This post in our marriage and family series is focused on the male half of the equation and inspired by the current message series at our home church. You can find videos of the messages here.
The other night we were watching the Philadelphia Eagles preseason football game. I cover the Eagles for the website Philly Sports Space. It is something I love to do as I’m a huge fan of the team and analyzing the game. Carter was laying on the couch watching it with us as Aiden was already in bed. The broadcast cut back from a commercial to show a group of Eagles’ cheerleaders dancing. The image then cut to the players.
“Dad can you put them back on?”
The question came from the couch. Val and I looked at each other.
“What did you say?” I asked.
“The cheerleaders. Can you put them back on the t.v.?” Carter asked. Then he laughed. I’m not ready for that conversation, not at six years old!
At church we are going through a short series on Marriage, Love, Sex, and Dating. The message today, delivered by Pastor Scott Kramer, talked about some responsibilities of men in our marriages and relationships. He mentioned how society does not help us in the fight to make women equals and not commodities. He talked about how the early church was revolutionary in seeing women as people and not slaves or items to be sold. Turn on the news, check your smart phone, it would not be long until you find an article from the sports, music, or entertainment world written to objectify women. And wow, men, do we eat it up.
Scott mentioned starving your eyes and how these images hurt our marriages and relationships. They create unrealistic expectations of significant others. They sell the fantasy and, in times of struggle, fantasy can be very addictive.
I just started reading Manhood by Terry Crews. Crews is an actor and a former NFL player and a man of faith. He’s the star of Old Spice commercials, over forty films, and hundreds of television episodes. He is married to his wife of twenty-five years and they have five children. He also battled a strong addiction to pornography that almost cost him his marriage. (check out his commercial below and you’ll be singing the song all week)
In the beginning of the book, he talks about growing up with parents who battled nightly and a father who was an alcoholic. He and his siblings were abused. They relied on each other to survive. He mentions going to church and just wanting to be good enough for God, to avoid sin at all costs, to be a handler (as many children of alcoholics are) and make everyone happy. He realizes how this isn’t possible.
I love his honesty and his profession of grace.
As men we have important jobs. We stand in the gaze of our children. Our sons and daughters learn from our examples. They see what it means to be a support for a family. If we want things to change, society to be different, women to be respected, the work force to even out, and the future to brighten, then it starts with us. Want to change poverty and stall crime? Be there as fathers. Want to start chipping away at racism? Be there as fathers. Want to stop the violence? Be there as fathers. Engage. Support. Listen. Respect. Serve.
I don’t know about you but I want my boys to be the difference and live the change.
I want them to have hope, to reach out hands in support, respect and value women, hold doors, say please, say thank you, tip well, and pray with their own families. I want them to see Val and I as inspiration. It is a big job but, with God, anything is possible.