Where Are All the Heroes?
I enjoy reading and posting updates on Facebook. With a modest number of friends most of my posts receive a few likes by friends and a comment or two now and then. My more popular posts having 20-30 likes, so when I have a post that skyrockets over that 30 ceiling, I tend to take a second look.
I recently posted this:
Why did this post about my husband repairing our central heat and air receive 124 likes or reactions? I didn’t attach a picture or meme. I didn’t tag anyone. What was it about cheering on my husband that resonated with my FB friends more than the things I normally share? Why don’t I see more of “I have an awesome man for a husband” type posts in my newsfeed? Men have taken a tough blow over this last decade or two. Just think about it, you can honestly not watch a single commercial or television show without a man being portrayed as weak, ignorant, deadbeat, or unable to control their thoughts or actions. Why am I, like so many others, silent at this onslaught of negative and demeaning characterizations of today’s man? There is something wrong happening here. The men I know are not like this. My husband, sons, dad, uncles, nephews, and various male friends are none of those things. They are strong, intelligent, involved, and self-controlled. So why are men generalized to be less than? What has happened to our heroes, brave warriors, our white hats who ride in and save the day?
Before I go a step forward with these thoughts, you need to know I am a self-confident, educated, and driven Christian woman. I know who I am and where I am going. I make my own choices and live with the consequences, successes and failures. I’m all for equality and women’s rights and it breaks my heart when I hear of the mistreatment of my sisters. It turns my stomach when I read about women and children forced into slave sex trafficking. I get angry when I hear about the victims of female genital mutilation, domestic abuse, rape and worse. These things are evil. These things are not part of God’s plan for His girls. God has a beautiful plan and design for His girls, just read Proverbs 31 if you doubt God doesn’t want His girls to be self-confident, driven and successful.
I hear so much about breaking through the infamous glass ceiling, rising above past discriminations, and propelling forward for our sisterhood everywhere. I read about women’s rights, equality and liberation. I was born in the seventies so women’s liberation was noticeable, part of classroom discussions, common. As a young women in my junior year at university, I took a class entitled “Spirituality for Women.” Naively, I was expecting a class focused on our Christian walk, after all I was at a private Catholic university, but instead the agenda was more of a recruitment to embrace feminism. A blessed sister of the Catholic church, hell bent on proving that the female was superior to the male, not to mention her right to enter the priesthood, gave me my first sampling of feminism. It was bitter water. It didn’t take long to realize the misguided direction of her anger. Please don’t misunderstand me here, I believe women should have every opportunity afforded to men but here is where I differ. I do not need to climb over, step on or dismember manhood because I was born female. Trust me! I sing my own version of the old commercial’s jingle just fine! I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan! And I make sure, my husband doesn’t forget he’s a man!
For the sake of saving my husband from embarrassment, let’s get back to the point:
In our pursuit of women’s liberation, we began to shout, “I don’t need to be rescued, I’m not a damsel in distress, I’ve got this.” We empowered little girls everywhere to dress up like princesses and save themselves, their kingdoms, and their subjects! Go Girls! And that isn’t a bad thing in itself but with those same cries we began to hush the boisterous, loud excitement of competitive games of tag, kickball and foot races, we broke apart the friendly wrestling matches on the school playground and in our backyards. We began to strip away the toy weapons, tiny soldiers and masked heroes from our sons. We awarded participation ribbons and declared them all winners! When our young boys didn’t comply, we diagnosed them, medicated them and wondered why our sons are so, so, so…… them.
Why is it so difficult to embrace the beauty in both the feminine and the masculine? We are made to be different. To look different, to feel different, to react different. Differences that should be celebrated and nurtured. Let the little girl dream of her hero rescuing her from the clutches of the vile villain. Let the little boy dream of defending his princess with his sword and shield. That doesn’t mean she can’t dream of saving the day too or that he can’t dream about being rescued. We do not have to rip one gender apart, stripping it of any fragment of decency to promote another.
Why must we exchange our knights in shining armor for court jesters?
Contrary to what today’s television programming may portray, men are not morons, nitwits, imbeciles or any other expletive. I am not married to nor am I raising bumbling idiots. My boys, my three incredible sons are being raised as the royalty they are. Yes all three of my boys are being groomed to be Knights in Shining Armor, White Hat Wearing, door opening, yes ma’am and no ma’am addressing young men. They are prayed over continuously. They know Mama is their greatest cheerleader and a ready advocate when necessary. They know how to say I’m sorry, excuse me, and use proper table manners. They can change a tire, check the oil, and move heavy furniture when requested. They can cook, clean, and do laundry. They are being trained to be strong and fierce, to be gentle and kind. To work hard and provide for their families, to love their wives like Jesus loves them and to raise their children to know God and make Him known. They are becoming mighty men of God. Men who won’t hesitate to defend your honor, stand up for you, fight for you, rescue you, carry you, protect you, provide for you and love you. They are preparing to serve you in the humblest of ways. They are becoming heroes.
I’m for sure playing my part in seeing this happen but in actuality, my role, although significant, pales next to the example they see in their Daddy. All this day to day training is alongside a father who also lifts them up in prayer, rivals my cheerleading and advocacy and holds them accountable for their actions and words. I didn’t teach them to check my oil or fill my gas or even help me to carry in the groceries. Daddy did that. They can cook, clean and do laundry because they had a dad to show them through his example and teaching. This fierceness, strength, gentleness and kindness I’m referring to, they get a front row seat. All this chivalry mentioned, it’s played out before their very eyes every single day. My hero, their daddy, makes me swoon. He’s the hero Bonnie Tyler sang about! I need him and he needs me. We are partners, lovers, best friends. He is my husband and I am his wife. We are living the dream.
I want my sons, my grandsons, even my great grandsons to live in and pass down this legacy. Is it too much to ask for men to be portrayed accurately? Our boys need heroes and examples to follow. They deserve to see honorable, respected leaders who are motivated and empowered to live life with integrity and courage. They need to see men who are willing to weather the storms of life and take on the difficult responsibilities that come their way. Let’s stop elevating the men who neglect their responsibilities, shirk their duties, and abandon their families. That kind of man isn’t a man at all and he is definitely no hero.