Courage is not the absence of fear but the presence of devotion. When caregiving, fear constantly lurks at the corners of our minds. We face things that are fear worthy. Yet, Scripture states, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear…” 1 John 4:18 KJV While incapable of perfect love on our own, steering masculinity towards love and devotion serves as the antidote to fear. Winning appeals with insurance companies and medical providers is best rooted in devotion rather than heavy-handedness. Devotion fights relentlessly in the presence of fear. Devotion even allows one to face the fear of death.
An increasing number of men, especially in this COVID-19 world, are taking up the role that is historically populated by women: family caregivers. Sadly, male caregivers often need to wrestle with stereotypes and myths about masculinity while dealing with the all-consuming work of caregiving. Here are some myths about masculinity and how male caregivers can overcome them.
Watching someone suffering brings agony and heartbreak. Sobbing remains one of the healthiest things a man can do when processing grief. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather of strength that validates the sorrow, loss, and anguish.
Since the “real men don’t cry” myth remains so extensive, men feel conflicted on where to safely express emotion. Any soldier will affirm that the battlefield is not the place for grief. When risk remains great, sobbing is best delayed until danger has passed. Therefore, men must remain vigilant caregivers while cultivating relationships with other men who can affirm their grief and allow them to process it — while protecting them and “watching their 6.” Those relationships must never lose sight of the maleness, as well as the need to return to the fight with strength and focus. Releasing anguish results in clarity of thought and purpose — and equips one to better resume the work without the burden of unshed tears.