up to have a father who taught me the importance of using my hands to build things and who shared with me and my brothers a knowledge of home repair. Knowing how to fix a hole in the wall or how to fix a toilet can save you so much money and bring with it a sense of pride that you took care of it. There are numerous websites and YouTube videos that can teach you how to do pretty much anything that you might need to know how to do.
Start small. Build a bookshelf, or a birdhouse. Learn how to read a tape measure! Measure twice; cut once. These skills take time to perfect, but are very rewarding once you do it correctly.
This list is not mandatory or comprehensive. I simply hoped to share a diverse range of skills that I believe each real man out there should have in his arsenal. Hold doors open, build a fire, cook a steak, fix what’s broke, change a tire, and share your passion for the gospel! Each skill is another reason hold your head high, live life with a purpose, serve others and enjoy life. May it be manly.
Alex Robertson is a Bond-Servant to Christ, student at Louisiana College, and a lover of people hoping to make disciples who make disciples. Recently, took on a new job at the North American Mission Board.