(You may think this post is about the soldiers in the picture, but it’s actually about the men behind the face paint. This is probably the most transparent I’ve ever been on RML.)
I finally watched You, Me, and Dupree the other night with my wife. As funny as it was, I hated the movie. Perhaps, in dealing with my own issues, I looked too deep into it, but the message the movie sends is a little upsetting. The story consists of newlyweds Carl and Molly, and Carl’s best man, Dupree. Dupree is the quintessential screwup, and finds a way to ruin a lot of things for Carl. But, though Carl was the “straight man character”, he got sucked into being a screwup too. He spent the entire movie apologizing to Molly. Most of his screwups stemmed from him trying to win the favor of his boss, who happened to be his new father in law, who was sabotaging his work on a new developement project; and balancing his new role as a husband. But at the end of the day, we see both Carl and Dupree as screwups!
Would the movie had been better if Molly had screwed up some? Maybe! But you have to admit, strong, hardworking men don’t sell.
Think about it like this, most men, in movies and tv, that are strong driven and hardworking are portrayed as either jerks or chumps. For example, it would be very difficult to name a tv dad that wasn’t either whipped or a goofball screwup. Once again, I can admit that I may be sensitive to it because I’m dealing with my own issues, but I just have to call it like I see it.
It is difficult being a man (and by man I mean a real man). We have an epidemic, especially in the African-American community, of absent fathers. Many children grow up without a strong male role model in their home. Or worse yet, dad lives there, but is absent in teaching what it means to be a man. I believe it is just as dangerous to assume that your kids understand your example without explanation, than it is to just walk out. What we end up with is the glamorization of screwups, players, and jerks.
I hear women say there is a lack of “good men” out there, but I don’t think that’s the case. I believe that people aren’t properly taught what it means to be one, so we don’t appreciate one when we see him, or we make him feel like a chump for being one. It is hard when you are doing the best you can to be all that you can be for everyone, when everyone seems to overlook it. My philosophy is not to applaud people for the things they should be doing anyway. However, I’m learning that encouragement goes a long way. You may not throw a parade but appreciation means so much.
So my purpose in this post is two-fold. First of all, I’d like to encourage every good man out there to keep doing it! Keep on working hard. Keep on being faithful to your wives. Keep on providing for your families. Keep on serving God to the best of your abilities. Keep on being an example to your community of what it means to be a good man. Keep on ignoring that voice that tells you that if you aren’t cheating or getting over, then you aren’t winning.
But most importantly, don’t neglect your responsibility to teach. Take the time to explain what it means to be a good man. Tell that young boy that honor and respect are more valuable than money and power. Tell that little girl, good men aren’t chumps and doormats, but are men that should be honored and supported. Tell your wives what challenges you face and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable if front of her (I’m sure a good woman will respect a good man more when he does this). We have to be diligent in teaching, or else we will continue to raise generations of players, chumps and screwups.
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