Being a middle-aged, white guy, I wonder what young mothers think when I try to interact with them and their children in public. So, I asked my niece what kind of things go through her mind in regard to this topic. Here is her response: "There isn't a whole lot that I expect men to help with when I'm out in public alone with the kids. One of those reasons is because I have played the scenario a few times in my head of what I would do to try to take after someone who takes one of my kids...while I run after him while carrying my other two.
I like it when men hold the door open for the kids and I to all get inside wherever we are going...especially if I have the stroller in tote.
If a man is a real "kid" person and I've never met you, it's okay to say hi and have a very short small talk conversation with my kids, but keep it short and simple and move on. It's different if you're an employee somewhere and I can leave the store with my kids and not worry about him following..again the fear of a kid getting taken.
As for me, I already try not to make eye contact with other men. Small talk is okay if we're sitting watching our kids play at the play area or park. Make sure to tell which kids are yours, and some interaction between them proving it helps, so I know you're not there just scoping out the scene.
If my kids are throwing a fit, it's okay to say something like, "uh oh" or "that doesn't sound like a nice voice" towards the kid with a bad attitude. My kids usually straighten up when they notice a stranger watching their bad attitude. And I appreciate the attitude leaving at that point. Again, be short and simple.
If my kid is walking/running away, look for me, the mom, and go by my gestures. If I'm calm, not saying anything, and have an eye on my kid, I feel in control and I'm testing them to see how far they'll go. If I'm calling for them and looking stressed, get their attention and try to coax them back to me without touching them...i.e. holding a hand/picking them up. I had a lady pick my son up when he was heading a different direction and it totally freaked him out... she was an employee at the mall so I assumed she wouldn't take off with him, but had it been anyone else, I would have been on high alert with adrenaline pumping.
Pretty much, if you want to interact, keep things short and simple. Holding doors open are great...and elevator doors especially so the kids don't get trapped on the elevator and me not on there yet, or vice versa. I don't take the kids on an outting alone unless I know I can handle the time of day and amount of walking, etc. that we'll be doing."I'm grateful for my niece's advice. In short, here are some things she taught me:- Be chivalrous. Open the door and hold the door (elevator door, too) for young mothers and their children.- Don't be alarmed when a child is not standing next to his/her mother. Watch the mother for cues and watch from a distance so that you can help if someone snatches the child.- Say mild comments (at the most) if the child is throwing a fit. Words from someone they don't know may help him/her control him/herself.- Keep things short and simple if you do interact. Don't try to monopolize the mother and/or her children.If you want to follow my niece, here is her youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/godrox
BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
On business trips, I am often in consternation how to treat women, especially on the airplane. I have offered to help women put their luggage in the overhead bin only to be rebuffed. I have seen men jump over each other to help a frail young woman put her luggage in the overhead bin and I wonder "why can't she take care of herself?" Then I ask myself, "Am I honoring and respecting that young lady by letting her struggle on her own?" So, I thought that maybe I could enlist a woman's perspective.
I asked my older sister who spends the majority of her job on the road, flying in airplanes and staying in hotels. Here is her reply to my query (edited slightly with her permission):
"As a woman who travels on business a lot, I pack so that I can handle my own luggage --- always. I do not want to be dependent on anyone else. I don't know the intentions of those around me. And I must be careful giving out personal information to those I sit with. (like where I'm staying when out of town). I almost NEVER give out my business card. Unless I have made a really good connection that seems appropriate (usually with a woman, however -- and usually a connection about spiritual things.)
Regarding helping women with luggage on a plane, I would not assume the woman can't heft it into the overhead. However, if you see her looking around for help, I think that's an invitation to offer assistance. Just simply ask if you can help (with a smile) and accept her response either way. It shouldn't be a personal affront if she declines. But if you've waited until she appears to want help, then do so. Men sometimes help me pull luggage down from the overhead -- probably to keep me from bonking them on the head! I just say thank you and let it go. In an airplane, you're in a "community" that disbands as soon as you get off the plane.
Common courtesy and being polite is the order of the day, in my opinion -- without expectation and without taking a rebuff personally.
