Today is the feast day of Joseph The Worker and I wanted to say a little something about the dignity of men.
I am very lucky; I have a wonderful husband. The week before we got married we had our rehearsal and then a barbecue at my parents house. I don't get on that well with one of my brothers because of our opposing views on faith (please pray for us) and he made the comment "If you two get divorced you know we're going to keep Toby don't you?"
I was just about to get all uppity when I though "You've got a point, I'd keep him too."
Since we've adopted our little girl I often complain. It's a big change. Being a SAHM is hard. There are benefits to it over working, but believe me when I say it's certainly not easier. Nevertheless, I have had the full support of my husband each step of the way.
I don't mean that he likes the 'little wifey' at home. When he's come home, far too often, to my complaints and distress he's cooked dinner, he plays with our darling daughter and comforts me. It's embarrassing to write this. You see, I told you I'd take him in a divorce hearing.
There are times when I get a bee in my bonnett about things. I work myself up into a fury over the most inconsequnetial things like he's left his coat lying on the back of chair in a room that I've just cleaned. If you knew what was being said in my head at those times! But then I think about what he does and I'm ashamed.
So often he comes home and talks about how much he misses us. He gives me the space to raise our daughter and takes on the financial burden. I genuinely think he and Jospeh would meet in a heavenly tavern and share a cordial pint.
We've forgotten about how wonderful men are.
I don't mean in the way those awful adverts depict men nowadays, I'm thinking of the Diet Coke ads and those like them; genuinely if it's demeaning for women it's demeaning for men.
No I mean how men can be self-sacrificing and stoic. How they support you when you're days gone wrong.
The difficulty with forgetting this and painting men as the enemy is that we already diminish the next generation of boys. When I was teaching I was involved in cross curricular work involving bottom set group to encourage attainment. Bottom set groups are predominantly male and working class. Girls have outstripped boys academically for years. What was presented to these boys to intice them to learn more? Herstory. A focus on women throughout the centuries and how they'd been unjustly treated. I'm not joking.
Why is this so unjust?
|What do you mean I'm a misogynist?|
Following a stilling exercise all of the class were meant to design a shield showing who they wanted to be. All the boys were busy drawing symbols to represent racing car drivers, footballers etc.
One boy spoke to me, he was a very quiet, modest sort of boy. He could't think of what to draw. I asked him "What do you want to be?". He replied "Nothing really. I just wanted to do the normal stuff. Get married, have a family and look after them. You know, make sure we have a nice house, things like that." I spoke about the fact that we used to call that a breadwinner. He was so excited, there was a name for what he wanted to be. His simple desires weren't so rediculous after all.
What I hadn't noticed as we were speaking was that the room had gone quiet. Gradually, hand by hand, each boy in the room asked for a fresh piece of paper. When I asked why I was told they wanted to start again.
I was left with the overwhelming feeling that we had removed their dignity as men of the future, and in this process we hadn't added to the dignity of women at all.
Saint Joseph, guardian of Jesus and chaste husband of Mary, you passed your life in loving fulfillment of duty. You supported the holy family of Nazareth with the work of your hands. Kindly protect those who trustingly come to you. You know their aspirations, their hardships, their hopes. They look to you because they know you will understand and protect them. You too knew trial, labor and weariness. But amid the worries of material life, your soul was full of deep peace and sang out in true joy through intimacy with God's Son entrusted to you and with Mary, his tender Mother. Assure those you protect that they do not labor alone. Teach them to find Jesus near them and to watch over Him faithfully as you have done. Amen.