Masculinity has come under fire lately, because of the term “Toxic Masculinity.” True masculinity is not toxic, it is not harmful, it is not anything else but the essence of being manly. I can almost feel most of you rolling your eyes right now, but hang with me. There is nothing wrong with being manly, manliness – if you are a man – should be something you would want to attain.
Masculinity has come a long way from when I was a child. Being masculine was pictured as wide tabbed collars, shirts unbuttoned four buttons down, gold chains and smoking marlboro or camel cigarettes. To borrow a slogan, “You’ve come a long way baby.”
I must admit that when I was a young father and my children were young, I didn’t do many things that were considered “masculine.” I would throw the ball around with my boys, but not too often. We never went out fishing or hiking.
I worked quite a bit, and I never really had a work/home balance.I seldom worked on cars or did very much maintenance around the house. I could do simple stuff, and sometimes I would undertake a large task with a lot of belly aching. My point is – it was always easier for me to call someone than to do the task myself.
Not so with my boys. All three of my boys have shown themselves to be quite handy.
My oldest boy – who serves in the Army National Guard – is now in his second home (I have never owned a home). He has had to replace the carpet, toilets and sinks and has built many pieces of furniture – He also built a chicken coop for his (then) wife. He has started a project on restoring a truck and has fixed his late grandfather’s truck. He is a wonderful father to his children, and he is a loving partner to his girlfriend. He takes care of what he has and has decorated his home – tastefully. He also has taught his kids to fish and to enjoy nature.
My second oldest boy also owns his own home. I swear he has more tools than a licenced contractor. He has taken an older home, and he has been able to do all the maintenance on the home himself. He has taken a detached garage and has done some work on it and it no longer leans! He has worked on his side yard, giving his son an awesome play area. He also put in a chicken coop. He put up a cedar fence all around his yard, which he did himself and it looks pretty awesome. He has one son, and even though he works nights, he takes his time with his son during the day and I am sure, when his little boy is older, he will go fishing with him as well.
My third son is in the Army as well, He is serving in Hawaii as a Nurse. Before he was in the Army, he had to work on cars, because they broke down and he could not afford to get it fixed, he did decorate his house with some of his own artwork – I have that now displayed in my house – and just like his older two brothers, he has shown his adeptness in woodworking. I know when he gets a home, he will be just like his two brothers.
My three boys have made me very proud, and each one of them exhibits masculinity – but none of my boys are toxic. I believe that masculinity has evolved from the later part of last century. Men can be nurturing, men can be kind and men can use their hands. I know I have not bragged on my two very talented daughters, but that will be another post. I am proud of all my children, and my boys have grown to be fantastic men.