Men, we need you!
Growing up, my cousins and I used to play “house”. This is a game with different names but played the same where, we get into roles and play family in an imaginary home in our backyards. One thing I remember from the game is how the boys would go hunt for birds, whilst the girls stay home, clean, fix the dinner table (made from paint tins and a scrap board) and wait for the boys to get back with the meat. Without fail, the boys always came home with something (a bird or locust). They would then clean up the bird and grill it on a braai stand they made. On bad days, it was hard to trap a bird, yet even on those bad days, they still brought home something from hunting. That’s how most of my age group played when we were young. It is disappointing to see some of the boys I grew up around, have lost the hunter in them. How did they get to this point? Is it the feminist movement or the lack of active fathers in the home?
The need for men in society hits me harder now that I am married. Don’t misunderstand me, I realised the need for my father to be active in my life in my late teens, when it was hard to relate with guys. Still, it took me a few years later to act on it and work on myself. Some people go through boy-girl relationship and other life struggles I went through, but a lot of issues men and women go through are camouflaged as something else but the root in many circumstances is, we needed the role of fathers.
We needed our fathers to groom and affirm us
I have seen (some) women changing who they are in order for a guy to like them (I once did that). I remember wearing skirts like they are going out of fashion because the guy I dated then, said how women look more gorgeous in skirts. I remember buying a skirt instead of a pair of chinos just so I can be loved more. As much as mothers groom and affirm us, a father’s affirmation is needed. You see it in women who always unconsciously try their best to change the man in their lives to be who they desired their “absent/passive” father to be in their lives, women who are thirsty for an affirmation from a man because somehow they believe if it comes from a man, it has weight and it is true. Our society is also filled with young men who don’t know how to be a man. You see it in the way they pursue women; the lack of readiness to protect and provide. The masculine presence is silent in them because they did not have that voice that reminded them how strong and courageous they are. To model the role of the gentleman they should become.
We needed our fathers to be men we look up to
Our fathers needed to be kings who show us the way, the earthly father who was supposed to be our point of reference for the kind of man we marry. The kind of man the boy inspires to be like, but it is the other way around. Most of my peers go through life striving to succeed in not being the father their fathers were, or marrying the type of man who has resemblance of their fathers.
A male and female child are affected when they grow up without their daddy. The male input and leadership is missing in the home that in most cases a female child ends up searching for it in relationships they go in and out from. Young girls admire superstars who are known for being out of order or seen living the “cool” life. Young boys end up looking up to their friends because at least in those circles, they feel they can be who they want to be. It is discouraging to have grown up in a community where 5% of the homes have fathers, and 2% of those homes the fathers are active and involved.
Our communities are filled with the youth in drugs and teenage pregnancy. It is filled with uncles who (we believed) were our hope drinking their well-being away everyday just to ease the pain of failing to be who they know they are, MEN with integrity. We are all affected by the lack of input and leadership in our communities. I don’t think men realise how much we need them.
Types of men we need to rise up and take the lead:
Absent father: Some are absent because they are late (deceased). They didn’t choose to leave, unfortunate circumstances happened (I’m not talking about those in this case). We get those who are alive and are somewhere on this planet, but are not part of their child’s life. They don’t invest time grooming their children. They are not providing for their children or passing the legacy on to them. They are absent! Life happened and they just stopped being responsible of the lives they brought to earth.
Passive father: He is present in the home but very passive. He is not involved in the day to day of his children, doesn’t know what they like or dislike. The mother is the one who does everything, works; disciplines the kids and its visible who makes more money (mom!). Children grow up disrespecting their father because they feel the home would still be better if mother raised them alone. In this instance, an appeal goes to women. One thing I have noticed is men tend to relax when you start doing what they need to be doing. Don’t take up his roles for him. He is there for a reason. Men become passive because we started doing what they needed to do in the home.
One of the things I had to learn in marriage was to let go and allow myself to need my husband. Men want to be needed, and when they are needed, they step in and are active. Having mentioned that about men, it is our nature as women to take over when someone seems not to be doing the work, especially when our lives and our children are involved. Let there be a balance because we have now created men who are so passive and are not doing anything.
The man who his mother is compensating too much in his life: We all know this kind. The grown man who has his mother doing everything for him because she does not want to let go of his “boy”. The grown man who has never been at fault in his mother’s eyes. What is disappointing is the man grows up living in an idealistic world in his mind. He is used to things being handed out therefore does not know how to work for anything. He feels entitled to everything. When he does get a girlfriend, he gets the kind that is willing to take care of him. The mother spoiled the boy so much that he lost the need of desiring to become what he desires to be. Everything is talk to them but they never get to do.
These type of men are all over our society and we need them. We need them to groom the young people. I am passionate about women’s ministry. I love what women do and have done over the years, but my definition of feminist is: Women who know who they are, know what they are capable of and that nothing is impossible. Women who know their role in the home, know how to do their roles and are able to step up and do them when they need to. Women who know they can do what men do (provide; protect and discipline), but are willing to allow the man (in their lives) to be the man and not compete. That is my definition of feminist.
Men, we need you. I know we have made it look like we don’t need you, but we need you in our society. We need you to step up and be who you are created to be. Society is dying without your input. Children need you to groom them. Gifts and talents are being wasted as young boys have opted for drugs because your voice in the home was not loud enough to affirm them. You have been gone for long that many are looking up to wrong things and wrong people just to be approved. Many struggled to relate to God the Father because they can’t comprehend how the Father can be so loving when the father they were first exposed to was nothing close to a Lover. We need you and you need to rise up. It’s about time!