Half of the worlds population. The most discussed topic among a group of women. Some are single; others are not.
Some are fathers; others are not.
Some are outgoing and boisterous; others are not.
Some are adventurous and daring; others are not.
Some are experts in their chosen careers; others are not.
While the 3 billion men of the world may each be entirely different from the rest, several common threads run between them.
One of these threads, perhaps the most intriguing to me, is that many of these men are striving to be good men. And when they are challenged, when they are asked to come through, they often will. Even when the odds are against them, the pressure is on, or the future is uncertain. Perhaps because of these things, many men are willing to take a deep breath and step up, especially for the women in their lives.
Last night on my night shift I received into my care a very young couple who had just had their first baby. Both mom and dad were exhausted after hours of labour, all-nighters, and a lot of unknowns as they experienced their daughter’s birth. The babe was having a lot of trouble feeding, and so both the dad and I spent a lot of time helping the mom try to feed the baby. This dad was highly supportive, encouraging, and soaking in as much information as he could, but I could tell he was exhausted and fading quickly. I suggested this young couple get some rest while the babe was sleeping, and then left the room. When I returned an hour later, I was surprised to see the dad’s cot empty. His wife informed me that he had gone back home to get some rest and gather a few things, and would be back in the morning (in about 6 hours). This wasn’t entirely unusual, so I began to assist the mom in feeding her babe once again and asked no further questions about the dad’s whereabouts. About twenty minutes later, the door creaked open. There stood the dad, freshly showered and changed, with about 6 bags in hand. Dropping them in a chair and kissing his wife’s cheek, he said, “I’m back. And I’m not leaving. That was the longest and worst hour and a half of my life.” His wife smiled and continued feeding the baby, but I was highly impressed. Good for him. He had left for slightly selfish reasons, to get away from a needy wife and crying daughter, to get some blessed sleep and alone time for a few hours where nobody would ask for his help or turn on lights in his room or ask him to step up. But once he got there, he realized that that wasn’t where he was meant to be. He was supposed to be with his new little family, supporting and protecting and being present when he was needed. He wasn’t made for sitting on the sidelines and ducking out when responsibility called his name. He realized that when he left, and it made him so uncomfortable that he came back to do his job: be the husband and father he needed to be. For the rest of the night this dad curled up on a cot meant for a body much smaller than his and stayed close to his wife’s side through early morning feedings and changings and crying spells. And when I left my shift, he was still there. Sharing his strength through encouragement and support and presence.
I’m proud of him. Of this young dad who is just learning what responsibility does and does not look like, and how he needs to react now as a father as well as a husband. His girls will need him, and last night was a small test to see whether he was willing to step up.
And he passed.
Our world needs more men like him. Men who are willing to come through, who are brave even in the face of fear, even when they have no idea what they’re doing or where they’re going.
I saw this on Facebook yesterday… No explanation necessary. Kudos to these men for their courage and their sacrifice.
So this is my “thank you,” my “I wish,” and my “call to action.”
This is my ‘thank you.’ Thank you to those men like that dad and those three guys in a dark movie theater. Thank you to those men who are striving to make good decisions and be the men they are called to be. Thank you for coming through, for offering your strength, for being such good men.
This is my ‘I wish.’ I wish our world had more men like you. I see a lot of men where I work who are less willing to step up and come through when they are needed, and it breaks my heart. And it also increases the potential for broken hearts in their families or broken lives in their homes.
And, this is my ‘call to action.’ To all you men out there, I encourage you to be brave today, in whatever context you are in. To all you ladies out there, I encourage you to encourage your men. Build them up instead of tearing them down. Expect great things instead of expecting disappointment. Let your words inspire rather than degrade. Because so often when we ask, they step up. Use that power wisely.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”