This I Believe

Brian - WInchester, Virginia
Entered on June 14, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in being a man, or more to the point, being your own man. Which, I believe, is more necessary today than it has ever been.

The majority of fathers today, with young children still living at home, grew up in the first major era of single parent families. Gone were the days of the Cleaver’s, and “My Three Sons’’, and “Father Knows Best”. Today’s fathers grew up in a generation without fathers and father figures to look up to, to help us boys figure out what it means to be a man. And, now it is our turn to be men, and with no role model to guide us, we are on our own. So, it is our job, and our duty, to define what it is and what it means to be a man, a husband, a father; for ourselves and for our children. So I welcome this challenge and I prefer it this way. This is a great opportunity to not be bogged down with old, preconceived notions of manhood and father hood, and to do it the way we think it should be, to follow our gut, our conscious, our sense of duty and right and wrong.

So, what is it to be a man? Being a man means doing what you have to do to get things done, no matter how unpleasant, how mundane, how unglamorous or how unmacho it seems. It means to put our children and our wives before ourselves. Being a man means doing your share, getting involved, and being a participant in your family’s lives, not just a figurehead or an icon. Moreover, it means to give a damn, to care, to be open, to be there, not just physically, or even mentally, but with your whole self. No longer is it good enough to come home from a hard days work and prop your feet up and smoke your pipe and read the paper till dinner is on the table. Now when you get home, it’s time to be a man and do your duty. It’s time to raise your kids, ask them about their friends, their activities, their hobbies; help them with their home work, their projects, be enthusiastic about their accomplishments and follow through with their punishments. Time to help your wife fix dinner, set the table, start cleaning the dishes. There is no “I worked 8 or 10 or 12 long hours to provide for this house.” That is just part of your job, being a man; the rest of your job is to prepare those provisions, serve it with love, interest, compassion and discipline; and to clean up afterwards.

It is our job, as men, to define and live this new era of manhood. That is our challenge. It is time to step up to the bat, are you man enough?