For my husband and sons...
I feel the need to start off by saying, I am a strong, independent woman with a good education, a good job, and a beautiful family. I was raised by a strong and independent single Mom who was such a great example to me. I am thankful for the opportunity I have had to hold positions of leadership in my church and workplace. I have been treated with respect in those endeavors and have been so encouraged by the experiences I have had to succeed. I know not all women have experienced such and I have felt blessed!
However, I have seen a culture shift... one that disturbs me as a mother of four amazing sons. Somehow, as society has worked to empower girls and women, they have seemingly simultaneously devalued the importance of men... in particular husbands and fathers. They are portrayed in sitcoms as the blubbering idiot to which their wives and children roll their eyes, if there is even a husband or father portrayed at all. Men are told by society that they aren't necessary, even science has proven that their role as procreator isn't secure. It baffles me. Why must we demean one sex to empower the other!? Must there be a competition?
I am a woman of faith and, in all my studies of God's word, I have felt there is beautiful symmetry in His plan. The importance of my role as a woman is made evident. I see no favoritism of the sexes in God's eyes. While we are all unique in our God given energy and gifts, and some of those qualities may not fit societal norms for our gender, we each have important roles to fill and one does not outweigh the other.
I have seen the effects of this culture shift and cannot count the amazing people in my life that have suffered from either non-existent or unhealthy relationships with their fathers. Statistics have shown that a father's presence in the home leads to a reduction in delinquent behavior, drug use, and leads to higher academic scores and improved social and emotional well-being. (I mean just look at "This is Us", for crying out loud!... every family needs a good Father). What is scary is that the presence of a mother, no matter how dynamite, cannot compensate for the loss of a father's influence. I know too many amazing women who have fallen into unhealthy relationships and suffered so many hardships, who anecdotally had strained and dysfunctional relationships with their fathers if they had one present at all.
All this to say, I see you good gentlemen. I see so many of you working hard to provide for your families in an ever demanding workforce. I see you good men of the world supporting your wives in their endeavors, cheering them on when they win "employee of the moth" for their large hospital organization, encouraging them to follow their dreams, and holding them after a long day of struggling to juggle all the balls. I see you come home from a long day at work and immediately jump in to help finish (or start) dinner, hold a baby, wrestle with the kids and attempt to turn "the witching hour" around with your silly antics. I see the power of united parents in molding and shaping young minds. I see the profound influence your respect and affection for their mother have on your sons and daughters. I see how vital you are to a truly happy and stable home.
To my sons, I say... see your father! He is wanted. He IS needed. He is strong and can lift physical burdens, but can counsel you soundly through burdens unseen. See how tenderly he cradles your baby brother, and yet that man would fight a den of lions to keep you safe. See how his hands are worn from working so hard, serving our family, our church, his patients and our community. See how he cares for you while I'm away at my full time weekend job! See how hard he is working to allow me the freedom to be home with you instead! See your father, forgive him for his imperfections, and follow his lead little men. He is a good man who loves the Lord and prays for you daily!
You have such important roles to fill my little men, so watch and learn...
To my husband, you can fix anything and while I may be able to watch a Youtube video and patch drywall or repair the lawn mower... I have plenty on my plate, so thank you for heading that responsibility! Thank you for holding my hand during 4 unmedicated childbirths and for your strong hands pressing on that amazing forehead pressure point that makes it possible to stay grounded. But, most importantly, thank you for always supporting me in my ever changing and expanding dreams. Thank you for respecting my opinion and making our marriage a true partnership. Thank you for being here and staying here, even when society tells you its not so important. You are incredibly important to us. Your love and service on our behalf lays the foundation for our families well being. You bring relief and joy, you bring laughter.... oh the laughter. No one can quote movies like you at the perfect time. Your wit is legendary, my friend. As you take our 4 tiny boys to church without me each Sunday, I am so grateful for your faithfulness in this season of life. Dressing them in their Sunday best is no picnic, but man they look good! Thank you for respectfully and compassionately exemplifying all that is GOOD about masculinity. Best friend, your friendship is my MOST cherished... and there are some pretty fabulous women in my life... so you must be pretty darn amazing!
To all the husbands and fathers and young men coming up in this world of #GirlsRule, #GirlBoss #MomBoss , etc (and I use them too)... listen carefully... yes, women ARE amazing... they deserve your respect, your encouragement, your support, your love... but, you deserve ours too. Your influence is needed, your perspective is valuable, your role in society is key to its success! I just thought you should know, because it might be difficult to hear this message above the noise.