It’s time for a rant.
I spend a lot of time and energy fighting the way that society forces girls and women to view themselves and each other. I have written many posts about it and I talk about it constantly to anyone who will listen. I still feel that this is a huge problem and I will continue to fight it. Recently, my eyes have been opened to a new problem. Society has done the same thing to men. As someone who has a lot of men in my life that I love dearly, this concerns me. As a mother who is raising a boy that will one day become a man, this terrifies me. As a writer, this inspires me to try to create change.
So, today, let’s talk about men.
When I ask you what makes a man, what do you think of? Do you picture a muscled, sweaty guy working on a car or building something with his bare hands. If you didn’t, kudos to you! All around me, though, are people who are always quick to point out the characteristics of a “real man”. And even quicker to point out when a man around them doesn’t fit.
This is my idea of a “real man”. The kind of man I would like for my son to be. The kind of man I was looking for when I was a single mom; and why I was so picky about who I would date. The kind of man I think society needs more of. And the kind of man that needs to be recognized for being a “man”. (Notice how changing spark plugs didn’t make the list. I have a great mechanic for that!)
1. A real man knows what he believes in – He stands firm on it. He defends it. He examples conviction and lives out what he professes. He respects others, even if they don’t agree with him, but he doesn’t let them put him down. He doesn’t fall in the face of adversity.
2. A real man keeps his word – He doesn’t need to be reminded, because when he says something, you can count on it. He does what he can, but isn’t afraid to say “no” because he knows that’s better than making a promise he can’t keep. He is dependable and honest. Trustworthy.
3. A real man supports his family – He works hard to provide the financial security they need. If he has children that don’t live in his home, he understands that his financial obligation still stands. He budgets and spends responsibly so that the needs and wants of his family come before his own. And he carries that work ethic into his home. He does what he can to ease the workload that comes with taking care of a family.
4. A real man understands emotion – He handles his anger and doesn’t have to raise his voice, or his hands, to be heard. He knows how to be strong and he knows that sometimes all you can do is cry. He doesn’t hide his emotions because he doesn’t have to. He is not ashamed to feel.
5. A real man is a real dad – He takes an active role in the lives of his children. He fights to give them better. He is always on their side. He shows them and tells them he loves them every day. He sets high, but attainable, expectations. He listens and speaks with love. He sets a positive example each day. He draws the line between parent and friend, but knows it’s important to be able to be both. He gives his best to his children.
6. A real man gives real love – He loves his wife actively. He understands that love requires action. He makes a point to show his love in personal and sincere ways. When he causes hurt, he doesn’t make excuses, he makes amends. He stands up for himself and doesn’t back away from conflict, but does it in a way that doesn’t devalue. He creates an environment of security, intimacy, and trust within his marriage.
These are just my thoughts today. They are very general and can apply to all types of men with all different personalities. I think it’s time men stop focusing on the stereotype and start realizing what’s important. When I think about the great men I know, never once do I consider whether or not they can use a hammer. I think about the way they treat the people around them; because that is where you see the signs of a real man.