To all the men out there—grandfathers, fathers, brothers, sons—who seek every day to be what God has called them to be as men:
Thank you for doing what has become so challenging in our culture. A culture that mocks masculinity and labels it as “toxic.” A culture that’s trying to erase differences between men and women. A culture that isn’t teaching boys what it means to grow up and embrace the strength of manhood.
Thank you for being countercultural.
Thank you for providing strength in times of weakness. For putting your arms around us and making us feel safe.
Thank you for protecting the vulnerable. For not exploiting or taking advantage of women and children, but instead, honoring them and standing up for them against those who would exploit them.
Thank you for taking your roles of leadership seriously. For making decisions in times of challenge, for listening well to input, for being kind and strong in the way you carry it out and proving that you can be trusted.
Thank you for your humility in admitting your wrongs. For apologizing when hurt was inflicted and doing what you could to make it right.
Thank you for your words of encouragement on low days. For noticing when we feel down and taking the time to lift us up again.
Thank you for doing the hard and boring things without complaint. For serving us even when you don’t feel like it, because that’s what Christ did. For giving up your rights so that others could be provided and cared for.
Thank you for getting down on your knees and praying for God’s strength every day. For acknowledging your humanity and not being too proud to rely on the Savior—and for daily walking with him so that he can mold you into his image.
Thank you for fathering well. For spending time with your kids, making them laugh, doing fun things with them, rocking them to sleep, kissing them on the head, tossing them in the air, tickling them, reading them bedtime stories, praying with and for them, and showing up at their events.
Thank you for the sacrifice it takes to show your dear ones how much you love them. For not just saying you love us but proving it to us every day.
For every dad who makes an effort to show up for family dinners, who snuggles with his kids before bedtime, who walks with them to the park, who teaches his kids how to ride bikes, play checkers, or how to fish—
For every dad who’s not afraid to let his kids see him cry, who admits when he’s wrong, who tells his wife she’s beautiful in front of the kids, who gets up early to spend time with God, who makes breakfast on Saturdays, who mows the lawn and takes the trash out, who does what he promises to do—
For every man who isn’t a dad and still models those character traits and strives to be that kind of person—
Thank you. You are showing up in a world where so many men are selfishly leaving their families. You bring strength and dignity to the family in more ways than can be named. You are choosing to build up instead of tear down. You are faithful when it’s so much easier to be faithless. You are obedient to God’s calling even when it gets really hard.
May our sons grow up to be like such men and such fathers. May they carry this legacy forth into their own families. May you change the expectation of what it means to be a man in a world that desperately needs to see godly manhood on display.
Thank you to every man in my life who has modeled this and given clear examples of what God has created you to be. You are greatly appreciated and greatly loved.
Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash.