Men Need to Love
Did your Dad ever tell you that he loved you?
Back in the old days Dad’s didn’t do gentility well. Telling their children that they genuinely loved them was a rare event. Certainly, that was my experience.
At home love was never spoken about, as it was considered excessive, gushy, and over soft. Well, you know what? I happen to be one man who believes every kid needs soft.
Actually, the reality is a paradox. Demonstrating softness also calls us to be strong.
I believe every child everywhere needs to hear their father say, “I love you”. And not just when they are lovable. That tempestuously headstrong teen needs to hear these words too (even if they start making sounds like they’re going to throw up the moment it’s mentioned).
Of course, most women instinctively know kids need this kind of loving affirmation. Whereas men, well, we don’t always get the big emotional picture quite so clearly.
My father, being the stoic Prussian type, considered it unmanly to show such expressions of affection. Indeed, I think he didn’t merely disagree with it, but struggled to understand how to do it.
So I did it for him.
As he became older, Papa gradually softened but still couldn’t work out how to show love. So in my twenties I stopped waiting and became a Dad for him. With big, generous hugs and expressions of affection I taught him that outward expressions of love are pretty darn good. While it also did my soul wonders seeing him shift from awkwardly stiff and uncomfortable to warmly looking forward to touch and kind words of respect and affection.
It wasn’t easy for me. Just as it wasn’t easy telling my own sons I loved them when times were thoroughly tough. But love is as much a decision as it is a state of being – something you choose to live rather than simply hope for.
Men need to know that. And, if they are husbands and Dads, they absolutely need to own the knowledge that real love demands courage because real love frequently risks deep hurt.
When personal misunderstandings happen, the tough… love. They don’t waste their time hating, blaming, or getting aggressive. For these weaknesses merely get in the way.
Real men face their emotional fears with listening and thinking, not yelling and breaking. Fathering needs maturity, which always calls for putting our own ego and fears to one side for the sake of those we love. Puny-minded men will try to deny it, but loving others wisely and well is a sign of manliness in action. That’s why, when it comes to being a great Dad and a good husband, only real men can do it.
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