In Praise of Good Men
by Kathy Penrod
I worked at a fast-food establishment as a teenager. It was a run down place and it wasn’t uncommon to see cockroaches running around. One lucky customer was even privileged to have a tasty roach served up with his food. It was beyond gross. My boss would say, “You know, for every roach you see, there are another 1000 in the walls.” As I said, beyond gross.
Lately, with the abundance of recent news articles brandishing the horrific behavior of some prominent men, I feel a little like I did about the roaches. For everyone we hear about, there must be 1000 more kept silent. It seems, at times, that there are no good men left. Must we learn that every man, with a position of influence or power, has, at one time, done the unthinkable? Are we to believe that men in general are crude and foul?
The stories that have been shouted from the rooftops are terrible. The victims will carry scars long after the story dies down. There has been unacceptable behavior from those who were trusted. It is inexcusable. So, what I say next, I say carefully. I do not wish to diminish the severity of any victims’ experiences. And, in no way would I excuse any mans’ disgusting behavior.
Today, I would like to shine a light on the men who have not, nor ever will, fit the current male stereotype portrayed in American media. Unfortunately, very few of these seemingly ordinary men are highlighted on the news for just being a good guy. It is, with this platform, I would like to offer praise for good men.
I am grateful that Heavenly Father gave me an earthly father that would care for me. He was kind, gentle natured, patient and loving. My dad sang me songs as I drifted off to sleep, he danced with me in the kitchen, he held me and let me cry. I only ever felt safe around him. Even when my dad’s brain was being overtaken by Alzheimer’s, I still leaned on my father for strength and peace. I know, just from talking within my circle of friends, this was not a typical experience with a father and I don’t know why I got to experience it. But I want to shout that he was a good man.
In high school, I had a male teacher for a religious seminary class. He teased, he taught, he guided. I felt as though I could confide in him. It was his example that made me want to become a better person. I know that this is not the experience with every male teacher but I am grateful that this was my experience. And, I am grateful he was a good man.
Somewhere, early in our marriage, I had to take the car in to be serviced. We had no money to do so but we had to keep the car running. When I found out the repairs were going to cost an exorbitant $60, I began to cry. There was no way we could pay it, and if the car mechanic was correct, our car was not safe to be driven without the repair. Somewhere between the tears and confusion, a kind car mechanic reached into his pocket and pulled out the sum of money needed for the repair. A short time later, I was able to safely strap my baby into his carseat and go on my way, thanks to a good man.
The first home we purchased will always hold a tender spot in my heart. In part, that is due to the neighbors we had. The father of the home was often found serving us. Whether helping administer a priesthood blessing or helping fix something at the house, he seemed to always give to us. One night, he was impressed to stop and look at our breaker box outside the house. As an electrician, he knew what to look for. When he raised the lid to our box, he found burned and sparking wires inside. It is very likely that this good man saved us from a fire that night.
Finally, I must address my very favorite man. My sweetheart of 28 years has been by my side since we were 16. Through thick and thin, he has loved me and supported me. He is a tender, attentive father who cares about each of his kids. He is steady and patient. He spends practically all of his time serving other people – doing for them what they cannot do themselves, offering hope to the hopeless. My life would be bland and empty without him in my life. I am grateful this good man came into my life so many years ago.
So, while our news feeds continue to be congested with stories of the undesirables, I am grateful to know that not ALL men are like those currently in the limelight. Sometimes, there are ordinary, good men keeping this world together. And perhaps, the light that emanates from these, and other, good men will dispel the darkness that is cast by the infamous few.