Be VERY careful with women traveling alone at hotels, in hotel restaurants, etc. I do not welcome any attempts at conversation in these instances. I am perfectly content to eat alone, and usually take my iPad so as to have something to occupy my time as I wait for the meal. I am not rude; just not welcoming at all. So, I would advise against any contact. (unless she falls on the floor and you help her up, etc....but that's different.)"
From my sister's response, I have gleaned a few things that are appropriate for men who want to respect and honor women:
1. A woman who is traveling is careful about the people around her. Hence, to inquire into a woman's personal information is not wise. It may give the wrong impression. If a woman freely gives that information, she is either not too savvy about the dangers of doing so or is wanting to have a relationship that extends beyond the airplane trip.
2. It's OK to ask if a woman wants help with her luggage, especially if she is telegraphing that she wants assistance. If she says she doesn't want help, there is no need to take it personally and that she thinks I am a dirty old man.
3. Flying together in a plane is a temporary "community." It operates long enough to get to the destination. Outside of the plane, there should rarely be continued contact.
4. There is no need to be overly friendly to women that are traveling alone. But there is also no need to be rude. Just be observant and if she is in obvious distress, then offer assistance (again if she declines help, don't take it personally).
I hope that this advice helps to spur you into thinking what it means to be a gentleman. A gentleman thinks of others and is mannerly.
What are your thoughts? Is there anything you would add about how to treat women in a business setting?
BE A MAN.
I was fortunate to spend three years serving our military in Germany. My time there taught me two important lessons about being a gentleman. One from a German and one from a U.S. Army Colonel.
I was on a German train traveling to a conference. It was a bullet train and I reserved my seat (you have to pay extra to get a reservation). When I got to my seat, a German man, a bit older than me, was sitting in my seat. It didn't matter that there were other seats available, he was in MY seat and I had PAID for that seat. I showed him my ticket and he got up and moved to an empty seat. What I didn't know was that he was sitting with his friends. He moved across the aisle and continued his conversation. I wasn't very friendly, I was upset that this guy could just sit in my seat. But I put in my earphones, listened to my iPod and tried to not act angry. As I sat there, listening to my CHRISTIAN music, God talked to me and said I was wrong. I was full of myself and was not acting like Christ. Finally, after several stops, I got up and went over to the man and apologized to him (in very broken German) and asked him to trade seats with me. In perfect English, he said, "no, it was my fault. It was my pleasure to let you sit there." Now, I felt even more foolish. This man said it was his "pleasure."
On another occasion, I was at a US Military hotel in Seoul, Korea and I was standing at the deli, ordering a sandwich. I noticed someone had taken the previous number and had thrown it on the ground. I thought about picking it up, then I thought, "I didn't put it down there, I'm not picking it up." I ordered my sandwich and sat down. Shortly after that, a Colonel came thru the line. He saw the number that was on the ground and he bent over, picked it up and threw it away and then got back in line. God spoke to me, He said, "so you thought you were too good to pick that up, huh? Look at that Colonel. Even though he is in charge and could have ordered a number of men to pick up that number, he did it himself." Then I was reminded of the story of the Centurion in Matthew 8. This Centurion was commended for his humility and faith.
So these two simple stories, I hope, help to spur you into thinking what it means to be a gentleman. A gentleman thinks of others. He doesn't get to thinking he is better than anyone else. A gentleman doesn't think that he is above doing tasks that don't seem worthy.
Yesterday at Target, when a woman ran over my toe with her shopping cart, I didn't erupt. I told her not to worry about it. When a man asked to sit next to me while I was waiting at the pharmacy for my prescription, I simply stated, "yes, it would be my pleasure."
Are you willing to allow God to make you into a gentleman?
BE A MAN.
When living in Europe, I was on a business trip kilometers away from Karyn, my wife. Several of us went to a restaurant to have a meal. Over time, the group dwindled down to me, a female colleague and two other men. One of the men was dropping hints on the female saying that he wanted to see if her hotel room was bigger than his, to see her dog that she had back in her room, and other "seemingly" innocuous things.
