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Loving your Wife (or Husband’s) Quirks.

One of my many quirks – my Old Captain Viking Pirate persona

After almost twenty years of being together and over seventeen years of marriage, I’ve discovered many things about what I cherish about our relationship. One of the many things that I love is my wife’s quirks. Habits that are unique to her. Its funny, but in the same manner, her most endearing traits can be (at times) my greatest frustration.

You see, Cathy is a spreadsheet and ‘to-do list’ individual who is World-Class at being a senior Financial Advisor – precise, exacting,  not some of the time … all the time. Me, on the other hand am a risk-taking, follow-your-heart kind of a person, an entrepreneur – impulsive, expressive. Kind of like a Pirate Captain.

Another quirk of mine …. my love of the sea –  the old Captain Viking Pirate Muscle Monk

Some things in life come to you quickly and some comes slow, with time and patience. It has taken me a little while to realize that many of the fussy, overly meticulous things that Cathy does are actually acts of love for me. Her attention to detail is amazing. I couldn’t have represented Australia at two successive World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, two years in a row, placing in the Top 5 in the World without her. Without her attention to detail and skill for accuracy and completeness.

In our day-to-day life, her quirks just makes life more efficient and effective and therefore more enjoyable.

For example, when I go out for grocery shopping I don’t usually make a list (I have tried making them) and I actually like trying ‘new’ things and enjoy the experience of shopping. Cathy on the other hand, prepares a list, which I don’t strictly follow. Usually. But, the point I am trying to make is that she takes the time to do the list and she does this with love.

My quirk of love for great design in – vintage cars, watches … etc

That is a quirk of hers that is fantastic but is also frustrating.

I’m sure she would say that I have quite a few quirks of my own. Things like making sure that the locks on the door is checked when I leave the home, to ensure that my wife and children are safe. She could probably write many other quirks that would most probably be embarrassing because it would make me appear very vulnerable and naked.

But not to her.

These are quirks that she has allowed me to do for all these years that I have know her. Simply because she loves me. I’m sure you could look at your quirks that your wife or husband has allowed you to get away with too.

What a wife. What a best female friend. What a woman. What a human being.

You see, my wife loves making lists of almost every thing. I don’t. That is ok. That is the “yin and yang’’ of our relationship. That is what the balance is of our ‘69’ and has contributed to the success of our almost twenty year relationship so far.

One of my quirks … walking around places with very little clothes on .. ha ha ha !!
Here I am Working out in my gym during a photo shoot

The very quirk of mine of not living by written lists is very obvious. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have them. You see, I just keep the most important lists in my head …. My heart. And I live by them.

From my perspective, the most important thing in my eyes and view of life is that … even though I am guilty of going through life without making lists, I know and she knows that … SHE is on my list of Life.

She is and always has been on my List since the first day I met her.

Everything I have ever done and everything she has ever done and wants to do, has made my (unwritten) but what I call my ‘heart list’. It may not be visible and tangible as the myriad of lists that she makes and lives by (her quirk) but the list (my heart list) is there. It is present, always. Unseen to others, but seen by me … and demonstrated in my actions and words.

That is part of what makes each of us, who we are. We are ONE but we are Separate. We are a union but we are individuals. With and without lists, we have found a way. It is neither the Right way or the Wrong Way.

It is just WAY.

OUR WAY.

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – New York, USA.
Standing with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion.
Me – 4th placed in the world
Competitor beside me – 1st place and World champion
Right: My Team Partner and wife – Cathy. (She has had to live with my penchant to pose at every and any opportunity I have for almost 20 years)

I love her quirks. Always have, always will.

I hope she loves mine too. I know she does. We wouldn’t be together still, after all these years otherwise.

We wouldn’t have done it any other way.

I thank her for tolerating my quirks all these years. Bring on the next twenty years, I say.

That is my wife, my Cathy for you.

Loving my quirks and weirdness all these years.

Even the recently appearing … character … The old Captain Viking Pirate … ha ha ha !!!

 

Cheers & ahoy!!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & spouse’s loving their partner’s quirks.

My quirk to pose everywhere and anywhere

one of my many quirks – my penchant for never sacrificing form over weight in the gym & practising safe exercise technique all the time. Not some of the time.

