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“If we make it too easy, they'll have to be taught by someone else,” is my admonition for dads today.
Face it dads. Life is hard, but it’s fair. It’s fair because we make it fair. We make our kids realize that nothing comes easy, and we protect them by protecting those things God has given us. What is it that we find worthy of protecting? Is it our reputation, our homes, our livelihood? As men we must have the courage to realize that sometime we have to take what’s ours. Sometimes our women don’t understand that. Sometimes our women won’t even allow that. But as we teach our sons certain things about life, we have to understand that God understands that.
Several recent movies talk about relationships. Within the context of these movies like “Chicken Little,” that I mentioned some weeks ago, we learn that as fathers, the faith we have in our kids goes a long way in enabling them to believe in themselves. As we look back on our own lives, we need to realize and accept that the faith other men had in us helped us reach dreams, or believe in dreams we hadn’t realized. It is our faith that sometimes brings our reputation into play as our dreams struggle for survival.
By reputation, I don’t necessarily mean on the basketball court, our offices, or even our neighborhood. By reputation, I mean the home. We gain respect first in the eyes of our sons by the respect we have gained in the eyes or our wives. And sometimes our wives can be as destructive as we are inventive about ignoring about the things that go on in our homes. She may not want that home in the suburbs or wide screen TV. Maybe she just wants you to be home a bit more to cherish and remember. Yet, if we don’t talk about it, we will never know.
Women are keen on how they can control things. And ladies, I want you to be honest with yourselves, in knowing that you set the pulse of many of our households Before some of us men know it, you’ve decided that things aren’t going to work out, and as Scott Haltzman reports in his book The Secrets of Happily Married Men, over two-thirds of the divorces that happen today are initiated by women. Life is hard dads. And if you don’t fight for the marriage…it will end. Like Ennis in “Brokeback Mountain,” says, “If you can’t fix it, you just got to stand it.” Our homes are devastated because many men don’t want to stand something we can’t fix.
Indeed it’s the fixing that is the most troubling these days and if I had the answer, I would be peddling it on the street. But if we ignore difficulty; if we don’t have the courage to tell our wives we love them despite disagreement; If we don’t work toward some resolution or reconciliation, then our respect is lost, and our homes will be standing brutalized internally by a shock of a Rita or Katrina.
This is where our livelihood comes into play, and indeed our very health. If there are issues irking beneath the surface that we don’t talk about, it will undercut the very fiber of our existence. There is not a man out there who has been in a committed relationship for a few years who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, and until we start talking to each other, more and more of these relationships are destined to end…initiated by the women we love.
So what’s the solution? Talk. Talk. Talk. We have to learn how. We have to accept the attitude that we can fix our homes. We have to accept the idea that we are not alone. And ladies, you have to stop the “nothing’s wrong” attitude and tell us what’s bugging you! We men have to prod them…and promise we will ask…and when we ask, ladies TELL us. And when what we are told doesn’t hit a chord of understanding, guys go to someone, a priest, minister, or next door neighbor and ask.
No one can fix your relationship but you. Trust me, as much as I try to avoid the silences, they don’t go away until I find a way to reach beneath the veneer of sullenness, mood swings, and visceral epithets that come from baggage women hoard daily. Some of it is mine, and some of it is not, but men, we have to own it as part of the commitment to our reputation, home and livelihood.
Right now I’m reading Haltzman’s book I mentioned earlier. As I gain new insight, I will share them here, because it’s all a struggle to keep an attitude “we can do this,” if we want to. And within this trek, I hope you men are continuing to pray for each other, and as we manage to survive, realize that you are part of God’s plan for our families And nothing right now should be more important than realizing He will give you the strength and courage to claim your leadership role, in the community, the church, and particularly your home. Take it.
I’m praying for you men to fathers, and hope you will continue to help me as you pray for all men trying to father the way God wants us in this society today.
Why not plan on doing something constructive this year with your family? Take your son or daughter to a movie; attend a school function; tell your family what makes you feel good, and compliment on something they’ve done that you might have taken for granted. Hug them, and tell them you love them, and if you feel your efforts are in vain, remember, “Until you fix it, you just have to stand it.” And remember, you are not alone.