I excused myself for a moment and as I stepped out of the bathroom to head back to the table, the woman was standing there at the door. She told me, "I don't know if you've noticed but "George" is hitting on me. I am really uncomfortable with him doing that. Could you make sure that I am not alone with him?"
She and I had become fairly good friends, we both had similar supervisory positions in the same company and I was kind of mentoring her since she was new to the position. I said to her, "what would you like me to do?" She responded, "when we back to the hotel (we were all staying at the same hotel), could you walk me to my room? That will discourage George and he will get the message I don't want him in my room."
I had no reason to believe that she had designs for me, but being a male with a big ego, I was taken aback for a moment. I had to make a decision. Which is more important at this moment? To respect and honor my female friend's request and risk people thinking I went to her room or choose to not be alone with her and avoid even the appearance of evil?
Do I choose to walk her to her hotel room and risk rumor or do I not so as to avoid any gossip? Do I choose to honor her or protect my reputation? It should be noted that she apparently did not have designs for me, she was wanting me to help send a message to a man who was engaging in sexual innuendo.
So, why the tire? Let me use this tire to illustrate the decision-making model.* Imagine at the center is my desire to please God in all that I do. That is the axle of this model. Now, imagine this tire divided into three parts. Each part representing the three goals of Ironstrikes. All of these goals are admirable and God-honoring. However, I was now faced with my personal integrity or honoring a woman , a choice between two good, yet seemingly conflicting goals.
This tire, separated into three parts, the three goals, is constantly on the move. For the tire to sit still and lay flat on one goal results in an out of balance tire. It will become flat if it doesn't rotate. At times, one goal is hitting the ground, at other times, another goal is in play. So, in following this illustration, no goal has precedence over the other. In making this decision, I had to keep those three goals in mind with full consideration of the axle, pleasing God, as the central basis. Pleasing God is what these goals revolve around.
I told my female friend that I would be glad to walk her back to her hotel room. As we went back to the table to conclude the conversation, I was praying about my decision and asking God for His wisdom. "Lord, did I make the right decision? Is honoring my friend's request more important at this moment than protecting my reputation?" The answer came pretty clearly.
Now, lest you think I'm crazy, no, I didn't hear God's audible voice. I felt a calm, a real peace at this decision and then in my head, God spoke thru my thoughts, in my own voice I heard, "You do what is right and I will protect your reputation."
We dismissed ourselves and I walked her back to her room. It was about a 15-minute walk. We got to the hallway that led to her room and she thanked me and went to her room. I then went to my room and called Karyn letting her know what happened so if she heard any rumors, she would know the truth.
So what do you think? Did I make the right decision? You may be thinking, "Dale sure made a big deal out of nothing." Maybe I did, maybe not. However, I learned how little things can become big things. I'm hoping that my example encourages you to be sensitive to God's leading in your life.
* I am indebted to my parents who devised this decision-making model. I have altered it here to fit this illustration.
BE A MAN.
This is a landmark day. This is the day that the first pope to resign in over 600 years occurs. He officially resigns tonite (Vatican time). By my standards, the Pope is a young man. He is only 85-years-old. The Pope has decided he wants to live the rest of his life only reading and praying. He is quoted as saying, "...I can continue to serve it (the church) with the same dedication and the same love which I have tried to do so until now, but in a way more suitable to my age and to my strength." I'm glad that the Pope has defined what is suitable for someone his age. However, my dad must not have heard that idea of what is "suitable" for his age.
Today, my Father turns the young age of 89. Actually, he turns 89 tomorrow. No, it's today. Truth be told, my Dad doesn't have a birthday this year as he was born in a leap year. He has only had 22 birthdays. And he acts like it. If you look at the picture above, you will see a screen shot from a conversation that I was having with him during "face time" on his iPad. That's right. You read that correctly. He's 89 and he's using "face time." In fact, he and my mom taught me how to use "face time." I was a little computer phobic when it came to this form of communication. However, I have found that our conversations go better (even though the internet can be wonky at times) because he can read my lips. I just wish "face time" had a typed chat feature so that I could type in some words that are unclear because I have a tendency to speak quickly.
