Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Case for Men

I am a mom. I am my son's teacher.  I teach him responsibility, work ethic and compassion.  I teach him the value of a dollar, how to put others before himself and how to respect his elders.  But there is one thing I cannot teach my son.  I cannot teach him how to be a man.

We live in a world that has ceased to value men.  They are a throwaway commodity - a necessary evil.  Men are viewed as little more than overgrown children, seeking their own gratification, rather than the providers and protectors that God created them to be.

Over the past couple of weeks, as Sir Knight has battled illness, I have come to realize the true value of a man.  Men provide.  Men protect.  Men leave the home so that their wife can make the home.  Men do the hard, dirty, undesirable jobs so their wives' don't have to.  Men provide an infrastructure of support so that women can tend to the business of family.  Men do the jobs of men so that women can do the jobs of women.

Whooping Cough could have threatened the perfect balance of our family had my husband not been about the business of teaching our son to be a man.  The reality is that it is much easier to do things yourself rather than teaching your children.  Changing the oil in the generator is quick when you are working by yourself, but can be more than a little time consuming when you are teaching your son.  It takes twice the time to troubleshoot an electrical system when your son is working and learning by your side, as you show him how to read a schematic and splice wires.  But, when a crisis arises (and it will) your investment will be handsomely rewarded.

Working on the generator
The guys working together
With my entire family out of commission, I've felt as though the weight of the world has been on my shoulders.  There are meals to be made, a house to keep clean and school to be done.  Bread must be baked, sheets must be changed and sick children attended to.  And the air has begun to have a distinct chill.  Winter is on the way.  Typically, fall is my favorite time of year, but this year, the change of the weather has done nothing but increase my anxiety.  You see, generally we spend the sunny, crisp days of fall sawing and splitting firewood, but this year, my sawyer is bedridden and the length of his convalescence is undetermined.  And even when he is feeling better, his broken ribs will be painful long past the first snow.  I was beginning to panic - and then I remembered - Sir Knight has made it a habit of taking every opportunity to teach Master Hand Grenade the necessary skills of a man.

Learning to saw
Over the past couple of years, Sir Knight has been putting Master Hand Grenade behind the chainsaw.  He began small, teaching him how to start the saw and how to fill the oiler.  He taught him how the saw works and how to sharpen the chain.  He had him take the saw apart to disentangle a piece of baling twine that had gotten sucked in and taught him how to change bars.  Soon, Master Hand Grenade strapped on a pair of saw chaps and helped limb a tree and then took his turn on the log deck.  Little by little, log by log, Master Hand Grenade has become a skilled handler of the chainsaw.

As I watched Master Hand Grenade cut into the first log on the log deck, I realized that he had taken his place among the men.  No longer a little boy, he had become a provider.  He was providing our family with warmth - protecting us from the elements.  And he had become a man because my husband had taught him.  Sir Knight had mentored his son and in that mentoring he had produced a man - a man who will take up the mantle of masculinity and guide the next generation of men.  Sir Knight did what I am incapable of - he raised not just a son, but a man.

The weight of the world is no longer on my shoulders.  In His wisdom, God has provided me with not one man, but two.


  1. Enola, Thank you for seeing the value...from a father and hopefully a man.

  2. What a great tribute to your husband. I am glad to see women such as yourself who still value the men in our lives.

  3. What a great post. I am also blessed to have a husband that is a man. He always takes on the hardest, dirty jobs so I don't have too...but I know he appreciates the fact that I will jump in and help him if needed. Sometimes when I forget to be grateful and am feeling sorry for myself because it seems "a woman's work is never done", I just have to remember I wasn't the one crawling under the house to thaw pipes in the winter or the one digging up the septic line to find out what was wrong with it. I just don't know how women who have husbands who don't know how to do "manly" chores get by.

  4. Thank you for such a powerful post. Hopefully I'll be up to the task of raising up my own son to be a good man. It also reminded me of days out on the wood pile with my Step-Dad many years ago.

  5. Enola,

    I am surrounded by 40 year old male children. Like drones in the bee hive...not much use. However, I fail to see how god(s) have anything to do with it. God is not part of a mature adult's life. God is something one grows out of assuming one is sane.

  6. While I have never posted before I have very much enjoyed your blog.
    Here's why I am posting. I am horrified to see NO SAFETY GEAR on your son. No helmet, goggles nada. Chainsaw accidents are more prevalent that "uncommon diseases".
    A kick back on a knot to the face,arms or legs cause a lot of damage. Severing his femoral artery could easily end in death. Chaps are under $80. helmets similar.
    In a grid down situation do you honestly believe that an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure?
    All the food and ammo and knowledge can't fix accidents.

  7. Anonymous 6:57;
    Oh, I agree completely that safety gear is essential. While my men generally don't wear eye protection unless it is windy (perhaps they should) they ALWAYS wear chaps. Both of the have a pair. If you will notice Master Hand Grenade in the last picture, he is wearing saw chaps. Sir Knight, in the first picture, isn't sawing, we were splitting wood, so there was no need for the chaps.
    You are very right about preventing accidents. Thanks for the reminder.

