In reading this scripture, I was reminded about the men in my life, starting with my great uncle Felix, who raised me as his granddaughter, and then my father Earl, my uncle Carl, and my father-in-law Albert. They've all passed on, but they were good examples of guarding what had been entrusted in their care.
My great uncle Felix (who I called "granddaddy") always had a kind word. He was a gentle man and used to play games with me when I was little. He was a lot of fun. Although I did not have a close relationship with my father, I did respect his responsibility for staying with his family and working to take care of us, as his father had deserted his family when my father was very young. Uncle Carl was very gentle, understanding and wise. He poured love and encouragement into me as a young teen and helped me build up my self esteem. I'll always fondly remember him for that. My father-in-law was the gem of the entire family. Everybody loved him. He would make each one feel important in his life. He never showed any differences or partiality. "Papa" is missed by all of us.I think of these men as "real men". They were responsible men who guarded their family and they worked to take care of them. I neither saw nor heard complaining from any of them when they had to get up very early in the morning to go to work. They protected their wives and children by making sure they had a safe and secure place to stay without worry of being evicted and not having necessities such as light, heat, and food. They made sure their kids had shoes and clothing, and they helped with chores around the house like fixing broken items or having them repaired. These fathers disciplined in love and were not harsh with their children. Their wives and children respected them as they worked hard to achieve.
My father worked two jobs during the summer in order to purchase a home and rental property in order to get ahead. My father-in-law worked a regular job and had his own business on the side to make extra money so my mother-in-law would always have a new car to drive. He drove around in an old model truck.
I realize a lot of girls did not grow up having this experience. Some did not have fathers or father figures in the home. Others had abusive fathers and men in their lives who violated them and took away their trust and their innocence. Sadly, many are scarred for life. Those who sought help recover and go on to live healthy, productive lives with husbands and families of their own.
I am thankful for the real men currently in my life. They are my husband, Joe, and our sons, Yusef, Omar and Jamal, and my brother, Felix. My husband learned how to be a man from watching his father. My sons learned from watching Joe. I'm also very proud that my sons are wonderful fathers. Joe modeled well before them. Though they may not agree with me in their attempt to live up to their dad's standards, the proof is in what is seen. They do measure up, though they may not realize it yet. My sons adjust their work schedules to help take care of their children. They saw their father ride a bicycle to work, so I could have the car to drive to work, when we only had one car. They saw him in their classrooms interacting with their teachers, and he took them to play biddy basketball and other sports of interest, each year. He even introduced them to music which they all love. They see what Joe did and they do the same thing. Joe is a perfect example of guarding what has been entrusted in his care.
My brother also has three sons, Anthony, Darren and Jerry. They are now fine young men with families of their own. They watched my brother as he worked night shifts and out of town to earn a living for them. He's an avid sportsman and having participated in football and gymnastics himself, he loves all sports. When his sons were young, he coached youth and he coached them. I love his strong, quiet spirit and the manner in which he interacts with his wife, Pearl, children and grandchildren. He's a nice man and I enjoy being in his company. He, too, is a wonderful example of guarding what has been entrusted in his care.
Felix's sons and my sons fully participate in parenting their own children. They also interact with their children's teachers and involve their children in sports. Joe also introduced our sons to music and they have passed this on to their children. I love the relationship they have with their children and the fact that they demonstrate their love to them like their fathers did with them. I also see the love and respect the children have for their father.
The important thing for boys in order to grow up to be real men is that they must see real men; men with good qualities, character and integrity. I learned many years ago when my sons were pre-teens that I could never be a father. One of the most important things my mother shared with me after I became a mother was, "Never interfere with your husband in disciplining the kids", and I never did. I could only be a mother to them. I was thankful to the Lord that they had a father, and one who was committed to them and an important part of their lives. I taught them to always honor their father. I reminded them on several occasions that they were to be thankful to have a father, because many boys their age did not. It's often said that your kids will keep you on your knees, and I constantly pray for them. Through prayer, I've seen the Lord move in my husband and my son's lives. In my husband, I've seen change from negative situations to positive ones, and I've watched how God has blessed him and, ultimately, me.
Ladies, ask yourself what do you bring to the table when picking a mate? And what does he bring? You each should strive to enhance the life of the other. I can count on Joe to take care of my car, step in to resolve issues when I need help, and be my advocate and represent me well in the world. He enhances my life and makes things so much easier. He's a real man, and I expect no less of my sons. I expect them to love and treat their wives as queens and take care of their children. They know how to do it, because they've seen their father do it. I expect them to guard well what has been entrusted in their care.
Happy Father's Day Joe, Yusef, Omar, Jamal, and Felix!