Wilder Man Dad: Thankfulness?

RECENTLY …

I listened to Harry Chapin’s song, “Cat’s In The Cradle”.  Man-O-Man!  What a song!  I remember my dad and I in the car; me – – – just out of high school, and “Cat’s In The Cradle” came on the radio.  Dad’s face pensive as we listened to the words.  After the song, his eyes straight ahead, peering through the windshield as if it was a dark fog, he commented about the father not making time for his son while time passed by, opportunities lost.  My guess is that my dad was thinking about his father: the small amount of time he had with his father.

“My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say ‘I’m gonna be like you, Dad
You know I’m gonna be like you’ …”

I wanted to throw out this “thing” to my fellow wilder men, and the women curious about wilder men, who love wilder men … this “thing” about being a dad, having a son, living with the tension – – –  spending time with and giving our hearts to our sons, our daughters, in a robust way, knowing that this is the time where we pour into the lives of those wonderful kiddos who we are parenting, thanks to the gifting from the God who provides, the God who loves, the God who leads.  And courage calls.  I am a wilder man who  n e e d s   courage to be a good dad, who cannot afford to flounder, and say some nonsense like “Woe is me!  I need courage to be a good dad!  How can I get courage?”

“Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
‘Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?’
He shook his head and said with a smile
‘What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?’ ….”

If I whine about ‘needing courage’, I am missing the boat, I am missing my son, I am missing my daughter.  It is not about “needing courage”.  It is about taking courage, embracing courage, using courage not unlike one handles a sword.  I know we can learn from others; we can learn from what others have to say.

“And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me / He’d grown up just like me / My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon      Little boy blue and the man in the moon

‘When you comin’ home son?’ / ‘I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad / 
We’re gonna have a good time then’ … ” 

And we can make a promise that we are not going to blow it … knowing that there is a possibility we can miss our children, knowing that we can sacrifice the fatherhood love for things that are not worth the sacrifice

Instead, we can know that we made a good, noble, courageous, other-centered choice, to love our sons and our daughters.  And we can know that we were intentional about spending priceless time with them, during their journey.

 

 

 

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Good Words From Another Blogger: Women Who Let Men Be Men

The following are excerpts from an excellent post written by Sierra Lassilahttp://sierralassila.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/being-a-woman-who-lets-a-man-be-a-man.  I originally found this post “re-blogged” on “Disciple’s Perspective”.  Here are some of Sierra’s words.

Has our inability as women to walk in femininity resulted in the quenching of men’s ability to walk in masculinity? … Here’s what I am trying to get at. Ladies, how often do we complain that our men aren’t stepping up?

  • He’s not pursuing me.
  • I wish he would be a spiritual leader.
  • I’m sick of asking him to do things all the time.
  • Why can’t men step up and be men?
  • Whatever happened to chivalry?

I’m guilty … of condemning men for their lack of stepping up, for remaining passive instead of walking in the fullness of their masculinity. I was frustrated and began losing hope that such a man even existed.

So, yes, there is a “natural tendency” due to the fall for men to be passive and for women to be controlling. But that’s not how it was originally intended! I guess the questions bids, then, how do we, as children under the new covenant of Christ, overcome? More specifically, how do we as women encourage and exhort our brothers, fathers, and lovers to walk in the fullness of their masculinity?

There is more to Sierra Lassila’s post; and I hope you will check it out at  http://sierralassila.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/being-a-woman-who-lets-a-man-be-a-man/

Women have sustained abuse and exploitation for centuries.   Women “do” controlling because of men who have backed them into that corner of control: a means of survival; a means of coping.  However, I believe that I missed Sierra’s point.  I think Sierra Lassila was referring to the struggles that women have with men: their expectations; their desire to be pursued; a woman’s need to build up the man, as opposed to being critical of him.  These are just my thoughts.  Again her post is worth checking out.

Peace,

T

Igor & Eeyore, Male Depression, Slight Humor

cartoon image of angry man jumping up and down
grinningplanet.com

My fifth grade teacher returns from his errand, bursts through the door, crazy eyes, searching each one of us for the ringleader for our prank:  “WHAT … is the MEANING OF THIS?!!  Things happen, it was a long time ago, and we lived through it.   But the question has transcended our years on the planet: (a variation) “What does this mean?”

