Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Definition of a Real Man

Definition of a Real Man
By R. Nelson Valentine

One who has self-confidence but does not show it.
One who keeps his word, his temper and his friends.
One who wins respect by being respectable and respectful.
One who has a steady eye, a steady nerve, a steady tongue and steady habits.
One who is silent when he has nothing to say.
One who is calm when he judges and humble when he misjudges.

That defines a real man and a gentleman, and by these standards, my father is indeed a "Real Man"    ----   Signed by His Proud Daughter in Harrisburg, Pa.

I clipped this description from a newspaper years ago, and have saved it for over twenty years. I prayed for my adult daughters to find men like this as their husbands, and G-d answered that prayer.  To my surprise, he also brought one for me seven years ago.  My husband, Rabbi Jem is all of the above, plus so very much more.

Growing up as an only child in an alcoholic home, my role models for men were sadly lacking.  I married very young and very foolishly.  My children’s father and I divorced after eighteen years. I never wanted to marry again.   

G-d had other plans, and He put Rabbi Jem and me together in a miraculous way.  By the time we found each other, I had learned what a good man looked like.  How?  By reading the book of Proverbs.  I found great wisdom about many things, including marriage, business, farming, child-rearing…I could go on and on. 

Proverbs contains thirty-one chapters – one for every day of the month.  I encourage everyone, especially children and teens, to develop a habit of reading Proverbs daily.  Read them over and over and over again on a monthly basis.  You will be amazed how a different verse will jump out at you with each new monthly reading. 

One hilarious piece of wisdom is found in Proverbs 27:14

He that blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.

Isn’t that the truth?  Speaking softly (or not at all) is a blessing for me.  Everyone who knows me can tell you I am not a morning person.  I’ve often quoted this verse to those who don’t understand my morning routine:  stumble to the coffee pot, pour coffee, drink coffee….repeat three times…then we can talk…very softly.

Who knew the Scriptures even speak about how to have peace in the morning?  I, for one, am glad I discovered this verse. 

Proverbs is an amazing collection of wisdom and instruction.  Next week, I will be starting a weekly feature called Wisdom Wednesdays, where I will share some of the many lessons I’ve learned through this book of Scripture, as well as others.  I hope you’ll join me.