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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

To Strong, Sensitive Men

Jun 02, 2022 05:18PM ● By Scott Chase
This month spring officially turns into summer, and thoughts of baseball, the beach and barbecues start taking shape in our minds. June is also when we traditionally honor and remember our fathers and father figures—all those dads, stepdads, grandads, godfathers, uncles and other men of integrity who’ve stepped up and stepped into the role of creating beautiful legacies of love, support, protection and guidance.

 

This, of course, reminds me of my own father. A career navy man, he was steeped in the ways of the “old navy,” yet not old enough to have fought in World War II; he enlisted a couple of years later at the age of 18. A product of the Great Depression, he had few options back then when he set out on his own in Bakersfield, California. But the one thing he did have was moral character, honesty and a sense of pride and duty to his country and, later, his family. He was unflinching in demanding respect, accountability and responsibility from his three boys. Today, at the age of 91, he’s still shaping me and my boys—he’s a force that has now passed through me and somehow seeped into his grandchildren. I know I’m a better adult because he was my rock throughout my childhood. There are no words to describe my gratitude for his presence in my life.

 

In this issue, we will examine those masculine energies and emotions that surround all of us, influencing our families, homes and communities each and every day. We’ll focus on men’s health and wellness and also turn our attention to healing trauma.

 

“The Healing of Modern Man: Men Redefine Their Emotional Power” is an insightful article about tough-guy gender roles and cultural expectations that can elevate men’s stress levels. Increased stress can increase men’s health risks, including their risk of addiction and suicide. Fortunately, thanks to changing social mores and guy-friendly mental-health resources, help and support are more accessible, and more men are taking responsibility for their well-being and stepping up to the plate as strong, sensitive leaders. Don’t miss this great read, beginning on page 30.

 

I was especially moved by “The Gift of an Imperfect Father,” page 24, which addresses the long work of coming to terms with the failings of a flawed parent. Writer Marlaina Donato explains that a shift in perspective can help us realize how our fathers’ weaknesses might have made us more resilient and given us important survival tools, and that examining what they’ve done right and giving credit where it’s due can help us achieve healing and forgiveness.

 

As you’re busy making plans for the summer, take time to celebrate your masculine friends, family members, spouses, partners and children. Don’t forget to let them know you’re grateful for them and the special part they play in shaping your life and our world.

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