Other end of the spectrum, a philosophy professor.  I brought in a book I was reading (by Kahil Gibran) … wanted his opinion. He looked at the book, paused for a good minute, and I knew he was not impressed.  “Sit down. (pause) In philosophy, I ask three questions: 1) Is this true?, 2) What facts support this?, and 3) What does this mean?”

‘Never forgot that discussion.  I focus on male depression with the work I do . . .  And with the multifaceted pieces of male depression, this necessary question comes up:

Cover of "I Don't Want to Talk About It: ...
Cover via Amazon

“What does this mean?”  I will once again reference this work: I Don’t Want To Talk About It by Terrence Real.  Excellent read, if you have any interest in male depression.   Because of my commitment, or eccentric desire, to think outside the box, I have thought of other metaphors for male depression.  A short ride, but go ahead and fasten your seat-belts: we’re going outside the box.

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Igor going after a brain.
http://artsblog.dallasnews.com/files/import/97580-X00093_9.JPG

I was thinking of Igor, but I get Igor and Eeyore confused.  At times I think of Igor as a small mule with an abnormal growth on one of his shoulders, who works for a severe introvert, a temperamental bear … I found out that it was not a mule with a bowling ball-shaped growth on his shoulder.  It was a human being working for a guy named Frank … not a bear.  I think of Igor as an unfortunate gentleman who experienced a great deal of isolation, which is part of the whole depression dance. Igor has some performance issues and he goes to great lengths to become accepted.  He has a crush on a gal, Esmerelda, and she doesn’t really love him, but she doesn’t have the substance to tell the poor boy … Things get messed up real quick.

Quasimodo
Quasimodo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In fact, in one story he goes by “Igor”; and in another story he goes by “Quasimodo“, the Latin words “quasi” and “modo” also mean “almost” and “the standard measure” respectively. As such, Quasimodo is ‘almost the standard measure’ of a human being.’  Anyway, Esmerelda dies … and Quasimodo kills his boss who is in reality “Frollo“, which should NOT be confused with “Frodo”.

Let me add some words that might tie all this together.  Igor and / or Quasimodo are given a great weight to bear, which . . . for me ….  symbolizes a number of things, possibly depression.  Igor / Quasimodo deal with isolation, stigma, great sadness, and anger at times.  Those are just a few items that intersect (at times) with male depression.  I used the term “Eclectic View” because I do believe that the men who fight depression effectively MUST think outside the box and think from an eclectic perspective: CBT, Rogerian, Existential, NLP, RET … etc., In addition to thinking with responsible eclecticism, a depressive MUST acquire redemptive humor.  Oh, as for Eeyore?  He had an exchange with a bear that struck me:

“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.  /  “Why, what’s the matter?” “Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.” / “Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose. / “Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”

Yes … an eclectic view.


Wantless

“The problem is not that we ask for too much … but that we do not ask for enough.”

TheEdgeposter.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TheEdgeposter.jpg

Some souls “settle” for less than what they should.  Passion plays a part in this drama.  In the movie “The Edge”, billionaire Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) and photographer Bob Green (Alec Baldwin) are being stalked / harassed / terrorized … by a vicious grizzly (Bart the Bear) somewhere in the northwest corner of the continent.

Bob Green (Alec Baldwin) cries out in desperation to Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) “What are we going to do?!”  The older, wiser, Morse says in a quiet but passionate, determined voice: “What are we going to do?  We’re going to kill the (BLEEP).  That’s what we are going to do.”  The message (my paraphrase) seems clear: “I’ve had enough of this bear … its time to end this.

Passion,”want” …  versus “wantlessness“, “settling” for less.  Morse wanted to survive, and that meant that he would have to kill the bear; and that is what happened.

Life is short.  I will not settle.  When I am being stalked, harassed, by the adversaries of fear, mediocrity, or the lie that I don’t have what it takes … I need to be ready to end it.

Men Who Are Bullies 4

Note, Folks: with these posts about bullying, I realize I should acknowledge two (2) things. 1) These pieces are not only for men / boys who bully, but women / girls who bully as well; 2) bullying is serious business, punishment should be different for boys (based on the circumstances), boys become men, unless interrupted by death … Thus, the importance of addressing the crime (crime? Yes, crime) of bullying immediately, with hopes that an adolescent bully will change his abusive behavior BEFORE he steps into manhood.

