Excerpted from Living That Matters: Honest Conversations for Men of Faith by Steve Thomas and Don Neufeld. Used by permission of Herald Press. All rights reserved.
For many men, no role may dominate their waking hours more than that of worker. The usual response to "Tell me a little about you" will often be some description of our work life: "I'm a farmer"; "I'm an engineer"; "I'm a construction worker"; "I'm a teacher"; "I'm a pastor."
So much of male identity has been wrapped up in employment, productivity, and earning a living for oneself and one's family. A sense of worth or self-esteem teeters on having a job, and better yet, the right job. Leaving or losing a job can trigger a significant identity crisis. For some men, work brings much reward and accomplishment, with the greatest meaning when it serves a sense of vocation— that is, when our work is aligned with our calling to serve something bigger. For others, work life brings years of drudgery, risk, and sometimes even death.
For boys and young men, coming of age has generally demanded pursuing some form of employment or career. Disruption of this path, especially in times of social and economic uncertainty, leaves many young men confused and distraught.
At the other end of life are those whose employment has been interrupted by economics or life circumstances that leave them unmoored and lacking purpose. For some men, the prospect of retirement might mean a crisis of financial uncertainty or meaninglessness as they face the loss of not only a regular paycheck but also their identity tied to a trade, or company, or colleagues who have been their only friends in life.
Living that Matters: Honest Conversations for Men of Faith serves as a men's guide for conversation and reflection and includes 70 topics, like Sexuality, for use by individuals or groups. Order Living that matters: Honest Conversations for Men of Faith HERE.