Tuesday, March 10, 2015

For Men Over 40 - Part 1

Many things begin to shift about the age of 40 in men. My 40th birthday party was a surprise party, and I have been surprised by many changes that have taken place since. My eye-sight diminished and I began looking for my reading glasses. I developed an aversion to risk where in the past I never thought twice about risk; the diamond runs on ski slopes now look more like an invitation to an accident than an adventure. Since my 40th birthday I’ve noticed younger people looking past me thinking I was less hip than I was earlier in my life. After 40, I began to lose strength and gain weight around my waist. I really don’t like these changes!

Not all things that have shifted have been negative. After 40 I learned to be comfortable not having the answer for everything and able to speak more directly into situations instead of worrying what people thought. I have learned the value of perseverance, I am more focused on investing in people than looking for attention and my tolerance and grace has increased in positive ways. The ability to think twice before speaking is easier and I’m sure more appreciated.

For many men, life after 40 offers a freedom to pursue passions that in the past had been out of reach financially. Often, time becomes a bit more plentiful as our children grow and the empty nest comes into view. Thoughts of retirement or a second career begin to creep into our thoughts as well as the fears of growing old. The experiences of life offer men over 40 insights that most younger men do not yet posses. 

How men embrace the changes in life after 40 determine their impact on the next generation. For some, they will focus on the freedoms their lives beyond 40 afford them and live a more isolated and shallow life of self-pleasure. Hopefully, more men will focus their freedom and experiences to pour into younger men in order to offer guidance and friendship that will expand their influence to future generations.

In a culture that increases the pressure on self and individual passions, the desire to sacrifice for others is diminishing. Men over 40 would do well to help change this direction by both enjoying and enduring the cost of reaching out to younger men and helping them to mature in their faith and life. The Scriptures have much to say about this process of older men investing in younger men. 

In my next post I will explore some Biblical principles that younger men want and need from older men.

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