October 10, 2006

By Divine Design

Last night, DH and I had a little discussion that I've been thinking about all afternoon. He told me about some of his thoughts concerning a talk from General Conference. This talk was about the true meaning of manhood, or in other words, what makes up a manly man. He told me a few things about why he agreed with what was said, and I commented on the shame of our society’s projection of what it means to be manly. We discussed the topic a little further and then we went to bed, and I haven’t thought of it again until now.

I remembered the story he told me from the talk.The speaker’s mother had been injured in some way that she lost strength in her arms and shoulders. The father then bought the mother a fancy and expensive ironing machine that she could use to lessen her pain. The mother was surprised and could not imagine how they could afford the machine. The father had sacrificed a year’s worth of lunches to save money and had spent that money on the machine. He had noticed his wife crying from pain when she would try to iron The mother was surprised that he noticed this. DH's comment was, “Sometimes men forget that there is more to their responsibility than being a breadwinner and a temporal provider. He must provide emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. And he must be observant of his family. And so should women.” [Cheesey Sentence Warning: Please skip if you have a low threshold for cheese.] He always amazes me—I suppose that’s why I married him!

I decided to look up the talk, since it was in the Priesthood session, and read it. I thought it was a great talk, and what I like most of all is what he pointed out. A lot of it applies to both of us. This is one of my favorite parts:

“Good men sometimes make mistakes. A man of integrity will honestly face and correct his mistakes, and that is an example we can respect. Sometimes men try but fail. Not all worthy objectives are realized despite one's honest and best efforts. True manhood is not always measured by the fruits of one's labors but by the labors themselves—by one's striving.

Though he will make some sacrifices and deny himself some pleasures in the course of honoring his commitments, the true man leads a rewarding life. He gives much, but he receives more, and he lives content in the approval of his Heavenly Father. The life of true manhood is the good life." (D. Todd Christofferson, Let Us Be Men)

It made me think of another talk I heard while on my mission about what a woman should be. I like how some of the same sentiments echo here, in a talk written for women, in a different way:

“A woman of faith loves the Lord. She wants Him to know it by the life she lives, by the words she speaks, by the service she renders to His children, by her every action. She knows that He loves her even though she is imperfect and still trying to be better.” (Margaret D. Nadauld, A Woman of Faith)
I think both quotes apply to both women and men—the sort of people we ought to become. I think it’s wonderful that real manhood and true womanhood should be so closely aligned and yet have their own differences that are so uniquely and divinely imbedded. How clever Heavenly Father must be.

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