By: Carly Walker //
It’s a phrase I have now heard like a broken 80’s record at more “girl talks” than I can remember. Women sigh, cry, and slam their heads on tables repeating it in the same tone of desperation:
Where have all the good men gone?
To be fair, it always comes off more dramatic than it probably needs to be, and less awesome than when Bonnie Tyler first introduced the cry for help in “Holding Out for a Hero” on the Footloose soundtrack in 1984. I am sure at the time Bonnie and other women used this phrase in reference to Kevin Bacon.
Actually, I am almost positive.
But I think if Miss Tyler had to try dating men in 2013, her question would have evolved to something much different and it would have sounded like this:
Where have all the dads gone?
I’m not just talking about current dads. I am talking about men who approach relationships in a way that is much different than the current norm. Let’s go back to the 80’s shall we? Enter: My Dad and this mustache.
This is Jeff Walker. Back when this photo was taken, he was an aspiring musician slaying women with his keyboard. His band was doing well and even did USO tours flying out to Navy Ships to perform for hundreds of thousands of people in rad matching jumpsuits.
He loved it. But not as much as my mom.
When he met her, he loved her, 3 months later he put a ring on it, and they were married four months later.
He gave up everything to work in the plumbing supply industry to support what came next: babies.
My Dad is not the only one who gave up his life dreams for a family. In fact, his story isn’t uncommon in Mormon culture. The majority of LDS men get married in their 20’s and have kids well before their 30’s. These young dads are sometimes still in school, sometimes working low-paying jobs, and sometimes coming to work looking much more hung over than the best partiers I know.
I have seen many a bachelor in Los Angeles get wide-eyed, swear, and ask me….WHY? Why give up your freedom at such a young age? Why give up parties, women, money, etc. etc. when you are so young?
I am sure my Dad asked himself the same question when instead of playing for hundreds of thousands of people, he was playing for just five. And I am sure there are times that his eyes got wide thinking about the late-night parties, shows, and free time he gave up to try to lull kids to sleep with different renditions of Steely Dan songs that babies probably don’t appreciate as much as they should.
But I know that if he had a chance he wouldn’t do it over and this is why–
As the Beatles put it so simply: “Love is all you need.”
Mormons believe that the greatest happiness you can have in this life comes from loving other people. That might sound obvious – but we believe that families (whether they be your own kids, or the family you’ve adopted to love and take care of) help you understand what that kind of love really means.
I remember the first time I had an ounce of that understanding. It was when I held my baby nephew for the first time. Like Brandon Flowers from the Killers says in the video below, it’s almost as if a chamber in your heart opens up that you didn’t even know existed.
—Take one quick second to recover from watching Brandon Flowers melt your heart with music and babies…..and onto the next thought.—
In his book the Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis said:
“I believe, to be sure, that any man who reaches Heaven will find that what he abandoned (even in plucking out his right eye) has not been lost: That the kernel of what he was really seeking even in his most depraved wishes will be there, beyond expectation, waiting for him in ‘the High Countries’.
I believe this principle applies to Fatherhood.
My dad is one of the happiest people I know. He gave up a lot to be that happy and he gained more in the end than I think he thought he would. Today he is still a performing musician, but now he has a family to come home to that adores him for it.
I like to hope that Dads (Mormon or not) aren’t a dying breed. The type of men who make promises and keep them, who fight for the people they love, and who give at the cost of rarely getting. I hope that there are still men who crack terrible jokes, embarrass all their loved ones, and wear khaki shorts because TJ Maxx had a sale. I hope years from now men still exist that take on the challenge of trying to awkwardly give advice to sobbing teenage daughters or who fall asleep on the floor while their kids drive tiny Hot Wheels all over their back.
Because let’s be honest, when women ask “where have all the good men gone.” Those are the men we’re talking about.