Dr. Mother Love on Love: Let’s Talk About Family: Man, the Family Role Model
As we keep analyzing manhood and man’s role in the family, I would like to echo Eric Metaxas’s view about manhood. He is a Christian biographer and his two important questions are:
- “What is a man?
- “What makes a great man?”
His answers relate to our subject matter: man’s role in the family. His views are are reflected in this discussion.
As many people would agree, the very concept of manhood has changed and fallen into confusion in the last few decades. I was raised with a notion of man as next to God in the family hierarchy, but these days, that notion seems questionable, leaving me more confused, disappointed and somehow skeptical. I wonder whether I was brainwashed about manhood and manliness. No matter how confused, I refuse to give up on my values and beliefs about men, without a fight to defend, justify, or at least critically analyze them to an extent. Many people who know me well (especially my fellow women), wonder why I am so stuck with trying to justify men’s actions even when those actions make no sense.
My explanation has always been that men by nature are “innocently” clueless about relationship matters and must therefore be given some benefit of the doubt, and I do not rush into their condemnation. That is why one of my passions in life is to get the trust of men so they can open up and get help.
Having given my reasoning about loving men, let me continue my take on men and family. So what is it about men that was instilled in me as a child? In addition to being providers, I was assured that men use their toughness, strength and thick build (naturally big, huge and muscular), to protect the weak. In my generation, women never went to war or participated in tough physical activities, sports, or jobs, and I could understand why. Men were always tough and strong but never bullies who hurt people in any way.
In my opinion, these qualities make men great, desirable and attractive. Their presence anywhere, especially in the family arena, should be reassuring and representative of God’s presence to watch over His creation. Is this the feeling of most family members about the men in their lives? I just wonder especially with the escalating trend of domestic violence! If not, why not, and how can we restore that secured feeling of “blessed assurance”? Could this missing factor be the root of the current decadence in family and society at large?
Having men as role models and heroes has always been important historically until very recently (unfortunately). Why does a man not give up his family name, while in most cultures, a woman does and assumes her man’s name instead? Who wants to assume the name of a man who has negative impact on family and society? Men’s lives should be great and worthy of emulation, and should be a vital way of helping a new generation know what it should be aiming at. Somehow this concept has changed in recent years. What really happened? What went wrong? Where have all our good men gone, and if they are still around (as I am sure they are), why are they so silent and ineffective in positively influencing the family and society as we expect?
Part of what happened is that we have adopted the idea, ( especially in the civilized world), that no one is really in a position to say what’s right or wrong. So we adopt the “less affair” attitude of “who am I to judge others?” Even when vices like Infidelity and Related Sins (I&RS), are destroying the family and society, we look away! We have become suspicious of authority and leaders in our quest for freedom and advancement. We seem to have lost confidence (and sometimes justifiably so), in governance, even at the family level. We are therefore suffering the resulting consequences and challenges of personal and societal irresponsibility. We have been programmed in taking pleasure more in focusing on the negative aspects and weaknesses of our leaders at all levels, starting with the man’s leadership of his family. No wonder we seem to have little or no patience and no confidence in whatever he does or how much he contributes to his family. Instead of gratitude and encouragement, most of us (through our words, actions and omissions), tend to weaken the man’s zeal and ego, rendering him even less effective as a role model for his children. In some cases, we are justified, but I feel that we should give men more of a chance, help, and benefit of the doubt, instead of being quick to condemn them. In such situations, most men give up and flee. This creates a vacuum and virtuous cycle in generations to come. I am not supporting irresponsible behavior but rather pleading for patience with them as we find solutions.
So the very idea of legitimate authority has been damaged at all levels starting from the family. We have gone from the extreme of being naive to the other extreme of being cynical. At the family level, we could say that we have gone all the way from foolishly accepting all man’s authority to foolishly rejecting it totally, like a person who was so wounded or betrayed by a member of the opposite sex that he no longer trusts anyone of that sex. This is a bad place to end up, and in our culture we are paying a harsh price or it in various ways ranging from dysfunction in the family to decay in the society.
People still need heroes and role models. There are still many lives that are good examples and we need to seek them out and use them to restore and strengthen the weakened fabrics of family and global society. This is the goal of these posts. I am still optimistic that we can find more of such good men who will inspire our future generations to emulate them. This is the true love of our human society.
In the next episode, we will define what real manhood is and explore how to instill these positive and vital values in young men for the sake of family and society. Please do not miss the next episode.
Dr. Mother Love