A few good men

ensign dadsThis blog is intended to celebrate (and laugh at) motherhood, and it’s true that we are all amazing (feel free to replace that with whatever other narcissistic adjective makes you feel good), but I’ve felt inspired to give dads their moment in the spotlight today.

Whenever the general conference issue of the Ensign is published, I love to flip through the pages and look at the pictures.  I don’t know why really, they’ve never seemed extraordinarily inspiring– maybe I’m self-absorbed enough to believe that I’ll actually know some of the people in those photos and be kind of famous by association.  Anyway, the picture above caught my eye.   I looked at it for a minute or so, and it actually brought tears to my eyes.  I’m not a very weepy person, really, but something about it was so endearing to me.  I felt so proud of them (strangers–they all live in Ukraine, so I didn’t date any of them or anything) because they stood there under that picture of the Savior holding little children and just being dads in every right sense of the word.  And in a very Grinch-like way, my heart grew a few sizes in honor of the good fathers out there who are being what God intended them to be.

My husband I were laughing the other night about a music mix I had in college called the Love is False and Men Suck Mix.  I probably don’t have to go into great detail about what kind of mood I was in when I would listen to it, but my dating years taught me that many men were irresponsible, selfish, and pretty undisciplined.  (I’m generalizing… there were also a few nice boys that just happened to be too dumb to fall completely in love with me.)  Even now, with a husband who is a righteous and honorable man, I sometimes find myself losing faith in mankind in general.  I make the mistake of reading the news or watching TV and I start thinking about what a bunch of decadent pigs they are.

I spent time this summer with a dear friend from my college years (and actually a co-creator of that Love is False mix) and we discussed this topic among many other long-lost girlfriend kinds of topics.  She said something to me that changed my attitude.  I’ll paraphrase.  “You know, I think that’s all part of Satan’s plan.  He wants us to look at men like walking [male anatomy].  That destroys the possibility of having meaningful relationships and loving families.  Think of all the shows on TV…. how many of them have male characters that are kind, caring, compassionate or anything resembling righteous?  Just like Satan wants men to see all women in the wrong way, he also wants us women to see men as something less than they were meant to be.”  Okay, I really paraphrased a lot, but that was her basic point and it chastened me.  She was so right.  I’d been suckered into believing a little bit of what Satan wanted me to believe.  And since then, I’ve tried harder to appreciate the divine role of men and give them more credit for the good, even great things they do.

So to the three Ukranian fathers and all the good dads out there who do this:

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and this:

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and this:

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and this:

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and this:

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Thank You!  You make it easy for our hearts to love you and for our children to respect you. God Bless all the good men that are still doing the right things for the right reasons.

“How much more beautiful would be the world and the society in which we live if every father looked upon his children as the most precious of his assets, if he led them by the power of his example in kindness and love, and if in times of stress he blessed them by the authority of the holy priesthood; and if every mother regarded her children as the jewels of her life, as gifts from the God of heaven, who is their Eternal Father, and brought them up with true affection in the wisdom and admonition of the Lord.” — Gordon B. Hinckley

Happy Father’s Day.

(This post was originally published on November 10, 2008.  I posted it again to recreate my lost archives, and in honor of Father’s Day and Matt’s birthday this weekend.  I love you, Matt.)

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16 thoughts on “A few good men

  1. That just made me remember a time when I was dumped (again!) by a guy and I wanted to think all kinds of bad things about him and call him all kinds of bad words, when a quiet thought enter my heart…”He is a child of God and Heavenly Father loves him just as much as He loves you” It made it hard to not forgive him. I got a letter from this guy sometime later (he had tracked me down) and he said that he had been going through a very rough time and he was sorry for the way he treated me and that because I was so forgiving of his shortcomings he was able to make some soul-saving changes in his life. You just never know… Thanks for your words…again!

  2. What a great post… do you mind if I put a link to it on my blog when I get around to a Father’s Day thought this weekend???

    I really love your thoughts and I think that you are so right on about how men are portrayed and how easy it is for us to get caught in that trap of thinking that they are less than they are.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Wonderfully put, Stephanie. I hope you don’t think I’m copy-blogging you, because I am getting ready to post MY salute to the men in my life. Yours is much more beautifully written, of course!

    I think we are so lucky to have that eternal “sons and daughters of God” take on life. Otherwise, it really would be so easy to buy into the garbage.

  4. I’m glad you reposted this. It really is amazing what men are capable of doing and how well they act under so much pressure. Sometimes I find myself thinking that the males are ‘just men,’ but in reality they are so much better than any generalization. 🙂

  5. This was simply incredible, Stephanie. I am very, very blessed indeed to be married to a man whom I not only love, but who I hugely respect because of the way he treats his family and honours his priesthood. Beautifully written.

  6. I would love to compare your Love is False mix tape with my Boys Suck mix, and see how many songs are the same. I came up with the conclusion in my anti-college-dating years that “Boys” really are a waste of time — it’s the “Men” we were after! And there’s a REALLY BIG DIFFERENCE (maturity-wise, etc.) between the two.

    I love your thoughts on everything. I’ve missed blogging for the past few weeks, and I’m so glad yours was the first I decided to visit on my way back!

  7. Thanks for the great thoughts–you inspired me to write about the men in my life. And by the way–as far as me having a mid-life crisis goes, I’m married to Larry’s brother. He is as nice as Larry, even more thoughtful, and almost as funny. I have no need for a mid-life anything! (And I get to drive the new car too!) Gaye says hi…

  8. I love this. It reminded me of a story my mom tells where she was at a Scouting event where the boys and leaders were cooking dinner for the moms, and the women, talking amongst themselves while the boys and men cooked, started complaining about the faults of their husbands and sons. My mom looked around in amazement that none of the women noticed the irony in their choice of conversation topic. My mom and I have also talked about how we hate it when women will shake their heads and in an impatient voice say, “Men!,” condemning the whole gender with one word.

    I’m not sure whether I’d heard that quote from President Hinckley before, and I love it. I tell my children all the time that they are my greatest treasures, and I remind my husband how lucky he is to have a “quiver full” of them.

  9. Ah, I actually shed a few tears in gratitude for my own sweet husband while reading this. He gives men a good name. And I ALWAYS look for people I know in the conference issue of the Ensign. And I’ve found a few over the years!

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