What Goku Taught Me About Manhood
This is a fun one. I was doing the dishes one day and was thinking about manhood and masculinity and a thought hit me: one of my first role models as a kid was a big-hearted Saiyan with a funny Japanese name. Any guy close to my age knows what I’m talking about. Looking back, I see why so many guys who were too old to be watching cartoons still sported DBZ t-shirts and loved the video games. Goku was a role model to a generation of boys, many of whose fathers were not present– either literally or emotionally. Here are a few characteristics that made Goku such a good role model:
1.) He showed us that there is a time to fight and a time to be gentle
Goku is a warrior. He fights bad guys for a living. But he has a wife and sons whom he loves. In one scene, you will see his hands clenched into a fist, firmly planted into a bad guy’s abdomen, and in another you will see that same hand patting his son's heads or wrapped around his wife's waist.
2.) He showed us that a sense of humor goes a long way
As we get older, many of those around us start loosing their sense of humor. For some reason, we feel like in order to be taken serious as adults we shouldn’t ever laugh. Goku, however, showed that a good sense of humor is a refreshing balm in times of great stress and calamity. Humor can keep a cool head, and a cool head goes a long way.
3.) He always gave opportunity for repentance
Goku was a man of mercy and grace. I noticed one time that he never once stopped a villain without first giving them a chance to repent and turn to good. Because of that, many of the Z-team were actually ex-enemies (Piccolo, Vegeta, Yamcha). He turned enemies into friends and understood conversion.
4.) He showed that though the battle is tough, you always come out stronger
Saiyans had this special ability to always get way stronger after an intense battle. Because of that, they loved a challenging fight. The funny thing is that what is true for Saiyans is true for us. Suffering is hard and plentiful in this world, but suffering well produces character and endurance.
5.) He showed us how to be a good dad
Goku was never overbearing on his sons, he gave them plenty of freedom. At the same time, he expected much from them. He challenged them to be the best and had faith in them. He didn’t accept disobedience (of course, who would disobey when Goku is your dad!?), but he used his mirth to keep things from being too serious, even while correcting.
6.) He showed us how to be a good friend
Goku was a great companion. As stated before, he had a habit of turning enemies into friends. He always fought best when his friends were in trouble because he cared for them so deeply. He was always willing to put his life on the line and risk everything for the people he loved.
Maybe Goku wasn’t the quintessential man. He had flaws, after all. But for a generation looking for examples of manhood, he gave a great one.