Okay. Thanks. “No-brainers”? Maybe. I’ve incorrectly assumed so many times. Balance?

I’d like to reference a study about bullying, “Prospective Longitudinal Study of Children’s Theory and Mind and Adolescent Involvement with Bullying”. Here is the link:

http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/health/children-theory-mind-adolescent-bullying/

U.S. Dept. of Ed: March, 2011 …school-based bullying tends to shift over time from younger students’ pushing / shoving … to older students tendency to bully verbally / indirectly, such as derogatory slurs / gossip. Origins of bullying behaviors may start long before a bully or victim is enrolled in school.

I want to reference just one (1) of the six (6) specific findings listed in this article:

“Children from homes lacking sufficient material or emotional supports were the most likely to bully others by the time they reached early adolescence …”

Wrapping this up, here are some of my “take-away”s from the article.

The shift from younger kiddos’ pushing/shoving towards the older kiddos’ verbal & nonverbal abuse is probably not a surprise to me, or you, but it is a sobering reminder of the toxicity & damage that can be sustained by a child targeted by others. We are talking about verbal / emotional / psychological abuse, which is absolutely brutal. There was a book I read a few centuries ago (pardon the exaggeration) entitled “No Visible Wounds”: a book about psychological abuse sustained by women. And, perhaps, we all agree that psychological abuse is extremely difficult to prove, compared to physical abuse. Thus, the title: “No Visible Wounds”.

Okay, I’ve gone longer than I intended. Hope this post provides something beneficial.
Peace,
T

Men Who Are Bullies … 3

In my journey of learning, and processing … working with folks, I like to flip things over to look at them from the other side.

With bullying … I mentioned in the last post that, in 2012, there were 1800 + books published on bullying. This means that there has been a whole lot of research going on, about bullying, and … a great deal energy spent on communicating ideas / concepts / data that is different from how others have communicated the data about bullying.

Instead of gravitating toward the micro/analytical/detailed psychological aspects of bullying, I’d like to consider some basics about bullying … in a categorical manner. It is so common in our day and time to get away from the basics. There is a kind of appetite Americans have for … the sophisticated … the over-analyzed … the “new”.

A man from the past by the name of Solomon wrote about wisdom … and he was considered my many at that time to be a wise man. Solomon, many believe, wrote that there is nothing really new … it’s all been said before.

In my experience of working with a vibrant cross section of folks over the last fifteen years, I have come to believe a few ideas about bullying: only a few items. I would be honored and privileged to receive feedback / input, whether you agree with me or not.

1) Insecurity … One of the goals of the bully is sabotage one’s “security”; or, one might say that a bully wants to wreak havoc on one’s safety. (Question – Where does a man find his security?)

2) Power … One theory of bullying is to take back power that the bully once lost, to someone else (who stole it from him) … What seems ironic (or is it paradoxical?) that the bully keeps trying to take his power back, over and over, and it is never enough … Thus, the bullying comes out of the bully’s loss of power at some time in their life. (Question: What is powerful … from a redemptive, honorable, perspective?)

3) Identity … A bully wants to make a name for himself, or herself … On some level, don’t most people? Some people do NOT want to make a name for themselves … They want to remain hidden … And that dynamic of “hiddeness” connects with the bullying category, in different ways. (Like my question with #1, where does a man find his identity? And in the realm of hiddeness, is one running from identity?)

Well, hey … those are three categories of the bullying paradigm. I’ll stop here, and come back at a later time. I want to wrap up on somewhat of a redemptive perspective.

Bullies pay, at some point. They really do. There is a tremendous opportunity for some folks to come out of the hellish desert of being bullied, to experience some victory, some healing. And yet, there are countless individuals who did not / will not experience such victory, such healing in this lifetime, on this planet. Innocent sojourners have died, and will die by suicide or homicide. In those cases, I’d like to think that in their death, they are no longer suffering. The bully cannot get to them anymore. If one believes in eternal life, this is an important concept / reality to ponder. If one knows their God, their Christ, before their transition from the “here” to the “there” … from the “now” to the “then” … then there is immense, unfathomable peace beyond the horizon. And, again, the bullying is over. In the words of a student to a bully: “In a short while, I will be at peace, and in a better place. But you … you will still be a bully, and your payback is coming.”

Peace in the storms. Keep your eyes on the prize.

T