A Father's Day Tribute
June is the month we celebrate Father’s Day. So what better time than this to pay tribute to good men everywhere? While some miscreant entities may declare you an ancillary or a la carte item on the existence menu as they try every angle to gain followers, quality men are essential, so don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
Traditional Male Traits
I write characters that are believable, male or female, but I always make sure the main male character reflects the traits we’ve esteemed in men since the dawn of time. They are strong, resilient, respectful, knowledgeable, and capable. They hold women in the highest regard. They know that the surest, smoothest way to their own happiness is by bringing joy to their female counterparts. Plus, they know how to swing a hammer, like Dom Miller in Confidence Quest.
Humankind evolved for a few reasons, probably way more than we know, but the list includes a frontal lobe that grew larger. They had this remarkable appendage (No! Not that one, but, hey, I’m a fan) called a thumb. And we walked upright. Using these attributes, we did something amazing and invented tools. Humans are unique in their ability to make fire with something as rudimentary as two sticks, drill enough screws through pieces of wood to build a house, and stir a pot.
And, wow, are we ever good at stirring the pot? But don’t worry. I’m not getting political. It’s too easy and the path of least resistance; otherwise, sharing opinions wouldn’t be so pervasive under the guise of being vital tools (which they are not) instead of the harmful virus they are.
We’re running the risk of straying too far from these abilities that make us human, and part of the reason is by telling men that they are the problem and need to change their masculine traits. They are not the problem, and their inherent traits are spectacular.
Do you know why women in most countries enjoy freedom and human rights? It’s not because only women wanted this. Many, many men were on board too. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t have the majority vote, and life wouldn’t be so cushy. So, yes, we queen bees have to thank ourselves for shaking the hive, but we can never forget the drones that kept it stable while it expanded.
Men matter because they complement women and vice versa. Their strengths are our weaknesses. Think of their natural fearlessness around spiders, frogs, and snakes and their willingness to look under a car hood even though they likely know as little as anyone. Conversely, the powers of being female are where men fall short. (Like birthing a human after growing it inside your uterus for nine-plus months and then feeding it with your mammary glands.) These may seem disparate abilities, with some more worthy of praise than others. However, our safety is more assured than ever in our evolution because of men’s competent hands and brains. We need them. They need us. And it’s high time we start bringing out the best in one another to turn this train wreck of a species trajectory around.
Be the change
We must stop saying foolish things like, “All men cheat.” They don’t. “Boys will be boys.” What does that even mean? And “Men are useless.” False. Men are the product of their nature, environment, and conditioning, the same as women. We (mothers, fathers, families, neighbors, and strangers) must be positive role models and use the words and actions that match the behavior we wish to see in them.
For a young boy, this could look like, “I’m proud of the decision you made to leave the frog by the pond so he won’t miss his family, but how brave you were to pick him up so nobody accidentally stepped on him. You kept him safe.”
As boys morph into men, during those punishingly awkward adolescent years, they need guidance as to what healthy sexuality looks like (See my blog, Let’s Talk About (Healthy) Sex) and how they will never find that on their phone, on an exploitative website, or in a violent video game. They need someone to show them that being a gentleman still matters. Hold eye contact when you engage with people. Have a firm handshake. Hold the door for anyone, females in particular. These are not meaningless acts but tools that build confidence.
Lead by example
I wasn’t there when feminism was born. Still, I’m pretty confident the intention wasn’t for women to sink to the level of the above quotes (“All men cheat," etc.) and join men in their perceived debauchery. No, quite the opposite. We’re to take them by the hand and show them how beautiful life can look when we walk side by side, not the same, but complementarily different.
The world isn’t in a tailspin because men are bad. The world is in a sorry state because we aren’t asking enough of them or ourselves. So let’s give each other the confidence to be who we are without pointing fingers as though we’re enemies, clinging to beliefs that only increase their negative potential, or trying to prove whatever you can do, I can do better. Instead, let’s remind men of their greatness so they can show yours.
With all that said, we’ll get back to the main points. Men, you are necessary, equal, and amazing. Own it.