Doing and being is essential to muscle building success for your health and muscle goals.
Connect the two. Make them one.
Vv.
Another quirk of mine : my need to teach and mentor and help, help people, help themselves find their best selves.

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Substitute Parents.

The old Captain Viking Pirate & his Gritty Warrior Viking Pirate son … enjoying some ‘Father-son” experience.
These moments get etched into the memory bank of great experiences.
Build these up.

What’s on my mind right now?

Kids and being a parent.

Come into my head as I think and type to you my thoughts … (my typing speed is very, very fast … and I don’t look at the keys on the keyboard and type with very high accuracy … anyway)

What does it mean to ‘love’ your kids?

We all have our own definitions of this word and area of love. Good. I think loving your kids, means, in part, that you put them ahead of other concerns in your life (at appropriate phases of life – different for a man and a woman).

You see, what I have seen and observed (being in the gym talking to thousands of parents over the years … and actually owning a gym for 7) … what I have seen is that too many parents are caught up in getting ahead in their careers or that promotion. Or better still … buying a bigger house or playing golf every weekend or buying that expensive car.

I find that they devoted so much energy to those things that they failed to free up the time necessary to really listen to their kids and just ‘be’ with them. Not to be with them when you schedule in to make ‘quality time‘ with them in your busy diary …. no, just to be with them.

It’s no wonder kids are so angry. Their parents aren’t giving them the love and attention they deserve.

I believe if kids don’t see their parents making certain sacrifices in order to work at being good parents, or if they already tried to talk to their parents and have been shut up by them, then they aren’t going to keep trying. They’ll either seek out another adult (as substitute parents) who will listen to them or they will buy into whatever youth culture is telling them to do.

Note: don’t “palm off parental responsibility “ to so-called “coaches” in sport clinics, games clinics etc. not everyone wants to and can be a top sportsman/woman. That is a fact of life. One of the mum’s at Zachary’s Athletics club said to me in our initial meeting that she joined her son in the athletics club to learn how to be confident. She did this because she was told that that was what the ‘other parents’ were doing.

I said that was a misperception.

I told her that the best place to learn confidence and integrity and honesty and care and compassion is in the home. From her, the kid’s parent. Not at some substitute parental course (that was over-and above the skill level of the young coaches employed to teach sport skills … not life skills. They were not qualified Life Coaches, most hadn’t experienced much life yet!).

Give him the scaffolding in your son’s life to help him, help himself build & live a life of significance. With a foundation of good etiquette/manners.

You don’t learn self-confidence and have a healthy self-esteem from school or taking part in sport. You learn confidence and all the intangible traits of a well-adjusted citizen in the home. In a loving home with parents making themselves available. That is where I learned my confidence from … confidence large enough to be the BEST in my sport and compete against the best in the World at two World Natural Bodybuilding Championships. I didn’t learn this off substitute parents. I learned it off family, very close family. I learned how to be a Champion from Champions in my family, and guidance from some very good teachers.

Parents continuously not ‘being there’ for their children when necessary is one of the reasons the rate of sexually transmitted diseases – and the rate of teen pregnancy – is very high (and still rising).

Kids are not being loved by their parents (because parents make selfish choices & employers/organisations that don’t support flexible working ideas) …. so these kids accept a cheap substitute. To these kids (to many kids and this has been happening for generations) … it’s better to accept a substitute than to face the hurt of NOT receiving love from their parents.

If you have kids … make the RIGHT choice. For them, for you … and your future relationship with them.

In the years running my gym I have helped many teenage kids (where parents have tried everything) get back on their Life-Track. I have seen “A” students end up with the wrong crowd and end up in jail. I have seen delinquent students and failing students turn their lives around and are now successful business people.

Learning and absorbing our habits every single day of their initial phase of their lives is what our young Princes do.
Teach them well.

I have helped hundreds of kids, help themselves find their best /better selves. I have loved them and gave them that substitute love they never got from their parents. Simply because I cared.

I love mathematics … and I sum it up this way:

Less love and time given to your children in their young years (before 10) …. EQUALS ===> more time spent getting them out of trouble in their teenage years. There is an inverse relationship.

