In Sunday School, we just started a seven-week session of The Family Series, in which we are studying through different topics affecting the family: manhood, womanhood, dating, marriage, parenting, and the family. The first week’s topic started off with manhood. Despite the equality of man and woman, both being made in the image of God, the roles of man and woman are unequal, but viewed as good in God’s eyes. Manhood is defined as spiritual maturity. By looking at examples of manhood through characters in the Bible and the core responsibilities of man, I realized how blessed I am to have (or have had) two men in my life who exemplify biblical manhood or spiritual maturity – my dad and brother.
When I think back upon my dad who was the man of our household, I remember a man who was steadfast in his faith, slow to anger, sacrificial in his love and devotion to our family, dutiful to provide financially, and eager to lead. As one of the core responsibilities of man is to lead both his family and church, I reflected upon the many ways, in which my dad fulfilled his role as a leader. Whenever we would take any long road trip, whether it be for camping or visiting other places, my dad would pray for our safety before backing the car out of the driveway. When I was in elementary school, my dad would initiate weekly family devotions. Whenever we would eat out at a Chinese restaurant, the rest of my family would not have to bother with ordering because my dad would know what we would want to eat and would take care of the ordering for us. At church, he would serve as deacon, accountant, and Sunday School teacher for the youth group. Even when he was lying in pain in his hospice bed during his last several months, he was busily drawing and writing down notes for the renovation of our house so that we could increase opportunities to open up our house for fellowship. A week before his passing, he convinced my mom to follow through with the renovation, although he unfortunately did not get to see the final product of his ideas and hard work. While some of these ways may seem more trivial than others, each memory of my dad’s leadership both in our family and church has provided me a personal example of what biblical manhood looks like.
My dad has now passed away exactly a year and a half ago, but while he no longer serves as the man of our household, God provided another. I am thankful that God raised up my brother, who is four years older than me, to naturally take on that role after my dad. Since I learned to talk, I have addressed my brother as “哥哥” (older brother in Chinese) rather than his first name in English out of respect. I have looked up to him as a wise and mature older brother whose knowledge and skills in almost all aspects, including academically, athletically, musically, relationally, and spiritually, extend far beyond mine. To be honest, sometimes I feel like the Monica and he the Ross. My brother may have been critical of me in times past, but I know that he didn’t do so to put me down. Instead, he pushes me like any good older brother would to become the woman that God is molding me to become.
A question raised during Sunday School was how the sisters can encourage the brothers to be men. The answer to this was to affirm our brothers’ roles as leaders. So, here I am, affirming and thanking the two particular men in my life, my dad and brother, for their honorable leadership as the men of my family’s household, both past and present.