    Anonymous 6:50;
    I couldn't disagree more! God has become much more of my life (and my husband's) the older we have gotten. We have learned that we are nothing without our creator and have a great desire to be like Him.

    My sanity is firmly in place and I hold it as my greatest honor to bow my knee before my God.


  8. What a nice tribute to real men and raising men instead of grown boys. My dad could fix things and kept us warm in winter with his wood-cutting skills (but also had a college education), so I was quite surprised when I started dating to find that not all boys had been raised to be men. I can remember riding home from school with my roommate, her boyfriend, her 2 brothers, my boyfriend at the time, and a friend of his (5 guys) when the car broke down. My dad fathered 2 daughters, so we had been taught a little about cars. I was frustrated to watch 5 young fellows stand around the hood without a clue because their fathers hadn't taught them. I told the guys what I guessed the problem was based on what my dad had showed me, and my next suggestion was to call my dad! He came & found us, confirmed the problem, and arranged for all 7 of us and the car to get where we were supposed to go. I broke up with that boy later and sought a fellow with "real man" skills! God has blessed me also with a man who protects and provides and takes the dirty jobs (even though he knows I can do them too). I am proud of him as well because he is smart and very literate, enjoys the arts, and can be classy and sophisticated with the best of them, or tear apart a car or hunt game the next day! I am a teacher and I see every day many boys who need fathers who stand up for them and teach them to be men. Thank you for your post!

  9. Glasses - rated Z81+ - should be part of getting DRESSED for anyone living and working as you clearly do. I'm willing to bet that "Sir Knight"-like most of us who were never forced to get used to them - finds them a hassle and thus doesn't wear them. The problem is that his son is now ALSO not learning to use them...

    Light, comfortable, crystal-clear specs can be had for under $5 per pair, shaded lenses about the same.

    Just ask anyone who has lost an eye - as I nearly did - whether they wish they'd worn their glasses!

    A wood-chip or grain of sand launched from a saw can cause loss of an eye. In my case it was a bristle from a wire-wheel on a bench-grinder being operated by someone else as I worked nearby. It was embedded so deeply that it seemed to be a little speck on the surface of my eye! Another half a mm and it wood have been lost inside my eye...

    Worse yet I WAS WEARING GLASSES! - but they lacked side-shields, which is why I only wear wrap-arounds now.

    PLEASE - FORCE THEM TO WEAR EYE-PROTECTION at ALL TIMES! Clear lenses indoors, tinted (with UV protection) out! They won't like it at first, but in time it will become like a seatbelt - they won't feel right without it!

    Eyes cannot be replaced!

  10. Thanks for the beautiful post-I couldn't agree more. I tell my daughters (who are very competent, tough young ladies) never to date boys who are more wimpy than they are. RE: safety equipment-very important but lets not castrate the fellows with our safely concerns. It is a risk getting out of bed in the morning.

  11. I spent a couple weeks wearing a patch because I wasn't wearing goggles. Lesson taken.In my case, it was a grinder,not a chainsaw,but any time you have stuff flying around at high speed,wear googles. No bionic eyes just yet. Get the kind with side screens(from a welding shop-beware the stuff from Harbor Freight)-they don't fog up as bad. Two jobs ago, I used to work on chainsaws once in a while,but never really used them much(small engine repair was part of the job). I would think hearing protection might not be a bad idea.
    I had two wonderful parents and realoly didn't realize it under later. I had a Mom-a real one. And a Dad. A real one. Too many guys think they're a man if they can chug more beer than the idiot next to them.Or something equally stupid.
    A great many of the good times I remember as a child was when Dad was Showing Me How To Do Something-everything from reading maps to changing a spark plug and setting the gap,and everything in between.

  12. Anonymous 6:50

    Perhaps if the 40 year old male children around you took God's Word seriously, they would be the men God tells them to be. Apparently they have no internal motivation to do so. Since it would improve their lives, and the lives of everyone around them, including yours by admission of your frustration with their current behavior, you might wish to reconsider the sanity of it.

    Enola, and everyone

    I am surrounded by men who are men. They are generally amused when I politely insist they teach me how to do things not normally considered womanly skills, but my husband's attitude is that he cannot be present 24/7/365, and therefore I should know how to protect and provide for myself and our children. These things are his jobs when he is here, mine when he is not. And he is seeing to it that his daughters learn these things as well. Neither I nor our daughters will ever be as good at these things as he is, which is one reason they are his responsibilities, but neither will we ever be helpless without him, which state is also his responsibility to prevent.
    Sir Knight has done a fantastic job ensuring your family is also protected and provided for in your situation. It is so encouraging to see your children stepping up in a hard time. Prayers for for all of you.

    Xa Lynn

  13. Doesn't it make you smile when you know your kids can help and if it happens can make it on their own with out you. I always think of the series of books "Left Behind" God forbid if my child is left behind I feel secure that she can survive until the time comes for her to join they rest of us.

