Today is national 'Men Make Dinner Day', which I didn't even know was a thing. This was apparently created to stem the tide of men who don't know their way around a kitchen. In light of all the sexual abuse and allegations of the Me Too movement, cooking a meal seems way down on the list of things men need to wise up about. Interestingly enough though I think it actually is a great place to start.
The view we have regarding our fellow human beings is shaped and formed when we are young. The lessons we learn as children can shape how we treat one another for the rest of our lives. I remember as a young boy one of the most influential people in my life taught me a very valuable lesson. A group of us were driving with our youth pastor one hot summer day, I was in the passenger front seat and we had the windows down. We drove by a rather attractive woman and I decided it would be a good laugh if I whistled. Without hesitation my youth pastor stopped the car and reversed till the lady was only a few feet from my window. He leaned over towards my side of the car and said to the young lady "Apparently this young man has something he wants to say to you. I'm hoping it's an apology". I apologized as I slunk down in my seat mortified at what just happened. I think it was a perfect and powerful lesson that I never forgot.
I myself was a pastor in some form or another for almost 12 years and as a pastor you get a lot of people who share their hurts with you. I think one of the most disturbing things in my 12 years as a pastor was how many women have been so deeply hurt by men. Too often it is the person they are married to that does the hurting, whether physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse or just downright being a lousy spouse. While the media is exposing famous men who have acted in ways not acceptable, there is still too much unacceptable behaviour that goes unnoticed and unaddressed.
I got married to my wife Lisa when I was 19 years old and it took quite some time for me to grow up. I have apologized to my wife many times for my childish behaviour when I was younger, as I was a lousy spouse. I was off having fun while she raised our daughter, I expected more from her even though I had no expectations for myself, and I failed to be a true partner in marriage and parenting. I owned up to my mistakes and try to do so now regularly. I still even to this day make giant mistakes when it comes to my wife and our relationship but recognizing them and owning them is critical.
I see men my age who are still behaving like I did when I was in my 20's and I just want to holler, grow up man. It's not a matter of being a man, it's a matter of being a decent human being. If you have children, both you and your partner are equally responsible to care, love and raise them. I used to have the twisted and warped view that while I was off at work my wife was at home doing nothing, when in reality she was feeding, educating and caring for our children, doing much of the work around the house and also held a part time job from home. In hindsight, my wife was working harder on any given day than I was at work.
So while some of us guys actually do the majority of the cooking, it's really more of a symbolic day to reflect on not how you are doing as a man, but as a man how are you doing as a human being. If you are a man take a moment and ask yourself today "Am I treating my fellow beings with love, care and compassion or am I a selfish asshole?" If you are a woman reading this I want you to know you deserve to be treated with love, care and compassion. Men have, and still do, have far too much power over women in this world and all of us need to stand up and say no more. Being a man is not a role of entitlement.
A simple test is imagine you have a daughter and she is married to a man just like you. If the thought brings anything but a smile to your face, it's time to change.