Man of Steel and Velvet

Several years ago, I attended a family celebration with my wife and four children. At some point, I walked outside to check on the children playing in the spacewalk outside. I was holding my one year old son. Two of the ladies inside the house were watching me and one of them remarked that I was doing such a good job of raising my children. The other lady said that I led
my family with an iron fist inside a velvet glove. Hopefully, that meant that I am trying to combine unyielding firmness covered over with tenderness and loving concern. Almighty God and I both know my successes and failures in this endeavor, but it is a very accurate description of what a Father in the home should be. It is what I am striving for and it is the vision I hope to convey to as many Dads as I can in this forum.
Did God really intend for men to lead? Begin with simple anatomy: men are, in most cases, physically larger and stronger than most women, men have deeper voices and men can cut a more imposing figure in most settings.
This is by design and it is beautiful in its simplicity – leave it to modern man to muck it up and confuse simple issues. The question “Are men and women different?” was the cover story of a major magazine a few years ago. The people of every generation before the 1950’s would scratch their heads in wonderment at such a silly question.
God gives men the gift of masculinity to plant in his heart the desire and the need to lead – and yes, he has a need and desire to lead. It is what fulfills his purpose in life and enables him to live radiantly, illuminated with ambition and a desire to overcome the obstacles in his path. But what intensifies this desire is the quest to enable his wife and children to walk in truth – to be examples of holiness and righteousness in a secular, pagan world. It is a noble mission, a great challenge and men need challenges.
More on this next time – we’ll close with a caveat, a “let the reader beware.”
The temptation when reading material like this is to make the almost automatic assumption that because it is stated that men should lead that women are less in dignity or importance than men. We assume that the visible, leading role is the better or more important role – it is an outgrowth of our superficial, celebrity driven society. Actually, it is very often the hidden, behind the scenes work that is just as important, just as rewarding as the activity out front and in view of the world. Mary of Nazareth proves the point – she was and is the classic “hidden woman” – does anybody think that she was insignificant and not a major player in the drama of our redemption and salvation? And yet the tradition of the Church tells us that we can infer from the very few instances in the scripture in which she speaks that she was a pillar of strength, a source of comfort & support for Our Lord – all behind the scenes.
Something to ponder: does America produce real men anymore?