When did men become an endangered species?
How could Bonnie Tyler have known her words would be so prophetic? From her song I need a hero she asks. “Where have all the good men gone?” The year was 1984 and a small bundle named Michelle was also born that year. Were real men endangered even then as now?
I grew up in a home with a real man as a role model. Perhaps this exceptional role model has set the bar to high? My father taught me his respect for women by his treatment of my mother. Was it with kid gloves? No but it was always with respect and in all things dignity.
Publically my father never uttered a cross word about my mother. He wouldn’t sit with his buddies and complain about women or his wife. I never was witness to a public complaint or criticism of my mother. If she felt strongly on a subject you can bet her and my father were in lock step on the matter.
They spoke often about the house, us kids, best ways to raise us. They spoke openly in front of us the children and always with love of the other. Neither complained about the other ever in public or with others. If they had problems it was between them and only them and they always seemed to work it out.
Was it all roses? In a sense; yes it was all roses. Roses are beautiful, smell wonderful but they also have thorns. But even in the darkest moments my father was always at my mother’s side. Decisions made for the family were made by them both and I have witnessed my father’s mind changed on some subjects because he listened to my mothers.
I saw a man who stood tall against the world and walked in front of his family when danger threatened. And a man who walked behind us and let us learn some lessons the hard way. He knew when to protect and when to let go. His hands of steel when I was bad were soft as silk when I was hurt.
I bore witness to a man who wanted to give me his time, his heart and his love in all things. Ready at the asking to help and patient as the mountain when teaching. I witnessed his tenderness, his sternness, his strengths and fears. He was a man unafraid to show my mother and his children his love and devotion in all things.
I witnessed a man slow to anger and quick to love. My father is always willing to learn to play any game just to get ten extra minutes with one or more of his children. My father would take every event in total before opening his mouth to give advice. The wisdom in his words were always simple and from his heart.
I witnessed a man who could cry when he was hurt. A man who knew how to smile the greatest smile when he was happy. A father whose pride in his children showed in every game he attended, every school play, every little thing we thought so great at the time he celebrated as a huge triumph also.
I witnessed a man who treated my mother with respect. He would never treat her less than the lady she is in public. In the home he was always warm and caring to my mother and us kids. We know his hugs, his love and his joys in each of us. I have no doubts of my father’s love for my mother or for me.
I witnessed a man who worked hard both outside the house to provide and inside the house when things needed fixing or doing. He is a man who inspires with grace and kindness and doesn’t rule with fear and anger. I’ve had a real hero in my life for the man who set the stage for those who follow him into my life.
In his time real men were plenty and it’s sad so many today aren’t true and real men. So where have the men like my father gone today?
Did feminism kill the real man? I don’t think so because my mother is as strong and determined and hardheaded a woman as you’ll ever meet and I’m just like my mother. So we can say strong women didn’t kill of the real men; because women can be strong even before feminism existed.
Did society kill the real man with graphic images and casual disregard for women? I think not because a real man isn’t influenced by what others do or say. They are influenced by the example at home and the father in the house and in their lives. Perhaps the lack of a father could be partially to blame today.
The notion in society and general practice that dads aren’t important is honestly laughable. What pains me is seeing fathers feel they make no difference in the lives of their children. An active and engaged father is more valuable than my paltry words can express. Both mother and father serve a purpose in a family. Each has love to give and examples to set and each is unique in the way they deliver it.
What has changed in society? Perhaps it’s a movement away from god. Perhaps it’s perversions of a fathers role in a child’s life. Perhaps it’s laws which always favor the mother and never the father. Really you say laws that favor the mother?
Yes take abortion where is the fathers voice? That choice and nearly every choice involving the child in legal terms is 100% the mothers call. Courts give custody of children to the mother vastly more often than the father even if he’s a great father. The father is then relegated to short visits. Pretty hard to set that good example with so little time to spend.
This man known as my father not the myth stands forever the ideal I cling to as a good man. I’m left today wondering why so few good men remain. He set the example of what a father’s love means. I know my heavenly fathers love by my father’s example.
I saw the man who would set the example for all to come into my life since. So few today can measure to his example. It seems those that do are shunned and pushed aside by society. They aren’t the modern man and therefore aren’t important. They get overlooked and ignored.
I find it shameful so few real men exist and in a way I’m grateful for the one I found. He was tarnished and abandoned at the bottom of the wishing well. Overlooked by those before me as he lay there waiting. But where others saw that tarnished penny I saw his glowing copper twinkle from the bottom of the well.
Real men stand up and are accountable for their actions. They are responsible, thoughtful, intelligent and not afraid to be who they really are. Real men don’t need to put on airs or impress others. They are confident in who they are. They dream, they love, they cry and they keep getting up and doing it all over because those they love are counting on them to do so.
I have a man whose worth isn’t in the copper beneath the tarnished exterior. This is the measure of men by society only what they provide in luster and gleam. My man is measured in the pure simple joy of the wish made when he was cast into the well to wait. The value of true strength, patience, and wisdom. The value of the dreams and hopes inside that wish are what make him such a prize to me.
I found a man like the model I’ve placed by my fathers example. Strong enough to stand just us against the world, weak enough to show me his tear and his fears, patient enough to teach and wise enough to learn. I found my real man but yet I’m left still wondering. Where have all the good men gone?
I know of other men who measure up to this high standard and consider them among my closest family and friends. Men not afraid to go against the grade and be there. Men not afraid to be husbands, fathers and lovers. They are a dying breed and that pains me because these are exactly what we need today. Real men, real fathers, real husbands, real lovers.
Not the modern metro man as seen on TV and movies. Men who have a role and purpose in the lives of the family. Where are these men among the dregs of society today and when will we learn Hollywood can’t define a good man. Only morals, honesty and dignity can.
Ladies don’t be afraid of the tarnish on the penny. When you reach into the wishing well to get your wish look for the penny least used just waiting to be your wish. Don’t settle for what society tells you that a man is. Find the man willing to be a man not a man trying to be what society expects him to be.
I found mine at the bottom of the wishing well and he shines brighter today than any of those glitzy pennies stacked on top of him. He isn’t what Hollywood calls a real man but he is the measure of the man I grew up idolizing. He is a good man by every example I know how to measure.
So I ask again where have all the good men gone?
~Michelle Styles – March 3, 2014