Growing up, I was considered a wimp, nerd, “girly” kid. I enjoyed the “softer” and “nerdy” things in life. As a child of the late 70’s and early 80’s, it was not the time for boys to have empathy, and to be gentle. If you were that you were a target of bullies and girls were not interested in you as a boyfriend or want to be romantically involved. I was the kind of boy who would do as he was asked to do. I also found myself wanting to make things right for my parents and Grams so I wouldn’t make waves, get into trouble and do what was expected so I wouldn’t get in trouble.
My dad recently confessed to me that he really didn’t want to come home from his work as a Principal and deal with his two boys. I learned from my dad that you go to work, do the job, take the paycheck home and you either hid away and went to the gym, played golf and did other things instead of dealing with what was going on in the family. I don’t remember my dad having any hobbies, he’d golf but it really wasn’t an interest, I do remember him being either passively sitting in front of the TV watching sports, or getting really upset and yelling at my mom for things not getting done. He also took the pricipal position because it provided more money for the family. And that is all he seemed to provide, money. Even now when I reach out to him, he asks if we need funds or he wants to give a Birthmas gift. I’d rather have his friendship, but that seems out of reach.
Since we are now more financially sound as a family, I’m not so concerned about money as I am about being passive/aggressive. I’ve been guilty of the same actions as my dad. BUT the difference with me is that I decided that if things are not getting done in the house, it was up to me to just do it. And that kind of action has been harming my mental state. I’ve done LOTS of reading about what it means to be masculine and what I read makes my heart warm. But what some people think masculine means may not be the same one that I’ve discovered.
For me, I am a man, fully male but understand that there is a feminine part that balances things out. I have been denying that I have in my DNA certain traits that need to be expressed in a masculine fashion. That it’s time to stop being a house husband, and start being a fully male human, who though can and does housework, needs life outside of work and home. So much of my life, I compared myself to other boys and wondered, “Why can’t I be like them?” Well, I AM like them. But again because of my passive ways as a kid, I was never invited to the table with the rough boys because “I might break”. I was a book geek, always had comic books or some kind of book with me and would rather read about adventure, instead of getting with the guys and going on an adventure. Not seeking adventure, but just going out and doing it.
I told my mom a few months back that I wish I had been a Boy Scout. (Considering how they treat some males, I’m glad now that I didn’t.) I wish that we had done camping. That I had learned how to hunt and fish.
A few years ago I attended the “High Desert Men’s Summit” in Bend OR, (No longer exists) and there I met the man who changed my opinion and vision of Jesus Christ, Paul Coughlin. Most of the even was rather too much bolster and not enough action. Paul’s talk about his book “No More Christian Nice Guy” was the main reason I went, but there was one other thing I went to that made a huge impression on me and has haunted me ever since:
A demonstration of Bow Hunting!
Now I don’t like the idea of murder, but there is something that really spoke to my heart about hunting. I don’t like guns, but there is something adventurous about a bow and arrow. The demonstration showed how much more accurate and that there is less damage to the meat and that hunting provides more than just money for the family, I wanted to do it. BUT the funds were not there. And I was afraid that Kathleen would think ill of me.
Fast forward to a few days ago, I was very upset, again, that chores were not done and I had during the week mopped out a bus that was a spare because it was very muddy, I get mad when a spare bus has not been tended to and I always leave the bus better than I found it, and I blew up. I was being my dad again and it felt terrible. I was also that little boy who wanted to make things right but had reached the end of his rope and there was nothing else to grab on to. I became that bully who wanted to force things to be right. And that made things worse.
Eventually I broke down and started talking with my wife, who really had no idea how to help, and she just listened to me. I poured out things that I thought I had gotten over and she pointed out that my mind had been lying to me. I confessed I didn’t know WHO or WHAT I was. I know at some point I talked about Bow Hunting, that I really wanted to do it, but if I didn’t get the apartment clean or do laundry that it wouldn’t get done. That I’d be selfish for learning and going hunting.
She said I was wrong.
So I now have permission to do it. Not only from my wife, but from myself.
There is something deeply rooted in my soul that has been wanting to be more masculine and less passive. Here’s the definition of “masculine” that I KNOW is within me and has been caged. “Having strength and boldness”. Yeah it’s a traditional thing for me to have strength and boldness , both sexes can have it, but I’ve been keeping mine hidden.
I denied that I have strength and boldness, not because I’m male, but because I’m loved. Because I’m a Child of the One True King.
Hunting is one of those bold things in life. And I never got to as a kid. Well, I’m gonna do it now.
I’m starting with reading on what I need to do, how to choose a bow and take classes.
There have been very few times in my life where I feel that I have been bold. When I asked Kathleen to marry me is one of those. Had she known at the time how fake I was, perhaps she would have said “no”. Very grateful that she said yes. :-) Another time I remember being bold was taking the risk of applying to be a school bus driver. I don’t recall feeling boldness in church. Except for the time I went to the Walk To Emmaus. Where I decided to let Jesus start messing with my life and give me a new one. How come it’s taken so long for this? Sometimes it sucks waiting on God’s timing.
Learning that it is fine and right to follow your heart and asking God if this really is what He wants for me has been freeing. Will I be good at it? Does that matter right now? Not really. It’s doing things that men have traditionally done for a long time. I sense that this is part of who I am, and I can’t deny it any longer. I don’t want to be a trophy hunter, I want to hunt for food purposes. I LOVE being out in wilderness. I’ve denied my Mid West heritage. Hunting with a bow and arrow feels like …wholeness.
It’s very unpopular these days to say that a guy needs to become more masculine, to have strength and to be bold, be able to provide, not just money but guidance, love and direction for his family. BUT it seems to me that families do need the Father, both the BIG one and the small one in my form, to make things right. Being bold and courageous is at the heart of all, but it is hidden so as not to offend those who want a quiet passive society. At least for my family, my hope is that I’m changing for the better.
Thanks Lord for telling me it’s a right to be a guy.