A rule that seems to surround masculinity is the necessity of not showing too much emotion, especially if it is one of love, compassion or empathy.
My dad was probably the hardest person I knew. He had the typical attitude a lot of cops carry. A hard man, from what I remember. It wasn’t a surprise, now that I’ve grown older and seen what the world consists of. We need good solid men to lead, no doubt. What is unfortunate though is the lack of compassion many men show, especially towards their children.
I met my wife and she had two young boys and a little girl. Needless to say, we hit it off and married. What followed was a very difficult season for me. It was hard to be not only a stepparent, but also a man capable of being a decent parent. The lack of learning how to show compassion towards an undeveloped mind ended up being a nightmare for me as a father. I never learned how to be a man who showed love for a kid because dad never really delivered. I don’t know what his deal was but most of the time he was only rude and distant. There was also the physical and mental abuse he and my mother displayed towards each other. I grew up watching and learning. The season after marrying my wife nearly came to a halt with threats of divorce–threats only I used– because I was not doing things the way I should have been. Unfortunately, I was the problem, not the difficult situations the children brought. My lack of knowledge was the enemy. Threats of divorcing my wife were because I thought they were the problem.
There is no reason really to give details of my marriage, the ways in which I failed as a father or just how hard it was to patch up what had already been damaged between us all. What is important, to me anyway, is the fact that love mended us. We are all very happy and we have a very good relationship towards each other. But, men, I will share how shitty it is for us to be hard on our children.
It angers me to see people who call themselves men carry an attitude of misused authority around, specifically when directed towards their immediate family. They think they have some sort of superiority over the rest, and the only ones who are real people in the world–or family–are the ones like them. I watched a man (although I hesitate to call him such) named ‘Dad’ use strict disciplinary actions in order to control his family. I followed that example, and you know what it got me? A broken heart. A broken mind and a loss that nearly ended up being permanent. I bet someone reading can relate. Quick question. Do you enjoy being alone? Or maybe you like being a dick? How’s that working for you? Are you the one with tear-stained eyes, or is it your family who weeps?
My life has been mended by love and compassion. It took a lot of work on my part. I wanted that, and now I own it. This broken world, on a steep decline, needs more men who are able to embrace the softer parts of themselves. Being less of a man has nothing to do with containing emotions such as love, compassion or empathy. The lesser man is the one who thinks they need to control. The one who is a hard man. The one who never sees the err in his ways.