An Open Letter to all the Good Men
If you're reading this, then you know who you are, because I've probably told you in person at least some of what I'm about to write. Anyway, I’m sure that most of you would be terribly embarrassed that ‘Janie’s at it again’, if you saw your names here. So I'm leaving this letter open, in the hopes that maybe it will reach some of the other good men out there, as well (I trust there are still quite a few of you).
Truth is, most of you have no idea (despite the fact that I’ve tried to tell you...I really am rubbish at conversation sometimes) of how amazing you are and how much you’ve impacted my life. You’re all just ordinary people, going about your everyday lives. You’re doing your best to love God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbors as yourselves. No-one is probably ever going to applaud you for doing what you do, but I feel you should know that you’ve changed the way I see the world.
Men get a pretty bad rap in today’s press. At best, you’re billed as lazy and immature. At worst, you’re chauvinists, rapists, and child molesters. The world seems pretty bleak, the men seem pretty mediocre...or worse.
But I’m not losing hope, because I know all of you good men.
You protect those who can’t protect themselves.
You honor and respect the people around you.
I feel 100% safe and valued and protected when I’m with you.
In today’s world, that’s probably pretty rare.
I’ve known a lot of women, and heard of many more, who get into abusive relationships and stay there, allowing someone else to destroy their lives. And I can’t help thinking that maybe it’s because they’ve never actually met a good man. Maybe they don’t know that men aren’t supposed to be frightening or controlling or manipulative. Maybe they’ve never known what it feels like to be cared for and respected and loved, not for what they can give or do, but simply for who they are.
And, if that's the case, then it's such a tragedy. Because I've been blessed to know so many of you good, good men.
So today I want to thank you, each of you, for showing me what a man is supposed to be like. I know it’s not easy for you for rise above the world’s expectations and hold yourselves to a higher standard of doing 'nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,' but rather, in humility, valuing 'others above yourselves'*. I want you to know that I’ve noticed what you do, that I value who you are, and that you’ve made a difference in my life.
- Because of you, I refuse to settle for mediocrity, because I know that it’s possible to be so much more.
- Because of you, I know how a man should treat a woman, and I won’t settle for any kind of relationship with anyone who doesn’t respect, honor, and value me like you do.
- Because of you, I know what it’s like to have honest conversations, pure friendships, and hilarious good times with members of the opposite sex.
- Your words of advice, really great jokes, listening ears, and heartfelt prayers have gotten me through some of the rougher times of my life.
- The ways in which you’ve mirrored to me the immense value I have as a child of the Heavenly Father have enabled me to brush off the catcalls, inappropriate remarks and other forms of harassment that women face every day without becoming bitter or hardened or losing my self-respect.
- Because of you, I have a brighter outlook on the world.
So, this goes out to all of you guys, whether I know you or not, who are striving to love God and love others and rise above the mediocrity that's expected of you.
Dear fathers and brothers, husbands, cousins, uncles, grandfathers, pastors, teachers, colleagues, mentors and friends (and anyone I inadvertently left out), thank you for being an example, an inspiration, and for modeling real manhood for all of the women and girls in your lives.
Thank you for being good men.