Why is he a young 89-year-young? He regularly does puzzles, reads the newspaper daily, keeps up on his investments, tracks how well his invention is doing, follows his sports teams, checks out information on the internet, as well as praying and reading God's Word. In fact, he told me, "I've always enjoyed working but now that I'm retired, I work harder than I ever have and I'm enjoying it more because I'm doing more of what I want to do." He plants and tends his garden, harvests pecans, goes fishing when he wants and finally bought mom a wedding ring after 65+ years of marriage (he is so romantic...).
He's also written a memoir of his life as a pastor. Here's the first entry:
As a student pastor in a country church we had a number of young couples as a part of the congregation, many of them had no church relationship in the past. The young men requested from the church board the privilege of repainting the church sanctuary. So in the evenings and on Saturday, we had painting times. I was working with one of the young men painting in the platform area. He mentioned that he would paint in the area around the bull pit. When I asked him what he was talking about, he pointed to the pulpit and said, "that is what you call it, isn't it?" In thinking about it afterwards, I thought perhaps he wasn't too far off, at least in his own mind. Though he made the statement in ignorance, it is a reminder that the pastor needs to take his responsibility seriously when he is proclaiming the Word from the pulpit. He needs to make sure that it is the Word of God and not just bull from the pit.
What I like about my Dad's lessons is that he can make common, ordinary circumstances into an insight about God, The Bible and/or Holiness. So, at 89-years-young, he's still going strong and not acting suitably. I hope he never does act his age.
Happy Birthday, Dad!
I love you.
BE A MAN.
Can you imagine a husband making a funny joke and then, at the punchline landing a solid jab to his wife’s shoulder? Of course not. It’s out of place (and perhaps domestic abuse). However, in the context of a male friendship such behavior is widely practiced and acceptable. What’s the difference? (I’m about to get profound here…) Simply, women are different then men. Husbands and wives are different. And this is a good thing, something to be celebrated.
However, it is also apparently an evasive truth. One of the most common non-spiritual, basic, counseling I give to a husband is: don’t treat your wife like a guy. Believe it or not, men seem to forget this fact about as often as we leave our dirty socks on the floor. One of the chief areas this is seen is the area of romance. Many men think that they can woo their wives by treating like men. We think that we can just snap our fingers or just jump right to physical intimacy without any regard for emotions.
Guys, this doesn’t work.WE NEED TO KNOW THEM
Instead, what is right and what does work is understanding. Peter reminds husbands to live with their wives in an understanding (or knowledgeable) way (1 Pet. 3.7
). Therefore, it is helpful to know what makes them tick. While I realize this task is virtually impossible to master it is possible to improve upon.
C.J. Mahaney once said something that really stuck with me, in reference to marital romance, “Before you touch her body, touch her heart and mind.”
What is he saying? He is saying, you better not treat her like a guy! She is different. Therefore, if you know your wife, if you understand your wife, then you have got to do and say things that truly reach her heart.
Here are some suggestions.THE KITCHEN SINK IS A PRETTY ROMANTIC PLACE
One of the ways husbands can do this is through service. I truly believe that some of the best romance in a marriage can happen at the kitchen sink. Instead of sitting around like a piece of furniture when you get home from work, husbands can go to the sink and help with the dishes or cleaning in the kitchen. As you are doing this you can talk about the day and serve by cleaning. Here you are entering into your wife’s world, listening, learning, and helping.FACE TO FACE TIME IS INVALUABLE
Another way to learn your wife is to actually sit down and talk to her. And, talking while walking with your back turned or while checking the football score doesn’t count. I’m talking about eye to eye talking.
I should also stipulate that it is not always a good idea to talk all about yourself here. Remember you are trying to serve and learn your wife, therefore, listening and learning are good things to do. (Also be sensitive to your wife who loves you and wants to hear about you. Don’t be cryptic, nondescript, overly negative or prideful. Serve her by talking thoughtfully.)