It costs parents more in time, money and heartache and pain in future years.

Make time NOW … before it is too late.

Don’t make the mistake many (previous generations made). There is Power in Two (your partner/wife/husband) and work together to manage the all-important time and love to your growing children.

It will be one of the best and most important investment decisions you will ever make in your life (more than that promotion or that business deal or )…. just like making time to ‘work/train’ your muscles … not just for now … but for your future/old age.

All the very best in your decision

Yours always, in iron and muscles,

Cheers & Ahoy!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … and loving kids … and making the Right decision

A ‘sick day’ from school day for us here, 4 years ago now.
Enjoying the entertainment at Sydney’s beautiful Luna Park.
I never let schooling interfere with my or my family’s education.

Building a good foundation for your childrens’ character is like building good lean quality muscle.
It takes time and patience. Lots of patience but laser-like focus.
Proper exercise techniques and application of relevant principles , compounded over time results in the goal you visualise.
An morally-upright, free-thinking citizen of the world putting his/her hand up to lead if necessary.
As parents, be the best teacher you can be.

Me in my cowboy hat & enjoying a beer (still training my ‘guns’ … drinking my beer)

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Saying No … to say, Yes.

Beauty comes in many forms. Look at this exquisite beauty at an art show I went to. This Bonsai Tree is produced with constant pruning and shaping. A little like shaping a young male in to not just a Man but a Gentleman. It takes time, a lot of patience and high skill levels. I sit back and go “wow!”

My son is growing up in to a fine young man. He has a Tom Hanks character inside that young Arnold Schwarzennegger tough exterior already and he is only 8. He’s tough but tender when appropriate. Understanding yet stands his ground and confronts when required.

He’s my young Warrior Viking Pirate Prince.

He made me aware recently of a habit of mine. Good or bad, you decide. He said –

Dad, why is it, that you always say no when I first ask you for something… and then a little later change your mind and say yes?

Initially I responded – “Kaka!”.

This is a term I created to be all-encompassing.  A term that gives me an ‘out’, my little exit strategy if I ever get caught in a corner with my childrens’ endless questioning. To be used when I was just too tired to give them an answer or when I didn’t know the answer (which was very regularly) and I didn’t want them to know I didn’t.

Instead of saying ‘just google it”, I came up with my ‘made-up Fijian’ word which I said meant – it is just the way it is! I am not obligated to give an answer and this is where the conversation ends. Full stop!

They hate that word. I use it sparingly.

Then, I got thinking. I asked myself that same question, that great question he had asked me. Why Paul? I’ve always told my children from when they were able to speak, to not be afraid to ask questions and to question everything, even beliefs, behaviours, my actions and the way I do things, history and so forth. However, I’ve always reminded that the most important thing to do is to ask the right question.

This particular question from Zachary, was a right question.

Initially, I didn’t have an answer. I was stuck, in that corner no one likes to be. He got me. Gee … zus, and he was only 7 years old. What other questions is he going to be asking me as we progress through life I thought? Scary stuff! Luckily, I coined that ‘get out of jail’ term pass – kaka. Phew!

After reflection, I called him back and said –

“well, son, if I said yes first off and then said no later, you would be quite unhappy, wouldn’t you? You would probably think I’m cruel. But, if I say no first because when I do and then change my mind … to say yes, you won’t be disappointed and would most probably think that I am a nice dad. A nice man, that I am.”

I told Zachary my son, that this habit of mine was to ensure that I allowed myself time to reflect and think about my decision. This would make sure that, whatever decision it was, that I always came across as a Real Man … a Gentleman that I wanted to be, always. A role model that he, my son, would copy his behaviour off. A template for him to build on.

Working out in my gym during a photo shoot. Shaping a young male in to a man, a Gentle Man is very much like building good quality lean muscle within the walls of balance & symmetry. Requires patience, a lot of skill and dedication to truth, with tonnes of love.

Preparing him for the changing post-feminite landscape

First impressions matter.

That is what we have heard all our lives. Even more so now. I want my son to understand that, I think he does already. Fairly or unfairly, people are going to judge you to be a gentleman or not within the first minute or two of meeting you. Having a template, a blueprint of good manners is important.

