Another blog contribution by my co-author, my dad.
While in a bookstore recently, I noticed a middle aged man walk in alone and begin browsing for some CDs. It was then that I came to the conclusion that most men are lone wolves. They protect themselves from risk and consider themselves successful in life if they never embarrass themselves, are able to stay alive, and stay out of jail. These protective mechanisms usually form in the Junior High years. The personalities that develop as a result of learning to interact with girls, the terrors of Gym class and the various physical changes that occur, remain with most men for the rest of their lives.
Heaven help the young man who is too short or too tall or who is different in any way than what the wolf pack (other boys) or the Supreme Court (the cheerleaders) deem normal. Life is turbulent for him. He quickly learns his place in the pack and develops his survival personality. Is it any wonder that when a boy starts Jr. High that his conversations at home morph into one word answers or grunts? When this young man grows up, we may see glimpses of who he really is, such as when he falls in love or does a brave act. But for the most part, he remains hidden.
What does it take to draw him out to be the man God intended him to be? Think for a moment about stories or movies you have seen that portrayed a man who felt called to a great task but was afraid that he wasn’t up to it. Somewhere along the line, a woman came to encourage and inspire him. She awakened the little boy inside. The little boy that was brave, honorable and justifiably idealistic before the crucible of his Jr. High School experience.
Already on thin ice, I would like to take a risk and go just a little further to offer some practical suggestions that I believe can awaken a man’s desire to serve his wife and family:
- When you put your hand on his arm, stop a moment, look impressed and ask him if he has been working out. (Donna got a new patio for this one.)
- Thank him every once in a while for going to work each day and providing for your family (It’s like saying, “sick-em” to a dog.)
- Acknowledge his acts of higher character such as good manners, a selfless work or a moment of tenderness with you or your children. (This alone, could get you a Disney vacation.)
When a man is respected, he responds. A friend told me recently, that when everything is good at home (and I think he meant with his wife), that he could face anything. A man is always aware of his wife’s level of respect for him. And even if she starts with the small things, she’ll find that it will serve him right.