In addition to the ethnic, gender, and economic inequalities that have afflicted black South African women past the end of Apartheid in 1994, the plague of HIV/AIDS has added a new dimension to their struggle.
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.
Two years ago, I made friends with a woman in another state via social media. We communicated through Facebook and Instagram, and sometimes on Twitter. She was thoughtful, caring, and generous. She wrote about her children, her family, and the ways God was working in her life. She has several kids, and always seemed to be laughing about the ups and downs of raising a big family. I admired her, was maybe even a little jealous of her overflowing life.
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.