One of the most treasured times in our evenings are when I get to sit and talk with Christie. When I get to hear her talk about her day and the various things the kids did. I am reminded of her love and sacrifice for them and she is reminded of my love for her and the children. This is a good and valuable time.DATING THAT ENCOURAGES COMMUNICATION
Another way to learn is to go on dates with your wife. This is pretty obvious. However, a lot of guys take short cuts here. Too many guys are not thoughtful enough here. Going to movies, games, or double dates are fun but they don’t always deliver the level of communication and emotional intimacy that you may be after. If this is the extant of the dating, over the long haul, I don’t think it is going to really help the bottom line. Again, it works great for guys to hang out with one another but marriage requires a bit more thoughtful and intentional work.BOTTOM LINE IS BEING THOUGHTFULLY INTENTIONAL
The bottom-line for guys is that we have got to be intentional in the romancing of our wives. We cannot become complacent or lazy. We cannot plateau or go backwards. It’s not an option.
One suggestion I have in addition to the above is to ask your wife how you are doing. Does she think you treat her like a guy? Does she think she is the most important person in the world to you? Does she feel like you know her? How does she rate your ability to romance her?
Listen, I don’t have this stuff all figured out. Trust me, these questions convict me too. But I know that my wife is worth it and I want her to feel and know she is loved. I trust many of you husbands can relate. Therefore, takes some time to think, chew on it, and then get to work. And if it’s helpful maybe you can punch me in the shoulder next time we bump into each other.This post was written by Erik Raymond. You can find the original post with comments here: http://www.ordinarypastor.com/?p=10596BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.Peter is very clear here. As husbands we are to:1. Be considerate as we live with our wife
- Do you put up roadblocks to her happiness and to her success? Being considerate is thinking about how to make her life better and easier. Being considerate is acting upon those thoughts. Consideration is asking, "can I do something for you?" and "is there something you need done?" Consideration is trying to anticipate her needs and doing them before she asks. 2. Treat our wife with respect
- Being respectful is treating her like she is the most important person in the world. Having the niceties that a gentleman displays: Saying please, thank you, excuse me, etc. To respect her is to honor her. Do you dishonor her with your actions? Do you take her for granted? Do you tell your children how wonderful she is and that they need to respect her like you do? Are you brave enough to challenge your children to treat her like you do?3. Remember that she is an heir of the gracious gift of life
- Most importantly, she is a child of God. The Maker of the Universe, the Creator, has made her uniquely to serve His purposes. Do you treat her like a Christian sister? Do you encourage her spiritual growth? Do you encourage her to spend time with other godly women? Do you offer to take care of your children so that she can have some alone time with God?"Christian husbands and wives share a common experience of grace and a common destiny of salvation. A husband must honor his wife since she, as much as he, has access to God's grace in Christ. In addition, since husbands and wives are partners together in grace, a husband's relationship with God will be affected for good or ill by his relationship with his wife. When husbands treat their wives with consideration and honor, they are true to the nature of grace. They are acting as God's people, and thus their relationship with God may be deepened through prayer (p. 1193)."Peter is very clear here: If you don't honor your wife, your prayers will be hinderedBE HOLY.
BE A MAN.
I was fortunate to spend some alone time with my parents for a couple of days before our most recent family reunion started. Even though my Dad is hard of hearing, and is difficult to communicate with, at 89 years of age, he is still teaching me about life.
While driving together, he told me about the financial decisions that he had recently made and how thru his acumen, he has been able to also sell and buy a few vehicles for a profit. One car he sold because he was sideswiped by a semi-truck. In the middle of the conversation, he said, "God is really good to us. We could have been killed by that truck. If I had been a second slower we might not be here. Also, by being sensitive to God's leading in the selling and buying of the vehicles, everyone got a fair deal."
The next morning, we were trimming the pecan tree that was in the back. He had been waiting for me to visit so that he could get this job done. The tree had overgrown the house and was hanging into the neighbor's yard. We worked steadily for a couple of hours, hardly talking to each other. Yet, there is something about a father and a son working together that builds upon intimacy. We paused a couple of times to sit down and drink some water together (it was in 90 degree sunny weather). We didn't talk about much, mostly the tree and how the squirrels steal the pecans and how he got a new BB gun so that he could scare them away.
