Definition of a Unicorn: “Not common, not ordinarily encountered. Unusually great in amount or remarkable in character or kind.”
While my focus is on young men and the influence of male role models, it is important to recognize the significance of moms and women ( most likely grandmas) in our lives.
Quite frankly, because of the incredible number of “weak and passive” men in our society and the total lack of responsibility men take as husbands and fathers, women have had to assume a role that God has not designed for them. But I must say that many mothers (grandmas) have stepped up to the plate to knock it out of the park. For me, my mom was Babe Ruth.
At the age of 35, my mother found herself single, raising four children ages 5, 10, 11, and 15. She had not worked since she was 18 and would have to rely on her high school diploma. During those days, the social stigma of a divorcee was not as acceptable as it is today. Mom didn’t make any excuses. She didn’t place any blame on my father; in fact, she never said a harsh word about him, ever. She found a job, and she set out on a course to raise her four kids.
She had pride. I learned later in life that we qualified for the free lunch program, but mom wanted me to have a white punch card, not the blue one that meant you were getting free lunch. She found a way. When the black, three-striped Adidas shoes came out, she found a way to get me a pair. One bathroom and three sisters you do the math. The first year, mom had the task of getting four kids to four different schools and then being at work by 8 a.m. She found a way. She also saw to it that we made it to Sunday school and church. She knew the value. You see, we had everything we needed. Maybe not all we wanted, but all we really needed.
Mom understood the importance of male role models in her son’s life. Papa lived next door. He taught us discipline and values. There was Uncle Leroy and Uncle Mike. There was my elementary principal, Mr. Waldrip, who loved us (even though I kicked him in the shin on the first day of school). Coaches “ Scotty” and Jerry Allen showed us their love for the game of baseball. Junior high coaches Robinson and Gill: could he ever swing a paddle (Mom, I never got one.) I can recite the preamble to the Constitution because of Mr. Grady Graves. There was Mr. Mogan, Mr. Lauck, Mr. Garnett, Mr. Huddleston, Mr. Hill, coaches Tyler, Black, Vantrease, and Gosset. There were the pastors, youth leaders, Southeast Boys Club staff, and many, many others. (I missed a bunch.)
Too many times, a mom or grandma is left to raise a son alone. You can do it; my mom did. Just never forget the power and importance of good Christian male role models. My mom knew.
Tip for the uncommon man: Even if you have not chosen to be a male role model, watch your words and your actions.
Originally written in 2010