I have been listening to a lot of Robert Bly’s work of late regarding the loss of manhood in society, and its wide-ranging effects in men’s lives, their marriages, and, most critically, in their children’s lives. He deduces that it is no longer natural for society to trust men; and an inactive, passive man struggles to achieve credibility in this world, and, perhaps most telling of all, also within his own psyche.
So, what is missing maybe most of all in a man’s armoury of experience is the credibility of trust. It is the greatest gift he could receive.
Trust Generates Grace
If we can trust a man, any person in fact, that gift goes far beyond respect—indeed, trust is the ultimate respect.
When we trust a person who is trying yet possibly failing, we are issuing grace. In that is freedom; not simply to fail more and more, but to enjoy the space of respect in knowing the relationship is cherished enough to risk selflessness.
Modern men seem to need this reassurance. Modern women probably need it too, but it is more an issue for men. They say that women need to be loved and men need to be respected. Well, respect comes most intuitively and affirmatively in the form of trust.
Trust is the agreement, beforehand, to forgive. Trust is also the agreement, beforehand, to honour decisions that are made.
And if we can trust, we should trust. Not all men can be trusted; most men can be trusted, however.
Weighing Capacities for Trust and Forgiveness
If we are committed to trust someone, forgiveness will be much easier.
If that someone does something against us, not only are we in a more protected situation, they are too. This implies that trusting a special someone is a type of fortification of spirit. The act of trusting someone is a brave act. It prepares us.
When we commit ourselves to trusting someone we grow our capacity for grace.
When a man knows he is trusted, whether by a special woman in his life, or by other women and men, he feels freer to be a man; to be the man the world needs him to be; to be the man he needs himself to be.
It probably goes in the reverse as well, for women. But the historical role of men is as leaders in society. And if we are to empower our leaders we must trust them. If a man is hardwired to lead, and this is relevant most of all in the family, yet he is not trusted, confused and frustrated will that man be.
The greatest gift we can give a man is to trust him. There is no better way to respect a man than trusting him. If a man is trusted he is much more likely to love from his inner being. If a man is trusted the whole family—his whole world—benefits.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.