A Real Man…
I grew up with people who had definite ideas about what a real man did:
A real man always unsaddled his horse after a day’s work, fed the horse, and brush out the horse’s coat before he went to the house for supper. Of course, all the women who had ridden that day did the same thing.
A real man could shoot a gun. Of course, every one of my aunts could shoot a gun too. Don’t mess around with Smith women.
A real man got up early, worked till past sundown, ate supper and went to bed. Of course, the women got up even earlier to cook breakfast, clean the house, get the kids off to school, go help with whatever needed to be done around the ranch, get home, cook supper, clean up after supper, get the kids to bed, and try to sleep while her husband snored next to her (all Smith men, and some Smith women, snore. It’s genetic).
A real man killed the snakes. Of course, there was that one time we were riding in my grandfather Clemons’ pasture and we saw a rattle snake. My grandfather got out his pistol and shot at the snake three times. He missed every time. My step-father, Lawrence, took his turn and shot three times. He missed every time. My mother got a hoe from the back of the truck and cut the snake’s head off, thus fulfilling Genesis 3:15 –“I will put enmity between you (the serpent) and the woman.” Mamma always was a Bible-believing woman.
A real man had a good collection of tools to fix whatever was broken. Of course, most of the time he was hollering at his wife, “Honey, where is my three-quarter inch socket?”
A real man was expected to open doors for ladies. Of course, this rule was suspended when riding in the pasture and coming up to a gate. The rule then became whoever was driving (always the man) was to drive the truck through the gate and the woman was to get out and open the gate until the truck passed through. This rule change usually was implemented after marriage and usually resulted in the death of romance.
Some of what I learned in childhood was helpful. Over the years, however, I’ve added a few more items to list of what makes a real man.
A real man listens to his wife. Even when he’s tired. Even when her words don’t make sense to him. He listens not because he is trying to fix her, but because he is trying to understand her.
A real man plays Barbies with his daughter. He knows he needs to enter her world and value her for being female.
A real man does not make his son his rival or his legacy. He helps his son find his own path.
A real man confesses his hurts, hang ups, and habits. He realizes every knows them anyway.
A real man is never cruel for the sake of cruelty.
A real man doesn’t act like he knows everything because he knows you never learn anything that way.
A real man stands up for the downtrodden, fights for justice, and never is a bully. He knows all bullies are insecure.
A real man defends the weak.
A real man keeps the small stuff small and makes the main thing the main thing.
A real man does the dishes.
A real man is willing to lay down his life for people he loves.
A real man knows his mission and passionately pursues it.
The realest man who ever lived? Jesus. He worked with his hands. He loved his Mother. He spoke the truth. He never abused his power. He laid down his life for people he loved – you and me.