Monday, August 29, 2011

We Need Real Men

I watched COPS the other day and saw one segment in which three boys were arrested for throwing rocks from an overpass. They hit a minivan and the driver chased them on foot until the police caught them. The police called their homes and their mothers came and bawled them out. The police tried to encourage the mothers by saying that their showing up showed that they cared for the boys. But I couldn’t help but wonder, where are the fathers?

When I was a child, my father worked an hour away from home, so he wouldn’t have been able to show up quickly if I’d ever gotten into that kind of trouble. It might have been a case like that, but it’s unlikely. There is an absence of male role models in the lives of young men today. It seems to be worse in the black community, but no segment of society is exempt. Even among Christian families, men seem to be missing.

Some people don’t seem to think this is a problem. I suppose they’ve got their heads in the clouds or something. Having grown up in a two parent home, I can tell you that there is a big difference between a mother and a father. As I grew, I learned that I could argue with my mother. At some point, I realized I was bigger than her. For the most part, I was a good kid, but I was disobedient enough to realize that there was a point at which she would become so frustrated that she would back down from the argument, just to be done with it.

That was not the case with my father. My father is a gentle man, who is slow to anger. It was seldom him who gave the spankings and yet I knew I couldn’t push him as far as my mother. If he said something, you knew he meant it. He didn’t have to say much. Sometimes it was, “that’s enough.” Just the tone of his voice told us that we’d crossed the line and if we didn’t step back we wouldn’t like the consequences.

One of the sad things is how television portrays men today. So often, when men are shown, they either have no role in a family or they are shown as having no real control of their families. For example, in one ad, a teenage girl has a tight fitting short skirt that her father sees hanging on the line. He wipes his dirty hands on it in an effort to get rid of it. But along comes mother to the rescue with the laundry detergent. The skirt is saved and the girl goes off to woo the boys with her skirt. A real man wouldn’t have done that. A real man would’ve told his daughter the skirt was too short and she shouldn’t be wearing it. A real man would see no reason to damage the skirt because he would expect his daughter to listen. If for some reason the skirt did get dirty, a loving mother wouldn’t encourage her daughter to wear it by going to extra trouble to wash it. Instead, she would support her husband’s wishes, even if she didn’t agree that the skirt was too short.

What we need are more real men who are the fathers they ought to be. We need fathers who will train their sons and daughters to do what is right and to stay away from what is wrong. We need mothers who will take on the supporting role that God gave them. We need mothers who will obey their husbands, so that there is no confusion on the part of the children as to which parent they should listen to. And when circumstances prevent the ideal two parent family, we need other men to take opportunities to be in the lives of young men, so that they can see how men ought to be.