Ha! Don’t blame me, that’s totally from the Babylon Bee, “Father’s Day Updated To ‘Toxic Masculinity Awareness Day” Cracked me up.
There are some of us, quite a few of us really, women who love men and aren’t terribly pleased about some of the cultural narratives going on. That’s my husband they’re talking about. That’s my father. That’s my brother. Oh, so now you’re talking about my son, the fruit of my womb, and now the war is really on…..
Women actually love men, most of them anyway. We need our fathers, desperately, they are a vital part of shaping who we are as women. Somebody smart once said fathers will shape every future relationship we have with men, but not only that, they are going to influence our very perception of God Himself. Whew! Like that’s not a huge amount of pressure.
I was talking to a young dad, a dad calling himself a “baby slave,” because that’s what you do when you’re chasing a kid around, trying to keep them clean and safe and fed. The guy has no idea who he is or what he is actually doing, the impact he will have on his kid’s life, on the lives of those around watching him. Perhaps even a generational impact. He was distressed about baby wipes, he had forgotten the baby wipes and now the kid was sticky. I so wanted to speak the truth to him, to tell him who he really was, but you know pressure, stress. He was beating himself up over forgotten baby wipes, so informing him that he was also shaping every future relationship his daughter has with men and helping her to form her very perceptions of God Himself, seemed like a bit too much weight to heap on him.
We need our brothers, too. Brothers are great fun, whether they are little ones we drag around or big ones we roll our eyes at. Nobody sticks closer than a brother, right? It is extremely painful when we cannot have that playful camaraderie that you often find between brothers and sisters. Men and women have a longing in our hearts for one another, not necessarily romantic longing, but playful and friendly. There’s a wise saying, “play together, stay together.”
Husbands, husbands are priceless, too. Women just can’t go it alone, we need things. We really can “do it all,” but that totally leaves our own needs unmet and we’re stuck trying to compensate for a tangible absence, a missing piece, not just in our lives but in the lives of our children, too.
Our sons have a huge impact on us, also. Most moms of boys really begin to develop some empathy, some understanding of men. Ha! Odd little creatures, aren’t they? I used to try to get them to focus on some task, moving rocks around, so they wouldn’t create their own tasks like asking, I wonder what will happen if I jump off the shed roof? I used to have to say crazy things like, “I need your bones to stay on the inside of your body.” They would roll their eyes, like this was some kind of annoying request, inconvenient and bothersome. I still have some little piles of rocks among the weeds, memories of those games we played.
A while back a pastor I really like spoke of fathering and brothering, of how it doesn’t matter if you have kids of your own or not, we’re to be about the business of fathering and brothering somebody. I really liked that idea because we are sons and sons are called to be about the Father’s business. We are the inheritors of a kingdom. The first-born, so to speak. Figure out what the Father’s business is all about, and do the same for others. Men’s purpose, their design, their significance, is really about giving glory to God, making His presence be seen and felt in the world.
His presence is gentle and kind and good and strong, all at the same time.
The culture we’re living in right now is kind of at war with the idea of men, all masculinity being perceived as “toxic masculinity,” but it isn’t necessarily toxic at all, often it’s very beautiful, vital, and irreplaceable. There is honor to be found there, bravery, adventure, conquest, all the secret desires of our heart, and those desires are not toxic at all, they are who we were designed to be. They call to us becasue He calls to us.
But for crying out loud, don’t forget the diaper wipes. Life can get sticky indeed.