We all have a blueprint.

My blueprint … a template evolved (and continuously evolving) that is a cross between relevant ‘old school’ traditions that I still retain from my English Gentleman Grandfather and skills honed by me in these modern times. Skills that he, my father & grandfather would not know and didn’t have to because they lived in a different era, with values and practises that were relevant to that time.

Just like the way I train in the gym, a fusion of ‘old school training methods, combined with a modern twist”. I want my son to learn the old fashioned chivalry combined with a modern respect for women. I want to make sure that he puts the ‘gentle back into the man’ and keep it that way for his future. A future that will be embracing change at a pace that I or previous generations of dads would have never faced.

I need to prepare my son (and daughter) as best I can to believe in himself first, an important step to becoming a gentleman and that knowing that the real meaning of the saying “it’s ok to be a man’ is that men are capable of many dimensions. In other words, to be proud of who he is.

Putting the gentle back into man means nurturing the classic male qualities of kindness and thoughtfulness, patience, compassion and trustworthiness. A man that embrace intimacy qualities simply because he chooses to. A True Gentleman with manners does not have to have feminine qualities. No.

A true gentleman understands that manners matter. He is aware of social etiquette. I want many things for my son, and one of the important ones is that I hope make him conscious of this – in the way he looks, sounds and acts around others.

We all need a bit of guidance and reminder of what and why we are a man. It takes effort and the desire to be made aware. Manners in a Man, Matters. The great thing is that manners can be improved through increased awareness and practice.

Why is this important?

Because the landscape for men has been changing and has been changing very fast in the last decade or two. Men are very confused and unsure in many things, prime example is on how they are expected to be a man – a Real Man.

I want my son to grow up understanding good knowledge of manners and etiquette because it just makes for a better world and also because it paves the path to manhood. Being a man requires a certain amount of experience and knowledge.

I want Zachary to know that it is one thing being a male but it is a totally other thing to be a man, a gentleman. Granted, today the social landscape is not what it used to be when I was growing up as gender roles have blurred and continue to change dramatically. Many things have changed.

I want my son to embrace this change but be prepared for it. I want him to be a successful gentleman in this new landscape. A landscape that requires him to know how to act, how to dress, how to talk and how to date.

A man needs to allow himself to be coachable to help him, help himself navigate the challenges he faces in the Sea of Life.

 Being the BEST Dad and Father you can be

He is learning this from me, every single day. That is the pressure and responsibility that us men (with young children) and the men in society at large have. Helping create the New Men and beginning with teaching them the new etiquette. I have to admit, it is a little daunting as I tell them that I am their Flawed Hero, their Less-than Perfect Dad.

You see, from where I sit, saying no … before I say yes is only one piece of the puzzle of what it means for my son to grow into a modern day Real Man with relevant old traditional values with a modern twist, needed for survival in today’s world. A world currently filled with many confused post-feminite, re-constructed, new-age so-called men! Not Real Men, far from Real Gentlemen.

I remind him of what my father used to say to me ‘action speaks louder than words!’’ Yes, indeed. I want Zachary to understand that it’s one thing to say we need to change how we act, but it’s another thing to do it! A very necessary ingredient to successful body re-engineering journeys that I have helped people, help themselves achieve over the last 20+ years.

To get quality results in anything, one has to not only have  a clear goal but develop a quality plan and most importantly, ensure a quality implementation of the quality plan. A ‘scatter-gun’ approach will not give you the desired results.

Etiquette, after all, is more than knowledge, it’s a product of well-rooted self-confidence. That is probably one of the greatest gifts any dad or father can impart to their sons – that of self-confidence. They don’t learn this at school or the sporting fields, they learn this at home.

Children, like seeds need a lot of guidance and nurturing as well as the freedom to grow. However, with more freedom comes more responsibility. Teaching them life etiquette helps them manage their sailing better.

With regards to being a gentleman, I know that how we feel about ourselves is often how we present ourselves to others. You see and hear about it every single day. If you honestly believe you can excel at a job or in a game of football then the confidence will show when you talk to your boss or take a penalty.

People and society notice and reward good etiquette, demonstrated through appropriate self-confidence. Good manners matter!

