What does it mean to be a man?
Who hasn’t been following all of the stories in the news for the past few days? Has it caused anybody to take a long hard look at them selves and the people around them? I found that it compelled me to reach out to some people that I know, women, to ask them questions about the things they had gone through. But I also wanted to know if anything I may have said something, or came across in a way that made them feel uncomfortable… Maybe this is an example of hyper vigilance or too much self introspection, but the climate that we live in right now is making us hyper aware, and rightfully so!
Which leads me to my question, what does it mean to be a man? I don’t necessarily think it means holding the door open, carrying the heaviest packages, on the other hand I don’t think it means cat calls in the alley when a pretty girl walks by or making comments to your fellow male coworkers about particular girl or women in general. It’s time, it’s actually way past the time, when we should be really thinking about our role and our place. We are all human beings that share this floating ball of water, and it should not matter your color or creed or gender, we are all essentially trying to accomplish the same thing which is to do our very best to leave the world better than the way we found it. This too obviously means different things to different people as we have seen. I personally was shocked at the level of elitism and entitlement that I have come across and my orbit, it does not represent an equal proportion of men in our society. Men who like to make power grabs, being in control typically feel as though they have the run of the house. I have been extremely fortunate in my life to be surrounded by powerful women and it is with great humility that I look on these women fondly and think about the role they’ve played in shaping me. Not all of those rolls were pleasant, but they all taught me something very fundamental which is just because you are a male does not necessarily mean you are the boss, or you were the dominant one. I’ve come to learn that it doesn’t mean you’re the one that gets under the car to fix it when it’s broken, or gets under the sink and fix it when it’s broken or take various things apart and put them back together, it can usually mean being the one who makes sure the dinner is prepared and the laundry is washed and folded. It could also mean that the dishes are done and the house is vacuumed, children are washed and tucked into bed and there you are reading them their bedtime story. It is time for this conversation to happen where are rules need to be equalized and compromised upon. Which is not to say don’t hold the door open, don’t take the heavy packages, it is merely to say that what it takes in my opinion to be a man is simply the same thing it takes to be a woman which is love and understanding. If we learn to love each other and understand each other, we will ultimately make the compromises necessary for us to treat each other with respect by seeing the argument from the other persons optics. Empathy is probably the best guide we have in this process.
It matters little if you are on one side or the other in terms of political parties, or if you are one religion or another, or if you are wealthy or poor… What matters is we all share the responsibility of taking care of one another and that can only happen if we are understanding, loving and compassionate. Sure our roles carry specific traits as far as developmental things are concerned, children that come from homes where is no father figure present have catastrophic statistics, as do children that come from a home where mother is not present for whatever reason. When we truly understand how to love each other we understand how to respect each other. Loving someone isn’t always the easiest thing to do and can cause us to make very difficult decisions regarding our engagement with that person. It is in the understanding of the word love, which is a doing word, that we really understand how to implement the word in all its various incarnations, we look past what divides us and look forward to being united around our commonality and support of each other! More then anything, what makes us men is our ability to adapt, recover and apply our humility and understanding to our children, our families, and community beyond us.