“There aren’t any good men left. They are all married” This is a statement my friend makes to me almost every week. Sadly, what she says doesn’t seem to be far from the truth. I have been separated or divorced for the larger part of two years. In that time, I have yet to meet a good man that isn’t already married, or about to be.
Now, lets be clear, I’m not looking for a man. I’m not ready for that. But, I see my friend’s point. The men that have contacted me are all in some sort of relationship, and some even have babies on the way. They aren’t looking to care about anyone else. They just have areas that they want fulfilled.
Before I go any further let me say that this is not a man bashing post. I know good men. They are married to my friends, and they are doing a wonderful job at representing the men in this world. I have also noticed one common denominator about these men, they surround themselves with other good, faithful, honest men. They support each other and guide each other. There is a lot to be said for the people that you allow to influence you allow in your life.
Also, I want to acknowledge that there are many women out there who are just as harsh as the men are. But today I just want to talk about men. I just want to ask, what happened to the rest of you? Did a woman hurt you? Did you never experience how good being faithful can be? Did you learn how to use us from a very young age?
I have a fairly heavy part in raising my step son. He is almost 17, and will be grown, and gone soon. He comes to me with questions about being faithful, marriage, kids, and so much more. Here is what worries me….my son has seen so much mistreatment and unfaithfulness toward women in his lifetime that he is scared he will become someone like that. We have talked in depth about everything being a choice. It seems to be sinking in! Yay! But in all honesty I still worry. I am his mom, I always will.
I would love to say that he has men in his life to keep him going in the right direction, but that wouldn’t be true. I want my son to grow up to become a man of integrity, and that seems so hard in this world. I have no doubt that it can be done, it just seems to be a more rare occurrence these days.
I also have a daughter. She is 11, and is starting to pick up on different relationship aspects. She states that she believes all men leave. She even asked a friend when he was going to leave his wife, because all men leave. Last night she watching a movie, and one of the main characters was a very conceded man. She asked me if he would be good to marry. I pointed out to her that this man is very selfish, and that in marriage selfishness becomes a big problem. She didn’t understand because she believes that all men are selfish, and so there is no other option but to marry a selfish man.
I have worked hard to change the thinking in my children. I want to do what I can to show them that there are good men in this world. That they are not doomed to be or marry any less than a good man. So I try to surround them with good men. Friends, and uncles spend time with them. They show them how to respect, and make good choices, and that some men are good, and faithful, and don’t leave. Having this influence in their life can be good for them. It shows them a different way to live, and be treated. But, it is only in short amounts of time that they get to see this.
Another thing I do, which I have slowly found to be equally important is to show them what is acceptable, and what isn’t. I never want to bash men in front of them, but especially not their dad. He has made mistakes, and they are aware of that. They have seen it. But, I refuse to bad mouth him or any other man, especially where my kids can hear it. So I show them how to respond to men who continue living in their selfishness. I show them how to love, and give grace, and forgiveness.
I also show them that it is okay to stand up for yourself. I spent a long time with my husband, and was at times treated in ways that were hurtful. I will also admit that I didn’t treat him well at times either. At the end, and even now, it is my job to show them that it’s okay to stand up for yourself too. It shows them that they can expect to be treated properly, and when it doesn’t happen then it is okay to stand up for yourself, and to insist on being respected.
For a very long time I stood by my husband while he treated me poorly. Then I realized that I was only showing my kids that it is acceptable to be treated that way. It wasn’t though, and I wanted them to realize that. So I started standing up for myself. I tried to still be respectful, but I want my children to know that if someone is being harsh to you, it is okay to take a stand. It is not okay to allow yourself to be cut down.
So do I hope there are good men out there? Yes! For my son and daughter’s sake, I really do hope there are. I hope they are there to guide them, influence them, encourage them, teach them, and love them. I can’t believe that all the good ones are gone, I want to see my friends get married. But if they truly are gone, then lets get busy changing that! Show them integrity, talk to them about how to really treat others, provide a safe place for them to learn, don’t allow yourself to be treated badly.
The only way things will be different is if we all work to change them. So let’s do that. Lets make good men, and strong women that respect each other, and treat each other with kindness. It will be such a sad world if we don’t! Don’t let good men be a dying breed.