Celebrating Men's Health, Diversity, and Fatherhood

Posted by forgive4health@gmail.com on June 25, 2020 at 8:45 AM

June is the middle of the year and the month when we celebrate men;s health, diversity, Juneteenth, and Father's Day. June is a month that we will never forget as it has been filled with riots, weather storms, and increasing rates of COVID-19. It seems that there is never a dull moment and that we have been all riding a wild bull in a world of chaos this month. But what about the health of our men? Or the issue of diversity, race, and fatherhood? I am glad you asked. You see, I honestly believe that keeping our men or fathers healthy while celebrating their diversity is an excellent approach to improving health and wellness in American men. Currently, there are an estimated 168 million men in the United States. As you imagine, not all of these men are fathers, but the Census Bureau indicated that in 2014, there were about 72 million fathers in America. Unfortunately, many American children are been raised in single-parent homes. Currently, men make up 17 percent of single parents, and in 2016, two million single fathers were living with their children under age 18; nine percent were raising three or more children younger than age 18; about 40 percent were divorced, 38 percent were never married, 16 percent were separated, and six percent were widowed. Another interesting fact is that about 46 percent of these men had an annual family income of $50,000 or more. So, many men and their children are living alone, therefore, one could just imagine the impact these living conditions could have on the health of these dads. As we celebrate dads and men this month, what can we do to help the men who are trying to be good dads, those who have abdicated their positions as dads, and the men who are aspiring to become fathers to be better men and dads? I am glad you asked. First, I think it starts with improving the personal physical, mental, spiritual, social, and emotional health of all of our men. Good men and dads are vital to the progress of our communities and for our children to thrive. So, we want them around as long as possible. So, men must focus on keeping themselves healthy while they work to provide for their families. This starts by ensuring that they receiving all recommended preventive care services, manage any preexisting health conditions, eating nutritious smoke, not smoke or quit if they do, and remaining physically active for at least 150 minutes per week. I know that these recommendations go against the image of the "super dad" who is never ill or cries, but even "super dads" can get sick or hurt. So, remember that a stitch in time will save nine. So, get to know your primary care doctor and make your health a priority. Secondly, men must realize that the image of the best dad is in Christ our Lord. Christ loves without judging, is always supportive, protects, provides, and persevere, despite all of our faults and shortcomings. This is the best model for any earthly father to emulate. However, dads, if you are not doing these things, don't stay in your guilt and shame, but ask for God's help to get back on the right path. After all, even your toughest son needs a dad to support him from time to time. That son is also watching you and will treat his wife the way you treated his mom. Of course, your daughters and wives desperately need you as well. So, ask for God's help and be present for your wife and children. Third, to keep our men and dads healthy there is a need for them to build strong relationships with other men, mentors, and accountability partners. After all, there should be someone with whom they can cry, laugh at themselves, pray with, and fall back on as a place for emotional and spiritual support. No man is indeed an island. So, this month, can I suggest to all men that they consider widening their circle of friends and work to find someone who can support you in these and other ways? Fourthly, strong men invest in their wives and children. Believe me, when you are sick, work won't come to bath you, wipe your tears, but those kids and your wife or partner will. So, keep your family as your priority. As a wise woman once said "God first, family second, and career third." So, don't make the mistake of changing these priorities around and remember your work is not who you are, but your family is your crown and glory. Put the home in its rightful place and watch how God will reward you for doing so. Lastly, wise dads and fathers plan for the future. They consider what will happen when they are no longer on this earth. Do they plan for the best outcome and for what will happen to their wife and children after they are deceased? The bible reminds us that a good man leaves a legacy for his children's children. Since we will all die, think about the legacy you would like to leave, and start working towards that goal. Begin with the end in mind! The COVID -19 pandemic have reminded us how short life can be, and so as we celebrate our diversity, let us remind our sons, brothers, fathers, grandfathers, relatives, and friend to make their health a priority so that they can have a long and healthy life. Men, please share with us how you prioritize your health and work to remain healthy during this time. Women, let me know how you are encouraging the men in your life to take care of their health. Looking forward to your comments. Stay safe! Dr. Meg

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