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Affection vs Homophobia – What will the neighbors think?

affection

Affection from my father was a commodity that was hard to come by in my household when I was a child. Because of this, I find it hard to be close to other men as an adult. Maybe I run in the wrong crowds, but most of the men I know are dealing with the same challenges.

Typical Male Behavior…

  • About 100 men filed into our church sanctuary last Sunday evening to watch the movie “Courageous” and to begin the 6 week Courageous course which is based on the movie. 100 was almost the perfect number of men, since our church sanctuary seats about 200. We all filed in and filled every other seat. God forbid the thought of sitting next to another man when there wasn’t a need to…
  • Our monthly men’s breakfast took place last Saturday morning. As usual, I was the first to arrive. Upon my arrival, I requested a table for 9, knowing that only 5 would be in attendance. It took about 10 minutes for the staff to prepare our table. During my wait, 3 more guys arrived. Upon being shown to our table, the four of us scrambled for each of the corner spots at the table. We were happy to sit at our table, yelling to one another as we waited for the 5th man to arrive…..

I grew up in an era when the only requirement to be a man was that you provide financially for your family. If you could bring home a paycheck, you made the cut. Supplying the household with the necessary finances to operate was the show of love and affection and proof positive that our dads loved us.

My dad passed away in 2011. I don’t remember my dad ever telling me he loved me. I don’t ever remember my dad kissing me. In fact I don’t remember any shows of affection toward me from my dad at all.

My dad passed away in 2011. I don’t remember my dad ever telling me he loved me. I don’t ever remember my dad kissing me. In fact I don’t remember any shows of affection toward me from my dad at all. I realized as a young adult that I didn’t want my boys to miss out on the love and affection that I had been deprived of as a child. So even though it’s un-natural for me sometimes, I put forth the effort to be affectionate with them.

Fortunately for me, 2 of my 3 boys have helped me out tremendously in this area. My 23 year old, Jonathan and I have been affectionate all his life. I’ll never forget the first time he refused to hold my hand when walking in the mall. I still tease him about how much he hurt me that day.

My youngest, Jordan is a sugar bear. This little guy gives out hugs like they are going out of style. He is by far the most affectionate child I have ever been around. He doesn’t care what you’re doing (carrying a pot of scalding hot water, rushing to get to the bathroom, in the middle of a phone conversation), when he wants a hug, he is determined to get one.

My middle boy DJ, well I’m still working on him. He’s not as quick to show the affection as the other two, but I know there is a huggy bear somewhere deep down inside of him. His reluctance to show affection on the scale of the other two has not deterred me from showing him that he is loved.

I think about how it must have been with Jesus and the twelve disciples living together, sleeping together and eating together day in and day out for 3 ½ years. Imagine spending time with pure love incarnate. How rich those times of fellowship must have been.

Showing affection toward others

If you’re a man and you grew up in a household like I did that didn’t teach you how to show love and affection toward other men, I encourage you to pray about it. Ask God for guidance, wisdom, and the boldness it takes to stretch yourself and not be concerned about how your displays of affection are received by others.

Purposely step out in faith and plant the seeds of care, genuine concern, and affection for other men and before you know it those seeds will germinate and grow and the affection you show towards others will come back as a blessing in your life.

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2 Comments

  1. This is a very serious topic and I would certainly raise this topic in the men's group in my church. I too grew up in a home where much affection was not shown to me but I decided from a young age that I wanted to be different. Showing affection as a man landed me to be seen a being gay and it was hard being heckled about it but I did not give up.

    Society has really taken out love and affection among men and replaced it with being macho and being a ruler or leader. A real man knows how to show affection to both men and women and I believe in my heart that when men start to show real affection to their families and especially the sons, that this world will have more love and togetherness and sons will grow up to become real men that's full of love and compassion. for everyone. If you are a man reading this, I challenge you to be that man that will show affection to other men in spite of how you may be seen. RMSRA ….. Real Men Show Real Affection.

    • Amen Sherwin. I think the lack of an example in this area from our fathers has screwed a lot of us up and the kicker is that we don’t recognize that we’re screwed up. As the father of an 11 year old, I see men pushing their boys to excel and be the best at sports. These dads are tougher on their boys than any professional coach could ever be on their players.

      Anyone could look into the eyes of these boys and see that they would rather be anywhere else but on the playing field. But the dads are bent on creating trophy sons that they can brag about to the other dads over. These kids are begging for a hug or some sort of validation of love, but never do they receive it from their dads.

      Like you, I have made the choice to correct the wrongs I’ve suffered as a child in this area by reaching out to the men around me. I feel that God is helping in this area by giving me opportunities to help other men who don’t really know how to be close to other men. I find that as I help others, I myself am helped. I’ve been approached by several wives asking me to reach out to their husbands, who have no male friends and no male contact outside of their work environments.

      It’s awkward sometimes texted other men during the week just to remind them of who they are in Christ or to let them know that I’m thinking about them and praying for them, but also like you, I’m determined not to give up and stop reaching out. Thank so much for your comment. Have a great day!

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