So, there are many things I hope and wish my son will be and skills he would have practised through good behavioural habits. When channelled in to the right mediums, habits can be life-changing.

For a better life.

My ultimate wish for him is to have a fulfilling life of significance. I’m sure it is the same thing our dads had for us and I’m sure all you Dads and Real Men reading this feel the same as well. We’re all ultimately helping to mold the future Leaders of our world when we’re old, frail and silver. And not fall in to the trap of ‘do as I say, not as I do” philosophy that some of the previous generations of men have passed down. This is one that need to be put aside.

The skill all us Dads need to develop is the skill of continuously questioning beliefs passed down to us and filtering out bulls*it and values that are not relevant and life-affirming for this era. And the most important skill of discerning between what is helpful and what isn’t, based on relevance.

That takes time … and hard work/YAKA!

Let’s hope they are great examples of Real Men, men who have simply practised putting the gentle back in to man and have learned to say no … pause .. … then say yes.

Thank you Zachary, for asking that right question.

 

Ahoy & cheers my friends …

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & his thoughts on being a Real Gentleman

I had a family gym that was predominantly male (70%) for about 7 years. I encouraged the men to speak freely and communicate all their feelings and we shared stories and helped one another through tough emotionally difficult phases of life. What a wonderful group of ‘post-feminite new age gentlemen. Men that understood that manners matter.

Give him the scaffolding in your son’s life to help him, help himself find his light. To allow him to build & live a life of significance. With a foundation of good etiquette/manners.

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Save the fathers of tomorrow.

My son and I. Provide the best blueprint you can of what it means to be a man. He needs you now more than ever. Save him now so that tomorrow's world will be saved too. Vv.

My son and I.
Provide the best blueprint you can of what it means to be a man.
He needs you now more than ever.
Save him now so that tomorrow’s world will be saved too.
Vv.

Be the role model for the boys

Boys, young boys need saving.

They are saved by giving them a role model to follow.

When boys have a clear role model they intuitively know how to function when they assume the responsibility of marriage and parenting later on in life.

In my years in the gym and also owning a gym for about seven years, I have seen the effects of young boys who do not have male role models. They seem crippled and have no idea what it is to be a man.

It is our job to save our boys – the fathers of today to …. save the fathers of tomorrow!

All young boys have a hunger for that – for that role model of what it means to be a man, a Real Man. I have seen it in their eyes, their actions and their passion, their being.

I believe, one of my God-appointed tasks is to ensure that my son will be ready to lead a family, a family of his own when his time comes. To do this, I feel it is my role to equip him with the skills to do so. Why? Because, he, along with the many other young boys of today will be the fathers of tomorrow.

Admiring ‘beauty’ in design and sound …. and getting in touch with our feminine side:
Beauty and truth.
Be the role model you want your future leader to be.
A big responsibility, yes … but take it.
Like a man, a Real Man.
All the very best
I’m with you.

What they are

A good foundation of all young boys is to firstly know who they are and what they are. Two key questions. This is enhanced through increased awareness of self, which is ideally, facilitated by the dad.

Young boys then need to observe their role model in action. For my son, this is where I come in (and where all dads play their part with their son). This is when these young minds crystallize what it means to be a man.

This is when the ‘ball is in my court …. And in your court’, if you’re a father to a son or sons right now. This is where the wires of his brain is wired together to form the foundation of his future self.

I’m going to say it again …. It is our job to save our boys – the fathers of today to …. save the fathers of tomorrow! It is not the boy’s school’s job or extended family’s job. It is not society’s job and it is not the government’s role. This is not a job to be outsourced to other ‘so-called coaching disciplines’ like the countless activities coaches around today.

No, this is the job of today’s fathers. Period!

Learning and absorbing our habits every single day of their initial phase of their lives is what our young Princes do. Teach him how to be strong – internally and externally. To be strong when all around him crumbles.
Teach them well.

Real Role models – dads like you and me

This is the role for you (if you are a father), for me. This is a job for what I refer to as today’s silent heroes. Real men, real fathers who are there for their son(s) through thick and thin, that play their role without fanfare or applause.

We stand alone.

