Wanted:


Strong men and present fathers.

By April Jones

Since June is a time to honor fathers, I thought it appropriate to encourage the men in our lives. This is, however, just as much for women as it is for men. I’ll warn you this piece comes from a true “Daddy’s Girl.” I know everyone doesn’t have a father in his or her life, and for many, the relationships are lacking. But I’ve been blessed with an incredible man I still call “Daddy.” My father has been an ever-present figure of love, support and wisdom. I wish everyone had a dad like mine (or at least a similar man in their lives). He set a standard that has allowed me to understand the characteristics of what I think of as a “true man” and the traits I wish to see present in a partner and father in my own home.

Having two children from two very different fathers, I can safely say no two men parent the same, nor “man” the same, for that matter. Our home has been both with and without a male leader. These variables have exposed me to dynamics of the ever-present void that is inevitably felt by all of us. My parents have always been married. I‘ve never known the experience of living between two houses, two parents and two lives. I always knew my father would be home for supper, sleep under the same roof and be present for family activities. And the men my parents  brought into our lives were men of integrity. Not just anyone was invited to our home, and the men that were usually had their own families. They were men my family trusted. I strive to do the same for my own children as I befriend or date men. The ones I invite into my children’s lives are those I consider worthy examples of a gentleman, friend, partner and spouse.

It isn’t easy to see the desire and longing in your daughters for the presence and security of a man in the home. Despite the feminine propaganda, I believe all women desire a loving relationship with  a father figure, a man who comes home daily to tell her she’s amazing, beautiful, worthy and valuable and who cherishes and protects her.  When that isn’t available, be assured, it is sought out, one way or another.

Boys also need male affirmation and affection, but they also need a man to teach, guide, encourage, and inspire them. A woman can love her son, but she can never teach him how to be a man. And a woman can assure and affirm her daughters, but young girls develop confidence in how to love through the encouragement and gentle love of a father.

Men have a heavy load. I have such respect for my babies’ daddies! They are very different, with different lives, careers, zip codes and temperaments. Between these two fathers are two children with two schedules and two life experiences that will forever shape their own understanding of a man and, one hopes, a husband (when they are both 35). I see the longing and desire they have to be close to their dad. Many times, the comfort they seek I simply cannot supply.  As strong as I am, I am not the strength they need. They desire the assurance only a man, a daddy, can provide.

I know it’s ideal to have two partners in the home. I believe God designed a family unit it its Yin-Yang complexity for a variety of reasons. As this concept of masculine and feminine properties of balance suggests, it takes both to provide a well-rounded example. You must know both man and woman to understand those relations within the self and be able to healthily approach the same in others. To have too much of either can be confusing and cause great imbalance. But the reality is that not all homes have a mother and father.  In fact, most homes today don’t. But even if that’s the case, it is still possible to bring those dynamics into your child’s life. It is possible to bring incredible male energy and emotion into your home by adopting great men in your lives. Not all women have nor want men in their lives. But may I encourage you, for the sake of your children, to seek out strong, responsible men who exemplify the traits you want your son to emulate and who are like the man you’d want your daughter to marry. And men, may I encourage you to set the same example for the children in your lives, even if they aren’t your offspring.

There are some men that are doing the right things: supporting the mamas, making time for their children, extending themselves in order to be present and seeking to shape their kids’ lives. We all know there are plenty that aren’t, so let’s not even bother with that bashing session. Men, you know who you are, and for those that are stepping up, on behalf of all mothers, thank you. It takes strength and courage to be a man today. Just as media bombards women with ideas of who they should be, the same is done to men. Men, you are worth more than your pocketbook, car, career or politics, or even your abs, haircut or wardrobe. You are valued as the example you were designed to be. You were created to embody strength, courage, compassion, wisdom and honor. Today, more than ever, we need you to be the warrior men you were designed to be.

There are young boys looking to you to understand how to be a man. They need you to show them how to be a gentleman, hero and leader. There are young girls hungry for you to show them how to be a lady. They need you to show them how a gentleman behaves, what a hero does and how to lead alongside her partner.  This father business is for the brave, relentless and courageous. The role you play in their lives today will be the role you see them portray tomorrow. As you enjoy this Father’s Day, consider the impact you are making in your home. And for those of us without your presence, consider the impact you are making in ours as well. Men, you are loved, honored and cherished.Thank you for raising us up, providing the backbone to our homes and inspiring us to be as strong as we believe you to be.

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