I wanted to be a man.
My dad is a stud. In 25 years of work, the man never once took a sick day, even while battling cancer. We built the majority of our house with our own hands. When my car broke down, we fixed it. We wanted a pond so we dug it. A common phrase around the house was, “Don’t bleed on the carpet.” Since I was a kid, I’ve always tried to be a man’s man–to fit in with all of the “manly” men in my life.
I also had two sisters. I watched as they dated and proclaimed what they admired in “men.” So I played instruments, I wrote poetry, I learned how to cook. On top of wanting to fit in with the guys, I did everything I could to be what a woman would want in a “man.”
The only problem is that all of these “manly” things left me incomplete.
I started playing college baseball and felt emptier than ever. I had success in the music industry, but it caused me to reach an all-time low. Then I decided to quit everything and move to a new town where I was welcomed by a strange family–the kind of people who promised me a room to stay before we’d ever even met.
And I met Judah and Nehemiah. The two kids who gave my life a purpose.
They taught me that being a real man means sleeping in a fort in the living room, not in skyscrapers in Los Angeles. They showed me that playing ball in the yard was more satisfying that hitting a home run in the college playoffs.
Then came little miss Selah, who was born less than a year after I moved in. I’ll tell you what, that little girl has my heart and she knows it. The manliest thing I’ve ever done was sing “Let It Go” at the top of my lungs into a princess hairbrush while she twirled around.
Society told me not to cry, but even thinking back to those moments brings me to tears. If I had continued to play the role that culture tried to put me in, I’d still be chasing a meaningless definition of manliness.
Today, I’m proud to say I’m a man who reads books in funny voices. I’m a man who, without question, would rather fly to see those kids than to any baseball game or rock concert. I’m a man who would choose a tea party with Selah than a drink with the guys.
Somewhere along the way we got it twisted. Kids became burdens instead of blessings. Men are leaving women pregnant to go chase “manly” dreams. Satan wins when he’s able to keep us from acting like Christ, and his voice is synonymous with culture’s–“Kids kill dreams.”
So whatever it is that society has you grabbing at to be a bigger man, let it go and pick up a Dr. Seuss book. I promise, you’ll thank me later.