International Mens Day: For The Man Who Made Me A Strong Woman

My father has always been a man of few words.

In fact, one of my fondest memories of him involves almost none at all.

One year, he wrote my mother a Christmas card. On a piece of folded paper, in his coarse, illegible hand, he’d scrawled three deliberate words:

I love you

My mother sat silently for a long moment, grasping the paper so tightly that it crumbled in the centre. Eventually, she looked over to him, laughed and started to cry.

Across the room, my father leaned against their fireplace, beaming back at her with pride. And if you weren’t paying attention, you’d have missed the moment he dipped his head and wiped a few silent tears from his cheeks.

When I was younger, I never noticed the love between my parents. I knew it was there, but I never took the time to look at it and understand what it meant.

But to my father, I owe so much. Because if it weren’t for the love exchanged between my parents, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.

I’ve always believed my dad to be a complicated man. I expect I’ll believe that for the rest of my life. And, although at times he was harsh to be kind, there was always a softness in him that you’d miss if you blinked too soon.

Over the years, I never pointed out his softer side. I didn’t need to. It was clear in his actions, not his words.
I remember clearly the day he hid his eyes behind dark sunglasses at his business partner’s funeral, and the afternoon he sat outside, hands clasped together, and cried after hearing my mum had been diagnosed with cancer.

I didn’t need to hear about his depth and kindness to know it was there. You simply needed to know what to look for to see it.

Growing up, my brother and I came to know and understand a man whose expectations were always high and, at times, poorly communicated. We came to expect of ourselves the same things our father expected of us.

We were raised to know the value of hard work, honesty and never taking the easy way out. And if we were rewarded for those things, it was with little more than a slight nod or half-smile. But it was enough. And we always knew he was proud.

When I look at the way society is heading, I often look to the man who had so much influence in shaping me. It is because of this that I find many societal conclusions irreconcilable.

There is nothing shameful or toxic about a man embracing his masculinity. There is nothing shameful about the way I grew up, where I so often followed my father and his example, nipping at his heels just to be involved.

There was no perfect way he could have imparted his values on us or made my brother and me good enough people for society. All he could do was set an example.

Recently someone, somewhere, arbitrarily decided that to be masculine is to be wrong, that it is something we must breed out of our boys and men if we intend to protect our women and girls.

But I disagree.

The masculinity in my dad, and now in my older brother, has always shown me that strength, resilience and love are not ideals only attached to femininity.

They are the calling card of men.

I saw masculinity in my father each time he quietly reached for my mother’s hand in public, entwining his fingers with hers.

I saw it in their secret language, the conversation of stolen glances and hidden smiles.

I have seen it my whole life. And I will see it until the day they’re gone from this world.

I have had half a lifetime to know what love looks like, to know what masculinity does when it is respected.

And, the truth is, it is because of my dad that I will go through life knowing what to expect from those around me.

For that, I am so grateful.

  1. Fantastic message in the article Sydney. As a mother of 3 young men who are now fathers themselves, I appreciate your affirmation of healthy masculinity.

  2. Thank you. You are totally right. Reason as we grow more effete. History repeats. Pax Romana, then the Goths. Pax. Americana, who are our Goths?
    It truly will be reason and common sense that will keep the fall of our civilization from happening.

  3. Hi Sydney,

    Thank you so much for sharing this story!
    As a mom of a 2 and a half year old boy I often see this portrayal of beta type males, mixed with gender confusion in MSM and I’m really curious what the future holds for boys. I stand strong that masculinity is more than okay, it is necessary and vital to the nuclear family and the core values the western culture once stood for. Reading your story gives hope for a brighter future

  4. Thanks Sydney for sharing the importance of your fathers presence in your life and men in general. It’s obvious to us (and I’m sure to him) that you were paying close attention to his masculine guiding ways. I would be more than proud to call you my daughter.

  5. You’re almost brought tears to my eyes, Sydney. I can only hope that my daughters will see me in a similar manner to the light that is your father. I’m sure he’s proud and he’s quite lucky to have you.
    Thank you for all you do as a positive influencer!

  6. Hello I’m I’m Chris Roberts.
    And to put it simply your like a breath of fresh air. I’m a single father of 4 . Two of which are grown and two of which are still home. Sarah is 16 and brilliant and Bengerman is almost 14 and is sharp as a tack as well. I’ve always tried to raise them as you have been raised with manners, respect, compassion and above all to always always do the right thing no matter how hard it is. One of my favorite sayings is ( what you do today you have to lay down with tonight)
    The school now days are teaching entitlement. This as well as things like participation grades and trophies are undermining the traditions of determination and hard work to succeed. As sad as that is . It not only is destroying our country’s the younger generations are being set up for failure and they don’t even see it.
    You really blew my mind when I came across your video’s. To see a young lady as yourself with such a strong and righteous set of core values. Thank you for your efforts and due diligence.
    Have a awesome day.

  7. Responding to Josh Jourdan’s comments, and I hope I’m not imposing when i say this and really sorry if I’m coming across preachy or whatever, it’s a strong man that makes exemplary, but its the man that crys openly that truly knows what strength is and where it comes from. The concepts of emotional intelligence, empathy, tactical empathy, the whole world of emotional range which some have, others still lack the emotional depth of a puddle where others can simply smile and hope that is enough to bridge or brighten. My meandering point/s or quite easily lost point was, i wanna give you a fist 👊 bump in support of admittedly being near tears. The fact that as men, we aren’t necessarily to be the freest when it comes to emotional expression and the overwhelming exhaust that can only be described as strength in some form, but is easily mocked, ridiculed and mercilessly teased when shown publicly, ( crying; at funerals; pain too great to bear, feeling anything, etc.) There’s no shortage of examples of an occasion that emotions can run high, but the fact that you courageously are lauding Sydney and the first line of your comment is as it is, dude. You deserve lauding, applauded and dare i say it, infinite applause 👏 infinity ♾ applause. Pardon my rambling, and loquacious verbosity. I’m Über exhausted, and really must depart. Thank you kindly. #GiveThanks please?

  8. It’s hit home with me. My wife consistently has not a thing good to say about me, even showing masculinity, it does not matter. She prefers to denigrate and emasculate me (sometimes want to walk away), always choosing to condone the #metoo movement and similar groups. It has everything to do with her parents never showing love for each other and I believe her mother, despising her hard working dad, backtalking him when he wasn’t around, all the years they were together. So happy my parents showed the love, respectful of each other too. Thanks for your honesty and forthrightness. Love to you.