Good men still exist in our world. If you read the news and the blogs each day you are inundated with the Tiger Woods and Ochocinco’s of the world. Much of the time the headlines scream about actions of men who aren’t holding up their end of the deal in society. Typically, they’re making bad decisions, exemplifying “cultural manliness” and slacking on being a “good man.”
I have been lucky that the father that I have served as a role model of manhood in my own house. He once walked around an entire winter with holes in the bottom of his shoes sacrificing money so that we could have money. He never fathered children outside of his marriage to my mother. He never cheated and he worked hard. I do believe that there is such a thing as a good man. A few days ago I was met with utter frustration as I went into card store after card store and was unable to find a decent birthday card to give him. I would ask manager after manager and they would give me a dismal reply, “Well that’s the way it is little lady. We don’t have that much demand for birthday cards for fathers from children.” I was stunned at the second store but by the sixth store I was sad.
I work each day with truly good men that do not make the news reports. Some of these men have seen much harder times and difficult moments than you can imagine, but they are great men. They are the working musician who is the proud father of three and smiles every day at his wife and lives and loves in a Christian way. There is the good man who is a national hero, a firefighter who has unselfishly put himself in harm’s way to protect others for well over 20 yrs. In serving on that awful September 11 day he was blown through a plate glass window and still continued to forge on to save lives. The biggest impact he has though (not at all to discount his years of service nor his honors & accolades) is the impact he has on his friends and family as we have come to love and understand him even more. He gladly volunteered to take home anyone who needed a ride one afternoon.
I look each day at the men in my world who have claimed success on their own terms to defy all the bad publicity about men. I now cherish the time I have with my aging father. I know he takes it serious too even though I am an adult now. I know, without a doubt, he always knew that there will never be a more important relationship in either of our lives than our relationship with each other. It gave me a healthy outlook as a woman on what a man is and isn’t. I don’t say this out of pride or out of attention-seeking. I say this because it is the truth.
Think about it… where does a young girl learn about love? Where does a young girl learn how to be treated? Where does a young girl develop her idea of what her future will hold? Where does a young girl learn self-respect and self-esteem? From her father. This is NOT to underscore the relationships a young girl has with anyone else, especially her mother. It is to show that a father has a vital role in the future of his daughters. In my estimation, the most vital role. Her father must demonstrate love; love of his spouse, love of his children, love of his God. What happens if a father doesn’t fulfill this role or if he fails to fulfill it in the correct way? Simple, the child’s understanding of how a man should act and treat others is skewed. This skewed understanding can lead to multiple problems, namely disordered relationships.
Fathers, love your wives. Set the example for your daughters of how they should expect a man to treat them. Teach them to set the bar high and to never settle for less than the best. If they see you being disrespectful, unloving and/or hurtful towards their mother, they are going to grow up thinking that similar behavior is normal and okay. It’s not. They will learn not only what love is, but more importantly, how to love and how to receive love from your example. It is a big responsibility, but that’s what you signed up for when you had sex with your wife, girlfriend, or fiancee. I could continue on for many more paragraphs, but I think my point is easy to understand and doesn’t require repeating.
My best example of a man came from my father who is a good man. By the way, he was a great husband too and on the day we buried my mother he made it clear that his role had changed, being the sole living parent. In a heartbroken voice he hugged me and my brother and said, “I will keep this family together.” He has done just that.