  14. Thank you for sharing what I have long believed. It's nice to know there are like minded women in the world. We have four boys and my husband and I have done our best to train them up. One is now on his own and doing well. One is on the cusp of manhood and two are still in the "training program." I hope our daughter can meet a man who was raised by someone like you.

  15. Safety is important but the point of this outstanding article is the value of men. I was a single God-fearing guy looking for a gal with similar tradition values. In my travels along both coasts, these real gals are scarce. In fairness let me say that real men who want to provide and protect are rare too. It is understandable; there is no demand for them.

    I finally moved to the Mountain States and can honestly say there is a world of difference in both men and women here. The American Redoubt is real. And God still reigns here.

  16. What a beautiful tribute to manhood. What an awesome job your husband is doing raising men.

    Praying for a speedy recovery for your family and a mild winter.

  17. I am a man who also provides, but I have been unfortunate in that I have been a throwaway husband two times so far. It's nice to know there are still women out there who value their men. Maybe one day I'll finally meet one somewhere.

    Jeff from Mississippi

  18. Enola,
    I apologize if my post seemed too harsh. It is very difficult to translate emotion electronically.
    I adore your blog.
    However, I must respond about the body mechanics used by Master Hand Grenade- unless this was posed. In a previous post you mentioned an axe to the toe.......
    He needs a more defensive stance and a helmet. I'm only mentioning this as our neighbor's father took a blade to the head. That was nasty.
    Also, dear son's zipper is open on his jacket......

    Splitting wood has its safety issues too. If using an axe keep hips square to the "target" feet apart. Bring axe down with your body, not just arms Should you miss, your blade won't end up in your shin, but glide smoothly between the legs- and giving yourself a heart fibrillation and bit of a sweat but thankfulness to God that you missed!
    Wear those googles!
    I know how you love your children. I think you two are excellent parents that stand upright with integrity.

  19. Love, Love your blog today! So very needed for many young males these days. I realize you live 'off-grid' and may not be aware of a new movie just released 'Courageous'Rated PG... made by the folks from Sherwood Baptist Church who produced the movie 'Fireproo'. My recommendation to your readers...see this movie! A Trailer can be viewed on You Tube. Wonderful encouragement for fathers who want to raise sons to be real men.

  20. I loved your posting. My wife and I are blessed with 5 kids and our 3 boys are men. The oldest help the family as I can no longer work. The youngest with chores, along with the wife and 2 daughters.

    Anyone can father a child, but it takes a man to raise a child. My mom remarried when I was six. Her new husband, who is not my birth father, to me is my Dad, as he gave me his surname and taught me right from wrong.

  21. Thank you for this wonderful post. I agree, society in general has taken the importance of being a man and all that goes with it, and made it immaterial. Children are raised by the government, and we all know what kind of job the government does when it steps outside it's intended purpose.
    I struggled to remain married to a man that thought a paycheck was all he had to contribute to the family. His paycheck was the last thing I needed. Fortunately for my children, when I did remarry, a paycheck wasn't on the list of requirements, but manly skills were along with willingness to work. He has taught my sons what being a man was all about, provided my daughter with a yard stick to measure men by, and been a loving and providing spouse to me and a hands on father to the son we have together. I used to beat myself up for my failed first marriage, but as my oldest son told me not too long ago, if that marriage had not of failed, he would not have had a proper role model for being a man, husband and father. That ended my years of guilt.
    Bless you and yours.

  22. I was reading this as my wife walked by, she saw the title and misread it. She exclaimed" men by the case,one is more than I can handle".

  23. Enola,
    I found your blog while searching for our "dream home", and periodically check back to see how you and your family are doing. Your property is so beautiful and inspiring; however it pales in comparison with your wonderful insightfulness and faith.
    Just wanted you to know that I really appreciate your writings and to thank-you for sharing your thoughts as you do. You truly have a gift.
    God Bless you and yours!

  24. So sorry, Enola, you share your life and your family pictures and many look to find fault. You're a bigger person than me, I don't know if I could deal with it, I would probably just stop. Thank the good Lord for your preserverance! Your husband and son are to be appreciated! Good job raising your children!
    MaryB in GA

  25. Thank you for showing us how men truly are and need/want to be treated.

    Too sadly in our society today men are pictured as incapable, stupid, useless - whether TEEVEE or movies from Hollyweird. That sends a very huge, yet subtle, message not only to women, and men, but especially children. Women are viewed as superior. It is to our shame and great detriment that women have run roughshod over our men.

    Bravo for your article.
    Men need to be uplifted, appreciated, respected and once again, be grateful for, especially by their family. After all, they are the other half of the human race - God's magnificent creation.

  26. Guess I'm a little late to the party here, but - kudos to you for raising your children to be skilled, hardworking and independent. But I don't see why we need to segregate the roles - no reason a woman can't use a chainsaw and a man can't cook (and if that's what they enjoy doing, it's what they should do!)