The person bearing the gift explained that my dad was their mechanic, and knowing that they had very little money, had fixed their car for free. On several other occasions, my mother was stopped in the grocery store by grateful people telling her that they had fallen on hard times and my dad had fixed their car and only charged them for the parts, not any of his labor. I was just a child, but these events made a very strong impression on me, and they taught me volumes about how a real man behaves.
I know many fear men are selfish and use other people (especially women who have been hurt by men). But I also know from the great models of masculinity in my life that real men aren’t like that.
The men who work hard to provide for their family, the war heroes who sacrifice for their country, the dads who come home to fold a load of laundry after working outside the home all day, and the men who give up outside work to care for their children and home full time are real men. Real men sacrifice themselves to protect those in their care. Real men are also dependable and responsible.
Like many women, I found a man who is very much like my father. My husband too is honest and a hard worker. With me and with other women my husband is respectful, just like my dad was to my mom. I always knew my parents loved each other immensely, which gave me a great deal of security. I hope our children have that same security in knowing that my husband and I love each other completely.
In my own life I have tried to live up to the integrity my dad modeled. He taught me that every job is respectable as long as it is done with honesty and that includes working hard for the hours one is being paid to work. He taught me that real love sacrifices for others. My dad doesn’t talk much, but he doesn’t need to because his actions spoke loudly about our values as a family and what is really important.
When it comes to the people my dad has helped, I’m sure there were others that we’ll never know about, because that’s just how my dad is. He helps people but doesn’t make a show of it or tell others about it. He’s humble. I have always been very proud of my dad’s honesty, integrity, and generosity.
I’m grateful to have a husband who has so many of the qualities I admire in my father, a husband I am proud of, and who I know will pass on the same example of what it means to be a man to our children that my father passed on to me.