(excerpt from Maid Arise! Chapter 5)
Today, our world seems deficient of Christ-like men. Even Christian circles are lacking godly young men.We could blame men for this problem, but we must admit, we as young women are not encouraging them toward such a goal.
The American culture (and most of the World's) mocks manliness, chivalry, responsibility and strength in men. Not only are they ridiculed for their godliness, but they are encouraged to be effeminate and weak.
Only a few months ago, my mom and I were shopping last minute for my brother Jeremy’s birthday. We happened to pass by the “Barbie” aisle and mom saw in the corner of her eye a “Ken”. “Ewe! Look at this Ken!” We walked over and were thoroughly disgusted. There stood Ken with hands on hips, his long styled hair slightly curled in towards his face, wearing a pink plaid shirt. He was the very epitome of our culture’s effeminate man. Society presents effeminate men in many ways. The heroes in movies, celebrity musicians, television stars, teen magazine models, fiction book characters, T-shirt graphics, and apparently in children’s playthings.
Feminism has taken hold of girl’s hearts (in Christian homes as well) and women act resentful toward real men. We are taught by society that leaders, or patriarchs, are tyrannical control freaks that beat women into slavery, destroying her “unique spirit”…in essence: monsters. In truth, we were created to be a helper of men, and right now, more than ever they need our encouragement to be men.
Of course men are responsible for themselves, and I’m not advocating the “hen peck syndrome”, where women belittle men, ranting that men must rise from their stupor and quit being 'sorry good for nothings'! I am talking about treating our brothers and brothers in Christ respectfully as men of God. Showing our admiration when our brothers act godly; our society already pulls them down; they don’t need us to.
The Lord expects a lot from our brothers and brothers in Christ. God would have mature and godly leaders of homes who protect and provide for their families. This is a noble calling.How do our brothers perceive masculinity? Is their view aided or hindered by us? Do we see our brother's opinions as unimportant? Do we treat him like a child? Yes, I’m talking about younger brothers, too. Our culture encourages and teaches a “Me first” attitude in siblings by sowing seeds of sin in our hearts through the movies, literature, and other media outlets. It is another way to tear down the family. When this attitude gains a foothold in our hearts, it leaves very little room for Christ to work in us.
We can build our brothers up, or tear them down. We can encourage them, or turn them away. For many of us, our brothers are the men in our lives, and we are given the opportunity (much to the chagrin of some) to practice on them as we learn to support our future husbands.
I told my girls during our Girls for Christ Class: Ask yourself before you do anything to or for your brothers: Does this build them up? Personally I have decided not to say or do anything that is not an encouragement to my brothers. Easier said than done. Is smacking them playfully encouraging them to be chivalrous? Convicting!
We have an incredible influence over our brothers in Christ! We cannot take this lightly. This includes the way we tease. We must remain ladylike, pure (in action and how we are perceived), discreet. This leads to accepting their chivalrous actions. When they open the door we should cheerfully be thankful and accept it. Or when they offer their hat or coat, or when they offer their place in line. This is needful to encourage chivalry. We don't want to make it awkward for them. We don't want to tease them about it either, for the next time, they will (teasingly) not serve you.
We girls, in our Girls for Christ class, took up the challenge to show our brothers love. We were kind no matter what, we were alert so we could cheerfully help them when the opportunity arose. We tried to be considerate of their feelings. We tried to show love by little acts of service and notes. We understood that love does not expect anything in return, not even a thank you. And we were blessed by the results. What wondrous opportunities we have to serve and “practice on” our brothers! And if we do not have brothers this can be applied to our Dads.
This can mean being supportive in big things, such as his choice in his future career…but I’m also talking about the little things too.
I’m the eldest out of seven. I used to love being in the spotlight, I loved talking, and I loved telling my siblings what to do. When I was young and I’d play with my dolls, I would set the plot, be the main characters and “let” Chris be one doll. Some favorite stories of my parents reveal some of my forward personality.
Once we went to a Renaissance Fair when Chris was about three and I was four. Our family wanted to see some jousting and sword fighting in the ring. Apparently, the knights would allow the boys to pick a sword and come and “fight a knight”. They tried to get Chris to join in but he was too shy. But not me! I grabbed the sword and happily “fought” the knight. :)
Then there's the home video of me ripping open Chris' birthday presents on his 6th birthday. And the story, when I was about 5, how I came up during a church singing special and stole the microphone so I could sing too.
I was continually embarrassed that Chris and Tim seemed so shy and hardly said anything when guests were over. So… I did all the talking.
When I was a little older and Chris, Tim, Faith and I started singing as a group, I picked the songs, the key, and who did the harmony…etc. I had the idea that no one wanted or was going to do it, so I took naturally to the part, my personality being a bossy one.
Then I was convicted, much later, that I was supposed to be treating my brothers like knights in training. They were supposed to be my protectors…one day being leaders and heads of homes. I stopped talking so much. And (amazingly!) Chris began speaking up for himself. Tim also became more social.
One day I told Chris I thought he should do the harmony for the special at church (instead of me). He seemed to have a natural knack for it. To this day I am usually melody since Chris does so well at harmony, and his voice is suited for it. Then he started making suggestions as to which songs he thought would be a good choice. I supported him by agreeing.
Today he does most of the arranging of harmonies and picks a majority of the songs we will sing, and I can smile and say that it has been a blessing leaning on him at nervous moments. I look to him when I forget my line and his steadiness always calms me when we are in front of people to sing.
This too, is a “little” thing, but it makes a world of difference in our relationships with our siblings, and I also believe encourages brothers to be men. Not only that...but Chris has pursued street preaching. His first time He ever went out I was there to support him. He looked at me and gave me a knowing smile. He was once that shy boy that wouldn't talk. I was now the one feeling inadequate. I smiled back. I knew he could do it. I prayed for him and laughed to myself. Maybe my stepping back was actually a help in even this.
This is a “little” thing, but it makes a world of difference in our relationships with our siblings, and I also believe encourages brothers to be men.