How to be a real man in 2013

One of the most thoughtful gifts I got from my in-laws this holiday season was a simple but wonderful book called Dad Rules, by a fellow named Treion Muller. It’s a collection of parenting tips that are as basic as they are powerful, and although it’s as cuddly at times as any self-help book of its kind, it’s not afraid to be blunt.

Take Rule 51, “Be a Real Man,” as an example:

“Real men provide, support, love, and cry. They praise, comfort, sacrifice, are patient, and stand for something. Above all, real men revere womanhood and treat women with respect.

“A real man is far from what the entertainment world claims a real man is. If you are looking to the artificial world of movies and television for the characteristics of a good dad, you will be generally disappointed. While there may be a few exceptions, most father figures in showbiz are not a great representation of what dads should do or say.”

Sure, these points might seem obvious, but can’t we say the same for any fundamental truth about masculinity, let alone fatherhood? Didn’t we learn time and again in 2012 that there are still too many men who are to intimidated by women to rise to these basic demands? Isn’t it great that the White Ribbon Campaign, which recently commemorated twenty years of fighting men’s violence against women, is now taking the bold and vital step of hitting back against the backlash?

And above all, isn’t this a great set of resolutions for the year ahead? I think it is, and I hope a lot of my fellow men out there, whether or not they’re also fathers, are up for the challenge of adopting them. After all, it is a challenge, easier said than done, and we’ll need each other’s support from time to time if we want to rise to it.

By the way, did I tell you about the White Ribbon anniversary celebration? I didn’t? Well, watch for a post about that in the new year, because wow, what a night!

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