Ken Solin proves that men are capable of great devotion, fidelity, and nurturing.
My son was born when I was a senior in college. My wife was pregnant when we left Europe where I was attending school, so our plans for her to work while I finished college evaporated. I had so many part-time jobs that I occasionally forgot to collect my pay in the confusion.
My wife and I divorced and we argued about custody. She wanted to go back to Europe. I wanted him because I felt in my heart that my son was my life’s mission. I loved him more than I ever imagined loving anyone.
My feelings of fatherhood carried me through the stress and strain of work and parenting. So I began my career and raised an infant simultaneously. I read books about babies, when to move from bottles to food and more, but mostly I just acted out of love.
He’s 44 now and the father of my 7-year old grandson. I frequently tell my son how proud I am of him and that I wish I’d had a dad just like him. He and his son respect each other, and conflict between them is infrequent and civil. Men can be terrific dads.
I started a men’s group twenty years ago, and have emotionally intimate, supportive, unconditional friendships with all the men in the group, and a few outside the group as well. While this was learned behavior, it wasn’t terribly challenging, because the benefits of having supportive friendships with men were obvious. Men can support each other.
I doubt my wife feels I oppress her. I have supported every decision she has ever made, and have consistently encouraged her to follow her dreams. She does the same for me. Our marriage embraces unconditional friendship. Men can be rock solid husbands.
I’m just one man, but I know lots of other guys who are as good or better at fathering, friendship, and relationships with women. The demise of men is a fiction created by a frenzied, hungry media. It insinuates men are dinosaurs, and no longer play a viable role in the culture, along with women. While we’re imperfect, nothing could be further from the truth.
I don’t feel the need to stick up for men beyond telling my own story, because there are enough other men who are on a similar path who agree with me. Television, movies, magazines, and tabloids sell soap by portraying men as incapable fools. Sure, some men fit that categorization, but most don’t.
I suggest we celebrate men for their achievements in raising children, supporting women, and being authentic friends with other men, and offer support and help to those men who still struggle in those arenas. The demise of men is a myth propagated by people whose financial interests, and not the truth, dictate their positions.