No, I am not referring to the heroic men who are idealised in the media – the men who go off to war, the men who climb the highest mountains, the men who win Olympic medals nor the men who run the largest of corporations and the richest men and most successful men in the world, nor men who travel to other planets. Some of them are good examples of men.

Indeed.

However, I am simply referring to the real role models – dads like you and me. I see us dads who take this role with both hands as no different to those more common exhaulted heroes that make for good stories and tv ratings.

 

My children striking their version of one of the seven compulsory poses in bodybuilding – the “Front-double biceps” pose.
… and strike!

I see “dads” who strive to be their son’s role models, not just by name … but actual sacrifice. Dads who try to be just like heroes but are not like those men who go off to war or represent their countries at the Olympic Games or the like. They are dads who give up their own selfish-bachelor ideals and career-hungry goals to be there for their son(s). They are dads and fathers who accept their own mortality and imperfection and embrace the vulnerable man within.

I see dads and fathers who take their role’s full responsibility as today’s silent heroes.

I am talking about the real fathers of today. Fathers who are simply there for their sons. Always. Fathers who provide the support and the impetus and template for the young boys today to be the men, the fathers’ of tomorrow.

The critical question is how are we going to do this, how are we supposed to give them sufficient, appropriate and relevant training to be the man they need to be? The man we hope them to be.

With the next generation of Valentine males - Zachary.

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

Unique ways

I have 5.5 goals for saving by boy. It is my job as his father to model for him the importance of:

  • Knowing and obeying Jesus Christ
  • Knowing and simplifying Godly character
  • Knowing and loving my wife
  • Knowing and loving my children, and
  • Knowing my gifts and strengths and the weaknesses and contribute to the lives of others and have fun doing all of this as well.

I have listed 5.5 as the list is not exhaustive and you could add to the list other goals of what you think means to be a man and a role model. That is totally fine. We all have unique ways. Every man is unique, yes, but I also believe, every man has more in common with one another than we care to admit and accept.

The important thing is for us to focus our attention on being the best we can be, for ourselves, first, so that our son(s) can get the best of us. This to me will increase the chances that more fathers of tomorrow will be saved.

For their sake, for their future families’ sake, for society’s sake and for the world’s sake, today’s boys need the best role models they can copy from.

Appropriate outfit given the Rugby World Cup and
Go the Wallabies (and Go Fiji)!

 

Fathers stand tall and deliver!

Be the best man you can be. Be the best father you can be. For you, and for your future father(s).

The fathers of tomorrow need saving. I believe this so. They need saving before it is too late.

The fathers of tomorrow will only be saved if today’s fathers stand up, stand tall and deliver and lead by example – the example that will provide the best blueprint of what a male role model needs to be…. For their sons(s). Sons that will be leaders of tomorrow.

As you know, the focus for you and me is to strive towards being more of –

A Real Man. A Real Dad. A Real Father.

We are many, we are authentic. We are today’s silent heroes. Continue doing the good work and save the fathers of tomorrow.

Be the hero that you know you are!

Cheers & ahoy Real Men reading this …

Until next time,

 

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Fiji-Born Muscle Monk …& thoughts and words on saving the Fathers of tomorrow

Be the best role model you can be for you son - a father of tomorrow. Vv.

Be the best role model you can be for your son – a father of tomorrow.
Vv.

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Intimacy Awards please.

Photo op with a local resident and her dog. Lovely.

Photo op with a local resident and her dog. Lovely.

In my life so far, I have observed that there is an award for all the great traits society appears to hold above all others. Traits most of us aspire to. In today’s world, people are amazingly connected to their teams – you name it. They identify strongly with their sporting teams, their club teams, their individual sport (that is a team sport) etc.

Men (and women) battle it out on many sporting arenas, education, politics and business to win the cup/trophy/prize money. Demonstrating all these tangible, hard – winning skills.

There is an award for almost every trait related to hard work, determination and success – an outward expression of strength, power and discipline and determination. A beautiful thing that is celebrated and written about (from the winner’s perspective) throughout history. Whether we’re talking about successful people or successful nations (in wars).

History is biased towards awarding the victors. That’s just how it has always been.

But the world has changed a lot.