The third thing he taught me was that his love for God is still alive and vibrant after all these years. I love to hear my Dad pray. He doesn't use a lot of flowery words or Elizabethan English. He usually doesn't pray very long (however, I have been privy to some of the times when I heard him and my Mom pray for extended periods of time). Yet, almost every prayer recognizes God's authority, our dependence on Him and a sincere thankfulness for God's provision.
So, you may be reading this and think, "wow, I haven't told my Dad recently about how much I appreciate his influence in my life."
If that is you, let him know.
Or you may be thinking, "I wish my Dad was like that."
If that is you, rise to the challenge and be that kind of Dad for your kids.
If you don't have kids, find a single mother of a young boy in your church and invest your life into his spiritual, emotional, physical growth.
BE A MAN.
Men need to be accepted by men. A woman's acceptance is wonderful and fulfilling. However, if a man does not have the acceptance of other men, he does not feel like a real man.
This is the very reason why accountability groups can be so vital. The true intimacy of friendship and acceptance actually heals the wounds so that the false intimacy of porn
is no longer needed as a pain-killing medication. The true intimacy of friendship takes the place of mind-numbing substances like alcohol and drugs
. The true intimacy of friendship pushes you to know God better.
Men know men. Puffing your chest out and beating it to draw attention to how tough you are or how "manly" you are doesn't set well with men. Men are not impressed with self-love. Men are impressed with affirmation, honesty, truthfulness, and leadership.
Men need godly principles
upon which to stand. Rejecting passivity, accepting responsibility and leading courageously are principles that lead to lasting relationships with our Savior, with each other, and with our community.
Even more important, men need to be accepted and affirmed by God,
the Creator of men. He made you the way that you are complete with your foibles and strengths. He is the one that made you with your desire for intimacy. No man is an island, no man is a rock, neither is he the walrus.
As we begin our Ironstrikes group, know that real men want to get together with other men. They want to gain strength from each other, they want to let down their defenses and show their Achilles' Heel. Real men join arm in arm together to bring the kingdom of God
to their churches, to their families and to their communities.
Our organizational meeting will be starting soon, setting the second Saturday of each month as a time to get together. We will be meeting on July 14th at the R.G.Holland Memorial Park
in Fishers, IN at the shelter behind the children's play area. We will start at 0830 and end before 1000.
Jesus just wants to hang out with you and share with you how to be like Him, our example of a real man. Will you join HIM?BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
When I first started this blog, I had an entry that precedes this present entry. That one is to be read in conjunction with this one. Click here to read that entry.
After I posted the other entry, a Lt Colonel friend of mine responded about my impressions about the Colonel picking up a piece of trash. My friend said, "in God's eyes, a Colonel has no more value than any one else. A private is just as valuable as the Colonel. Remember that military folks have ingrained in them that they should pick up garbage!"
His statement made me think of how God desires immediate obedience. When I told that to my friend, he replied, "Wouldn't it be great (santification does it
) to be so in tune with the Holy Spirit that we would do the "right thing" not because it is a challenge, but simply because it is ingrained within us? " When he said that, someone popped into my mind.
I am thinking of someone who comes from America's greatest generation.
Actually, he's a tad bit young to fit into that generation; however, he embodies many of those qualities. Better yet, he embodies the quality of "immediate obedience." Since this is Memorial Day, we are to remember those who have fought for our country to retain our freedoms.
If you look at that picture above, you will see my father-in-law. When I think of a soldier, I think of this picture. Then I think of the gentleman that he is and of the example he has provided for me over the last 28 years of knowing him. I am a much better man because of his willingness to be "immediately obedient" to God's working thru him.
So today, this Memorial Day, take the time to honor someone who has taken the time to show you what being a real man is like, being a gentleman's gentleman. Let him know now before you don't have a chance to tell him. Tell him that he is your inspiration.
Thanks, Dad! (yes, he let's me call him that)BE HOLY.BE A MAN.