It is 5:30 AM, as he begins to head out to work. He pauses at the door, checks to make sure it is locked behind him, while he reflects about telling his wife and kids that he loves them. Every day he walks out of that door telling himself that everything he does is for his family. As a father and husband, he smiled and gave all that was in him, to encourage his family. He would listen to the dreams of his children and watch his wife work miracles in the home, while holding on to her dreams. This is the man of the house, this is the man within the family. What about the man outside his home?
Across town, another man has already completed his work day. His co-workers find him to be a gentle, but stern leader on the job. His smile and laughter are contagious to other people around him. Chivalry and humbleness are seen in everything he does throughout the day. As the work day comes to an end, he gathers his belongings to signal the end of the physical work day. In the process of leaving the job site, you can see other employees respect and appreciate his leadership. While driving home, he comes to a stop light. As he sits, and waits for the light to change, his eyes become blank and his head slowly lowers. The same man who stood with such great posture on the job, now slumps towards the steering wheel. So deep is the thought in his mind, that one minute seems like eight minutes. What about the man outside the job?
In the aforesaid paragraphs, you read about two men who experience something different from two different environments. We often hear people say, ‘I want a non-stop flight,’ meaning that there should be no stopping in between. Basically, you are traveling from one place directly to another. In the physical realm of life, such saying can be implied quite easily, but mentally and emotionally there is no non-stop flight. The two questions asked at the end of each paragraph regarding the man outside his home and the man outside his job are the same questions. Let’s consider the heart of such questions, while reaching out to the spirit of men.
Over the course of recent years, we have witnessed something different regarding the way a man walks into a room. His attitude and behavior as the hunter and proud male seems to have been reduced to the role of a male hyena in the clan. I remember, while growing up there was something about being a male child that symbolized strength, toughness, respect for women, but most of all to remain accountable as a man.
The following television actors presented strong male role models as fathers and men in general:
- John Amos – Good Times
- Eric Camden – 7th Heaven
- Andy Griffin – Andy Griffin Show
- Hal Williams – 227
I selected such individuals as my personal preference for being strong role models, because they represented values that were not based on simply being a rich tycoon dominating the world. They consistently remained concerned and active regarding their family’s well-being and understood the importance of moral values in the home. Such men were not only fathers, but also teachers. I must say that I also admired the strong women in the lives of such men. They were encouraging and knew how to motivate their mates, regardless of the size of their paychecks. As you read over the list of TV fathers I have selected above, you may say to yourself, well they were not real! Well, you are right; they were actors playing a character based on the role of a father. So, that brings me to my next question.
Why have we stopped celebrating and representing men as being men of strength and leadership? Nowadays, you won’t find many books written for men; most magazines are marketed towards women. Many church services have become women-friendly, delivering messages that empower women, while men are often the subject of two negative comments compared to one positive. However, have you ever heard a woman say, “I don’t need a man”? Further, with regard to television fathers, today most such characters are based on attributes of being wealthy and corrupt in some aspects. In the first two paragraphs, I provided a synopsis of the start of one man’s day and the end of another. This article is not intended to dispute the empowerment of women. Women are truly remarkable and deserve empowerment. However, for men, have we been forgotten?
Let’s start by recognizing the fact that men do love and surprisingly we can love just as hard as women. Men can be solitary or social with each other. There are times we enjoy bonding with our fellow male brothers, and there are also times we choose to be with our family. There is not a day that goes by, when a real man does not cry or hurt inside to see his family go without. Like, for instance, watching his wife do her own hair or nails, when all her friends are at a salon. Yes, she may say, ‘I don’t mind doing my own hair or nails’, but he does understand how it makes her feel happy as a woman to go to a salon. A good man loves the woman in his life and takes pride in caring for her emotionally and physically. This does not mean his value is only based on his bank account. He is supportive of her aspirations and dreams. When a child hugs their father so tight and even though their arms are small, it feels like they are trying to cut off his air supply. In that moment, he does stop breathing; it’s a feeling unmatched by any other love. The tightness of the hug represents a love that says they never want you to go away. I remember, once I was in the parking lot of a retail store and I watched a husband take his wife’s hand and walk her down the hill, as they laughed and she leaned into him. Then, I watched him walk back up the hill and his daughter jumped into his hands, as he picked her up and carried her down the hill. Such moment in time may seem insignificant to most people, but it’s a father’s moment that society no longer recognizes or appreciates.
The first man mentioned in the beginning of this article represents the man who wants more for his family, but is not willing to give up being a provider. He leaves home to endure a job that does not recognize his true potential and barely pays him enough to provide for his family. Today, if you are not making a certain income, your status as a man comes into question. There are some who would say that your financial status does not make a difference, but clearly this is not case. There are a lot of good men working two jobs, who would do anything and everything they can to provide for their family.
The second man represents the single man; he’s a working professional and well respected among his peers. He doesn’t go home to a family; in fact his car is his home. Such a man is working to correct the mistakes of his past. This does not signify that he has been to jail or participated in any illegal activity, however, life can hit one hard in so many ways. This man seems to have decided that he is not going to give up or turn to alcohol or drugs. This man is not willing to display a life of false prosperity to win the approval of others. You know what’s amazing, you never know what is really going on behind the smile of such person. At some point, we all must accept where we are today, but act to reach where we want to be tomorrow.
I recollect on one occasion watching a documentary about a group of lions, when the narrator focused on one lone male cub. He was sitting on the top of a boulder with his head held high, looking over the open African plains. As the camera remained focused on the poised young male lion, there was a brief pause in the scene. I could not help, but wonder whether his natural instincts as a young king motivated him to consider his destiny. Male lions do not naturally inherit their fathers’ land. They must leave the pride and seek out their own territory, as they assume the role of a nomadic male, until they obtain the status as a pride male.
As men, have we forgotten who we are and our importance? We should take pride in the fact that we are men and we are kings. Regardless of where life has placed you at this moment, you must know and believe that you can still go further and do better. You have leadership and power within you to do so many things. When you sit at the table, whether you are alone or with other people, regain your posture. When you walk into a room, even if it’s a bathroom, walk tall, walk proud and step forward as a king with confidence. I know you have a business inside you, a song or a book, but do not just dream about it, rather act on it. I have learned that life is really based on two things, decisions and actions. Every day you must make a decision that requires some form of action. Both steps will impact your road for tomorrow. It takes courage to be a man. The courage of a man comes from his heart; fill your heart with the strength of love. Do not be ashamed to show compassion, but remember you are not weak. Life will sometimes silence the tongue of a man, but never put down your sword when fighting for what you want in life.
When it comes to being a man, you must embrace the tough times of life and overcome moments of weakness. You are the protector, provider and teacher of your home. Moral values and discipline must be of the highest regard in your life, however, remember you are capable of more than merely offering a hand of love. There will be days when the family demands, financial responsibility and the overall responsibility of being a man in general will cause doubts in you about so many things. I speak one word to you, COURAGE; it takes courage to be the king. Never surrender your crown, embrace and stand as the king, this is your destiny!