Lately, the news is full of stories about men and the terrible things they've done: men who have beaten their wives, men who have ignored a woman's "no," men who have sacrificed their ethics in the name of greed, men who have beheaded other men...the list of their atrocities is, sadly, too long.
Last night, I had the unfortunate experience of standing in front of two college-age males in line for dinner. I'll spare you the details of their vulgar conversation - did I just age myself? - but safe to say that it all made me physically ill to imagine them interacting with any future daughters. Or sons, for that matter.
And then I started to think about men. I began to lump them into one, general category and mentally list off everything terrible about them...
Except, when I thought about the men in my life, I couldn't do that. Because, in truth, I've been surrounded by so many good, good men. Men who have not pushed me into and have even led me from compromising situations. Men who have challenged me with conversations and questions that have pushed me to be stronger, more confident, and more Christ-like. Men who have defied the stereotypes and let me talk and talk and talk and break down and cry in front of them. Men who didn't let competitiveness get in the way of nourishing my God-given talents and provided me with opportunities to excel in so many areas of my life. Men who have made me feel valued and worthy of love - love for which I didn't have to compromise.
Men who have, quite simply, protected me in a dangerous world.
So, in the midst of everything terrible, I think it's also important to thank the men who are doing it so well. Perhaps I am unique in my experience, but I hope I am not.
To so many of the men in my life: thank you for loving me so well. I think I speak for my my mom, my dad, my brothers, my family, my friends, and my future husband and children when I say that the way you've chosen to exert your manliness has made the world a better, richer, safer place for me, and others, to be a woman.