Dads answer this Father’s Day: What does it mean to be a man? – Low Calorie Diets Tips

(Mark Thomas/Illustration for the Washington Post)

To celebrate Father’s Day, we asked fathers and father figures to reflect on what it means to them to be a man. What do you want to teach your children and grandchildren about what it is like to be a man in today’s world? How do you see the change in masculinity? How different is it to be a father today than it was for your fathers?

Below are some of the insightful, eloquent and poignant responses we received. Happy Father’s Day to those celebrating and we wish peace and comfort to those feeling a burden on this day. Mostly thanks.

The following excerpts have been edited for length and clarity.

To my sons and grandchildren and to my male students:

You will hear a lot about strength. Some of this will be obvious and obvious. Some will come through constant, powerful cultural messages. Many of these messages will be silly and trivial, and some will be actively harmful.

Strength is required to be good, useful, and trustworthy. That should be our constant goal. In this regard, strength will primarily manifest within you. It’s about aligning your actions with a high code of ethics. It means fighting any trait or tendency that would cause you to hurt or harm someone else – ever and in any way. It’s about fighting any trait or tendency that would harm you or keep you from your full potential.

True strength lies in mastering your actions and decisions. It means working to correct your mistakes, learning and growing. This requires constant strength, and it’s a constant challenge, a constant search for the strongest. Strength involves building resources to care for and help others. A truly strong man can be fully trusted by anyone in any situation – at home, at work, at a social gathering, anywhere. Work hard to be consistently gentle and caring. In my opinion, if you can earn and be worthy of a young child’s trust, you are well on your way to gaining real strength.

There’s another term we use for the most complete and evolved version of a strongman: a good one.

These forms of strength are often unseen, trendy, or celebrated, but they will bring you peace and fulfillment. Each time you exert strength to be good, you build the muscles of the psyche and spirit that allow your life to soar to joyful, meaningful heights.

– Braden Bell, 50, Ashland City, Tennessee.

What does it mean to be a man? I do not know. There! I said it.

Being a man who knows nothing is not the norm. How am I supposed to mansplain if I don’t know everything? Shouldn’t men have all the answers? What if my son asks a profound question? Surely I should have some winning paternal gold to give.

I am a fatherless father. I was raised by a single mother with six children. There are things I don’t know about being a man. I get by.

Also, I’m a gay father raising an apparently straight young man. Am I Qualified? Yes, but I don’t know everything about being a straight young man.

I’m oddly at peace with not knowing. My son is maturing as planned. Everything seems fine. But there will always be things I don’t know, and I shouldn’t pretend to know them. I’m still a father. that i know

– Casey Cavalier, 55, Ashland, Ore.

For me as a Black father, being a man means being the provider and role model for my three children in a world that constantly draws negative images of Black men, but especially of Black fathers. I am a proud stay at home dad with a wonderful wife who fully supports my role in the household of doing laundry, cooking (I throw myself into the kitchen) and other chores normally associated with mothers are.

For me, fatherhood means supporting my children emotionally and being present at little league games, in the classroom as a substitute teacher, at dance performances, at PTA meetings, and at bedtime to give them a kiss goodnight. It’s about supporting me, loving my kids unconditionally, and hoping they’ll learn from my mistakes so they can be great parents when they one day decide to have their own kids.

— Vernon Gibbs II, 44, New Milford, NJ

As a stay-at-home father for the past 14 years, I’ve learned that no one can decide what my manhood means. I have to make that choice, and every time my teenage daughter comes home from school and wants to talk to me about her day, I know exactly what my manhood means to me. It means being there for my family every day.

I want all three of my children to see this example as they get through their teenage years. It took me a long time to learn this, and as a house dad, I often get comments about what “real men” do. I can build your deck – and bake you lemon tart. Neither has anything to do with my masculinity. How I take care of my family.

– Shannon Carpenter, 47, Lee’s Summit, Mo.

I grew up believing that men should be strong. I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but today’s men use their strength best when they keep space for their loved ones to individualize. This means working on ourselves first and understanding our own limitations. I believe men have historically denied themselves their own mental health while asserting themselves as protectors and providers. We ignored our limits. As we get better at setting our own boundaries and getting in touch with our own needs, we can model healthy behaviors and make space for our loved ones to be individuals.

As the father of a daughter with disabilities, I have found that resolving and creating space for my daughter to safely explore her own identity has made me stronger than I thought possible, with strength gained through therapy, Found group support and a lot of weight dead lifts.

– Peter Galligan, 44, Denver

The question is: What does it mean to be a (decent) human being?

Traditionally, men have been the breadwinners, but women are now in many positions and careers that were previously only occupied by men. Tradition sees women as educators of youth, but we urgently need to encourage these roles in men.

I belong to a “senior men’s group” that meets weekly via Zoom. We come from many nations, faiths, fields of work and points on the political spectrum. I can’t really imagine that we would have to do anything differently if older women were admitted.

Which virtue applies only to one gender? What vice is desirable on the other side of gender segregation? Breastfeeding a baby can only be done by a woman, but anyone can hold a baby bottle, kiss a scraped knee, read a book, or set an example.

Vive la difference? Hmm, Pourquoi?

– Alexander Patico, 75, Columbia, Md.

It should simply mean being human and treating others that way, but given the reality we find ourselves in, it means having the power and responsibility to speak up for those who are not heard.

—Michael Marshall, 36, Auburn, Mass.

I have two teenage sons. I hope they make good men. I try to teach them that a good person sees the world with deep optimism, but when they see problems, they look for a solution. A good man will do anything to support the people he loves. When he has to choose sides, a good man chooses compassion and empathy. A good man knows when he’s wrong, apologizes, and tries to change. A good person discerns right from wrong, but seeks the potential for good in others. Above all, I want my sons to know themselves and always remember that a good man treats all people with kindness and respect.

— Carter Gaddis, 53, Lutz, Fla.

Being a man in today’s world means caring not only for family but also for society, knowing full well that you will not reap those benefits. It means taking extra deep breaths and choosing your words wisely during difficult times, when your instinct tells you to do anything but. It reminds us that our mistakes don’t own us and that through those mistakes we learn to improve ourselves and become better versions of ourselves. All this while remembering that being a man means acknowledging the importance of the women who made us and the women who guide us in life as well.

– Alexander Ashworth, 34, Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

I’ve been a father for more than two decades, raising three young men, and yet I don’t inherently identify as a father. Why is that? Maybe it’s because growing up, I thought of my father as the man who had all the skills and all the answers. I’ve never felt like this before. If anything, being a father has humbled me. It regularly reminds me of the limits of my abilities. I’ve been an educator longer than a father and I’ve learned that I can’t mold my boys like clay into the adults I want them to be. I can nudge them, I can support them and most of all I can see them for who they are. But I will always question myself if I’m making the best decisions to support their growth. Being a father is hard work that reminds me what it means to be human.

— Christopher Kimberly, 49, Frederick, Md.

There is no one way to “be a man”. However, all paths should show emotion, admit mistakes, respect others (especially women), ask for forgiveness, and if you have children, tell them and show that you love them.

– Rob Williams, 37, St. Paul, Minn.

Being a man means providing emotional and physical security for your family.

It means your family knows that you will do everything in your power to protect their hearts, minds and bodies. Being a man means making yourself vulnerable so your children will see that vulnerability is safe. It means being vigilant and alert around you so your family knows you will protect them. That’s what a man is to me.

– Kyle Lawrence, 36, Memphis

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