Not only just with technology but with regards to everything else. It is a flat world after all. Definitions of what it means to be a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’ today is very different to what they were say, 50 years ago. Definitions of a family, sex, sexual preference and marriage is different today too.

Maybe, just maybe, we should start giving out awards for the more ‘softer’ skills of an individual. Things like – compassion, care, trust, intimacy and conflict resolution. Not just awards for being the strongest, fastest athlete or ‘talent’ in the business world which it has always been. Why do we think that these men are the best men to model yourself after? They may be great at ‘making money’ but may not have great skills at other important areas of life. It seems, the ‘halo effect’ is at play here for many ‘perceived leaders’ in the Corporate & Financial World of our society.

Not a very wise thing to do.

I think there should be awards for the men, who embrace change. Men who embrace the softer skills that is part of the modern-day definition of what it means to be a man. There should be awards for the courage taken for intimacy and compassion and show of affection. There should be an award for men who place family over career promotions. This is fear personified. A very tough choice.

Men are not just what society makes out the majority of the species to be – selfish, power-hungry, career-focused, sexually-obsessed being. No, a man has other parts to his being that often does not get a chance (as often as society allows) to ‘see the light of day’. A side that is ‘put under the carpet’ and rather neglected over many generations.

My children - Olivia and Zachary striking a 'front double-biceps' pose for the camera. Watch out, these Valentine Guns are loaded!

My children – Olivia and Zachary striking a ‘front double-biceps’ pose for the camera. Watch out, these Valentine Guns are loaded!

Whilst these parts of a full-man is walked on as a doormat, the more commonly emphasised parts such as – uncaring, careless, aggressive side is stressed. We hear, see, read about this every single day. On the sporting field, in the business world, it seems in every single crevice of this earth. No one is immune to this.

Maybe, just maybe, society should start recognising the courageous men out there who are:

  • Not afraid to demonstrate genuine affection to those he loves
  • Not afraid of genuine intimacy with others
  • Not afraid to accept equal responsibility in the raising of children (in every sense of the word – not just from a financial sense)
  • Courageous enough to perform all the tasks required of a ‘dad’ just as it is for what was a ‘once-upon-a-time’ womans’ domain
  • Courageous enough to be a role model for the young men (sons, nephews) of the changing perceptions of what it means to be a ‘man’
  • Brave enough to demonstrate his full display of affection and role model to his daughter/daughters
  • Not afraid to get in touch with his ‘feminine side’ – not just as a trend but as an obligation that goes along with what it means to be a man/father/dad.
  • Embrace the changing status of what a ‘real man’ is.

Society should start giving out awards of bravery not just to celebrate the historically implanted image of men who went to war, carrying a gun. Yes, these bravery awards are well deserved. But history is littered with wonderful examples of this and this image of bravery is forever etched in our psyche.

But, I believe there are also heroes that stay behind. Men that never get a chance to carry a gun. Men that never ever go off to war. Men that never ever get a chance to win that ‘bravery award’. No, but these men are still here. Men that are not afraid to get in touch with their ‘feminine side’ and this isn’t saying the ‘gay’ side (not that there’s anything wrong with that  … as Seinfeld would say). Just plain old simple men who have made different choices to their fathers and grandfathers and all the men that have come before them. Better choices. Choices that are relevant to the times we live in. These are Trailblazers. They are all around us. Could be talking of you. Maybe of some the male friends you know. I bet you have many.

They’re everywhere! But they’re afraid to come out.

I had a family gym that was predominantly male (70%) for about 7 years. I encouraged the men to speak freely and communicate all their feelings and we shared stories and helped one another through tough emotionally difficult phases of life. What a wonderful group of ‘post-feminite new age males’.

I believe a lot of these men still bottle up these genuine ‘softer – parts’ of themselves for fear. I believe it is mainly a deep-seated fear of ‘what other people would think of them’. It is not fear of being a failure of being a man, a father in today’s world, according to today’s definitions. No, it is a fear of criticism that goes along with your decision to fully accept all the responsibilities that go along with what it means to be a MAN.

Fear of what people would think of you if you gave up a promotion at work because you put your family first. This would be totally abnormal. “Are you insane!” … you would hear friends and family say. Because it goes against expectations. It goes against prevailing perceptions. It goes against the ‘status quo’. Something that will take time to change and fully accepted. Just like it has taken time for countries to pass laws to de-criminalize same-sex marriages.

