Dear Mr. Manly Man:
If you haven’t figured it out, there are some of us men who aren’t just like you. This is our letter to you. There are a few things we’d love to share.
1. We need manly men in our lives.
We need good and honest examples in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Some of us may prefer a trip to the art museum rather than a car show or hunting store. When going out for a movie, some of us would choose a drama over an action adventure and we might enjoy watching a cooking or interior design show rather than a football game. It doesn’t mean we’re sissies and need to “man up.” We are different but we need you to be a part of our world.
2. Don’t be afraid of us.
Although you might not completely understand us, there’s nothing for you to fear. We are all unique and creative designs. We’re not trying to change you and we don’t need changing. There are times; however, that we might consider learning from each other – some of us may cry a little too easily and it might do good for others of us to learn how to be vulnerable and not keep the hidden bitterness raging inside.
I’ll never forget the college professor who pulled me aside and privately shared with me a better way to carry my books. He wasn’t trying to change who I was but he was trying to protect me from the taunts of others who never learned to be polite. To this day, I am grateful for his courage in helping this young man make a small change that saved him from lots of future pain.
When it comes down to it, relationships are to be embraced and not feared. Our differences should draw together and not keep us apart. We need each other. When it comes down to it, we’re not all that different.
3. If he resembles us, you’re son is okay.
If you have a son who doesn’t measure up to “your manliness,” it’s going to be fine. Don’t fear him either. Celebrate his differences and don’t keep the hugs away. Every boy needs a dad who believes in his uniqueness and celebrates his varied talents. It might take you out of your comfort zone but show him that you’re not afraid to take risks. Take time to enter his world and learn about or share with him in something he enjoys!
You see, we probably all have differences in opinion when it comes to all this “masculinity” stuff. I think it’s amazing. Everyone’s story matters and it’s important that we take the time to listen to each other.
So next time we meet, let us know that you care. Be present and don’t buy in to the stereotypes. (We’ll try to do just the same.) Maybe consider sharing some of the pain or hurt you may have been holding inside. When it is all said and done, we might shed a tear or even share a hug. It’s even possible that you might like it. I know we will.
Don’t give up on us. We’re in your corner and we need you in ours!
Sir Notso Manly Man