When I think of Father’s Day, I cringe. My father was never the all-American dad. Unfortunately, he’s a pedophile who molested me.
When I got married and had my son, Father’s Day became about my husband. For a few years, it was a happy day. Until he broke our family with his emotional, verbal, and financial abuse.
So, to me, Father’s Day is a sad day. More about the failings of men in my life than a celebration of strong, supportive, protective men.
Traditionally men are viewed as the providers and protectors. When they fail in these roles, they leave a trail of disappointment and broken hearts in their wake.
Some people might argue that these roles are antiquated and that we are stereotyping, expecting men to be those things. I don’t mean it as a stereotype. I understand that it is not the right role for all men and that some women happily fit those slots. But I do believe, for most men, it’s an inherent part of who they are and what they are driven to do.
Let’s support these positive qualities and not make them feel less than because we are strong independent women.
Wanting a man to protect and provide is not mutually exclusive with being your own person and having your own career or owning your own house. I think, generally speaking, men feel most comfortable in these roles. If we need to modify the phrasing so other feminists don’t think we’re selling out, then let’s do that.
I personally find it charming and reassuring when a man walks on the outside of the sidewalk protectively or buys me dinner. It doesn’t mean I’m going to give up my career or my independence. To me, it means I am allowing him to feel good about himself and the roles he is programmed to express. I don’t need to emasculate him for doing what he feels compelled to do.
Again, broad strokes, but if a man feels good doing these things for me, then I’m okay letting him. It isn’t about feeding his ego so much as it’s about encouraging him to feel good about who he is. It’s about letting him to feel masculine and strong. When a man feels good about himself, he’s less likely to tear women down.
Allowing men to support and encourage women to be their best selves is a healing process that benefits everyone.
It is time for us to celebrate the good men in the world. Encourage them to step up and help us raise the next generation of young men to be good role models. It’s a tall order for some men. But I believe we, as women, and as a society, can encourage them to become better people.
The reality is that we all need strong male role models in our lives. Girls and boys both benefit from seeing men leading by example. I am a woman who didn’t grow up with a positive male role model. I need to see what good men look like, too.
Even if you don’t have a strong man in your life personally, that doesn’t mean you can’t find good men to be role models for you and your children. I made it a point to expose my son to positive, strong, supportive men as I raised him without much support from his father.
I’ve always said, “I can never be a strong MALE role model for my son, but I can give them to him.”
Interestingly, when he grew up and stopped being around the men we had found to be examples for him, he sought out other good men to mentor him and show him the way. He knew that he wasn’t going to get everything he needed from his father, but he had learned that he could find it elsewhere.
As men, you can lead by example to more than just your own family. I look to and admire my brothers, my friends’ husbands, teachers, Scout leaders, and businessmen I’ve worked with. There are any number of places to find good role models for your children. Remember, these are also good role models for you if you weren’t raised by an honorable man or were disappointed by the man you married.
Celebrating quality men in our lives is important. So this Father’s Day, reach out and thank the men who have provided you and your children with the example of what good men look like.
I personally would like to thank all the men of Boy Scout Troop 60 in Paso Robles, CA. You forever changed my life and the life of my son. From the bottom of my heart, you saved us; thank you.
Sherry Lutz Herrington is the owner of Sherrington Financial Fitness, a business consulting and accounting firm specializing in strategic business planning and solid financial accounting for businesses. She is also the author of Strong Women Thriving (https://strongwomenthriving.com/), a blog which focuses on empowering women to be financially savvy, particularly after experiencing financial abuse. Sherry is currently writing a new book that both shares her personal story and addresses financial abuse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join our FB group https://www.facebook.com/groups/womensurivingfinancialabuse