A big part of this, I believe is acceptance of the ‘other side’, the feminine side to his character. There should be bravery awards given to men and dads who demonstrate great skills at the softer skills to his being. Softer skills that don’t necessarily make him soft. No, far from it. Soft skills that make him a complete, whole, real man. An authentic man.

This is the definition of bravery – doing something that you’re afraid to do but you do it anyway. Pessimists would call this stupidity.

A group of men of different ages chatting about challenges of life as we transition through the phases of life. Storytelling was a big part of my gym where all men of all ages took the opportunity to share their fears, their desires and mistakes and more . A wonderful informal male-bonding and vitality enhancing phase of my life.

These awards of public recognition for bravery in intimacy will encourage the current crop of men to embrace this neglected side and part of them (just like it has been for their fathers and grand-fathers and every male figure in their family line). But more importantly provide a re-wiring opportunity for the men of tomorrow (our sons) to embrace the changing definition of what it means to be a ‘real man’.

That the young men of today – my son, your son(s) may look upon traits such as tenderness and care, compassion and heart as acceptable and as important as work ethic, discipline and winning at all costs.

My hope is that recognising bravery awards for the men of today who make these choices would lift the lid on this stereotype and ‘free’ and liberate the ‘hidden, softer’ male that is in every man out there.

Not all heroes hold guns. Not all great men climb to great heights. Not all great men seek this definition of success. My grandfather, a very influential man in my life was a great example of this. To me, he was my hero. A true gentleman. I only fully realized the man he was when he died. I couldn’t believe the amount of people from all walks of life that paid respect for this man.

I only truly understood the man he was and what he meant for my life and view of life only after he died. I was very fortunate that I had him as a mentor in my early years of life. His definition of success was not skewed unhealthily towards material and financial gain at all costs. He had a much broader view of success. Success in all areas of life.

There is a hero in every man. Yes, there is a hero in you, too (and you don’t need to be awarded a Victoria Cross for this)!

With two good friends and gym family members. Two men who should win “intimacy awards’ for choosing to be the man that they dreamed to be.

In my books, all heroes believe in what is right. These heroes go to great length to stand by what they believe in. To STAND THEIR GROUND. Even if this means that they are in the minority at this present time. Even if they are going up against the status quo. Even if they are ‘rocking the boat’ about what it means to be a ‘real man’ in today’s world. Even if they are as proud to receive a ‘bravery award for intimacy/affection/compassion etc’, publicly.

And hope that one day, these awards for the ‘softer-side’ of a man is held in as high regard or close to that of a man who goes off and wields a gun in a war. Or to that of a man who climbs the corporate ladder to his imaginary snow-capped mountain top and feeling unsatisfied with life when he gets to the top and realises that there isn’t any snow at the top.

The war WITHIN is far greater and tougher battle than the war without. For ALL MEN. How you manage and choose to navigate this internal emotional mine-field as you pass through the different phases in life is very telling.

All the best to all the young dads/men out there trying to make sense of life and what it is to be a man and looking for answers to the question “Is this all there is to life?”

This question, my friend is one that only YOU can answer. There is one certainty: you will find YOUR ANSWER. How you go about finding that answer is the issue here. Aim to search for the answers in the right places. For those of you men that already get that public recognition of bravery, bravery award of intimacy on all levels. Think of yourselves as the lucky ones.

Congratulations. You deserve it! You are a trail-blazer, you are an example of courage in action. Come on, men, I know the “Real Man” lies dormant in some of you reading this … it is time to let him out so that you can be free of the chains that burden and hold you down, just for being a man. The chains of living a life based on expectations of others.

You have one life. Live it with total and utter intimacy and know that it is very ‘manly’ to do so. Reach out and for that Intimacy Award, I’m sure you’ll get it if more choose to do so.

There is hope, so, let’s all get together and request for Intimacy Awards please!

Choose well.

 

Until next time,

Life is about choices. Choose well.

Life is about choices.
Choose well.

~~Life COACH~~

~~Energy, VITALITY & Life COACHING Conversationalist~~

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