Lately there has been an upsurge in the news about terrible men. A public sports figure was caught on camera punching his pregnant girlfriend in the face and knocking her unconscious. Another cruelly abused his child and called what he did “discipline.” News stories are full of men we should fear.
Yet there are probably far greater numbers of wonderful men in the world than terrible ones. I see men in my psychiatric practice, many who come to see me seeking guidance on how they can be better husbands and fathers. There are countless great men in the world. They are terrific husbands. They are amazing fathers. They are caring friends.
How can we remind the good men that we notice? And show our sons which examples we want them to follow? Perhaps we need to acknowledge good men with warm hugs and thank you’s and show them we’re paying attention when they do the right thing.
So for all the terrific men out there, thank you for being strong, patient, humble, and loving.
Ways to Appreciate Gentleness in Men
1. Hug your dad, brother, husband, or son. Everyone enjoys a nice warm hug and it’s one of the simplest ways you can show your appreciation for the guys in your life.
2. Thank him for everything he does. Many men contribute to families and relationships quietly day after day. They do a lot of heavy lifting in families to keep things running smoothly. Stop and say “Thanks” to the men who give in your life.
3. Draw him a picture or send them a text that says, “I love you.” Don’t shy away from expressing your love for the men in your life. They may not ask, but men need to hear they are loved too!
4. Don’t be afraid to paint dad’s toenails. Every great dad of a little girl lets his daughter paint his toenails when she’s small. Why not, right? Men can be good sports about getting out of traditional gender roles and playing along. Give them a chance. They may be glad to.
5. Treat him like he’s special. Sure it’s Mom who gets breakfast in bed on mother’s day, but why not Dad too? Guys may want to be pampered now and then. Tell dad to put his feet up and let someone take care of him.
6. Cook together. Some households assign all kitchen duty to one person. But it can be fun to spend time together cooking and even cleaning up. If he’s the chef, offer to assist. If he doesn’t know his way around a recipe, welcome him in for a lesson.
7. Ask him to go out for a walk or a bike ride. Spending time together in nature is good for the soul. You can stay connected when by getting outdoors together. Unplug and go out for a bit of fresh air.
8. Let him know all his hard work and sacrifices are noticed. Does your husband work a side job to save for family vacations? Does Dad sacrifice the umbrella so kids can stay dry? Let him know you are grateful when he puts the family before his individual needs.
9. Let dad take on any job mom can. Stop being amazed when an Internet Daddy braids hair. Assuming men can’t care for children pushes them away so they might not participate. Treat men like women’s equals in all things, because they are.
10. Let women take on traditional men’s roles as well. Women can change flat tires, throw baseballs, and read maps just like men. Pigeonholing men and women creates a barrier between to sexes. Erase the stereotypes.