Pre-Script: My feminist side will have a hard time writing this, but it has to be done.
We are at a weeklong campout with about seventy other adoptive families. Yesterday, I opened the door to our trailer to go inside and refill my coffee cup (I know some people wouldn’t call this camping, but it’s as rough as I want to get). When I stepped inside, I noticed a movement off to my left. I looked and saw that a tiny brown bird had found its way into our trailer. I’m a bit afraid of the flapping of bird wings, so I immediately stepped (jumped, perhaps) back outside and looked over to the teenage boy that has been hanging out at our site, “Spencer! (Oops, wrong name) Duncan! There’s a bird in the trailer! Will you get it out?” Actually, I’m not sure I phrased that last sentence as a question; it might have been more of a command. Either way, Duncan got right up and went into the trailer.
It occurred to me, as I watched him head off on his white horse to save the campsite full of women, that men, especially good men, often head off to do what’s expected of them, even if what’s expected is not something that’s comfortable for them. Perhaps Duncan, too, is afraid of the flapping of bird wings – too bad, Man Up! There’s a snake in the pond? Man Up! Firewood needs to be unloaded and kindling chopped? Man Up!
I have to say that if Duncan had not been available, I would have been perfectly capable of getting the bird out of the trailer. In fact, there’s not much that I couldn’t do if I needed to – I’m a strong woman and I, too, can Man Up!, but I like that I don’t have to be the one to do everything. Years ago, before we were married, my husband wrote me a letter that contained words he’s often regretted in a joking manner. In the letter, he said that he was glad to have found the person that would make him whole, his helpmate, the person who would do (and these are the regretted words), “those little things I have no time or taste for.” Well, I, too, like knowing that someone else will step in and do those things I have no time or taste for (like rescuing birds, removing snakes, chopping firewood, etc.) I’m surrounded by good men who readily Man Up! My dad was that kind of man and my husband certainly is. As we’ve raised sons, perhaps teaching them to Man Up! is part of what turns a male person into a good man. If so, I’ll continue to expect them to readily Man Up! when needed and I hope I’ve also taught my daughters to Man Up!