Saturday, April 04, 2009

Fatherhood - What is it to be a Man?

I went to the Priesthood session of general conference tonight, with my father. It was a very powerful evening, and especially since I got to share it with family. Some people criticize us for having meetings that separate the men from the women, but there's great strength and unity in meeting with and sharing a spiritual time with hundreds of other guys, all of whom are striving to make a better life for their families.

One of the speakers tonight talked about the nature of the priesthood and about how the covenant of the priesthood was basically one of service. It got me to thinking about what it means to be be a man in today's world.

You look at popular culture, and there are lots of conflicting and confusing opinions of what "being a man" and being a "good man" really are. There's the tough guy, the loner, the ladies' man, the intellectual, the powerful man-in-charge. None of those seem to "get it" for me. Yet I see examples all around of people trying desperately to fit into one or more of those molds.

I'm finally beginning to see that, really, the key element of being a good man, truly the essence of Christian masculinity, is pretty simple, really: It's all about taking care of other people's needs above your own.

If that means you go to work daily to a job that's miserable because it keeps your family fed, you do it. if it means driving your kid for a late-night, three-hour wait in an ER because he needs a lung X-ray, you do it. If it means that you do something special for your kids instead of sleeping in on a Saturday, you do it. If it means interrupting your own time to go next door and give a sick neighbor a blessing, or to help someone move, you do it. You take care of the kids for a night, so your wife gets a much-needed break.

And somewhere in it all, you still manage to find a little time to blog, to cook in your dutch ovens , play a little MTG , or write a song or two .

That's all that stepping up and taking responsibility is, really.

Mark Hansen


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