When the news of my mom’s death spread throughout my congregation and the naval base in Port Hueneme, Calif., I began to learn about the kindred spirit that exists among women who have lost their mothers. These women cried with me and told me, “There is something deep that happens in our souls when a woman loses her mother.” All of these women talked of mothers who loved them and modeled that every woman can be all that God wants her to be.
Countering prevalent views on masculinity requires intentional action. While there are many ways to foster connection and emotional health, there’s one tool that has worked especially for us: storytelling.
As we walk with Hannah, we see how she encounters and discovers who God says she is. This is a message not just for moms, but for all of us. Every day of our lives, we are asked to fit into a certain shape, but we don’t always fit the mold.
For too long, I’ve made excuses for not being present and for being less than a full partner in the life of my family. To be a father means to not just hope for a world where my wife and daughters can flourish; it means helping to bring that world into being.
My dad showed me that a great father, like a good man, is defined not by strength, but by tenderness. A great father doesn’t run from his feelings, but knows and communicates them. He is fully invested in the nurturing of his children.
Word are my gift to my son, a gift many men do not grow up with. Instead, they are taught that emotions are silly or effeminate and should therefore be ignored (or at least restrained). These men now struggle with anger and health issues that don’t seem to have any clear causes. They struggle to connect with spouses or significant others, not understanding the value of conversation to solve problems. Simply put, they struggle without their words.
Many others, like us, are aware of the unfortunate stereotypes that attempt to narrowly define us as boys and girls, men and women. Many others are actively working against such harmful messages and the restrictions they promote.