Eve(s)dropping on a Million Men
Promise Keepers


D.C. Fathers and sons standing shoulder to shoulder, hundreds of thousands strong on the Washington Mall. Seeking atonement. Weeping tears of repentance. Talking about family and country. Praying to God.

What's not to love?

Simply this: For every man on the Mall there was a woman who wasn't. For every son who bonded with his father there was a daughter who did not.

The Promise Keepers rally this month and the Million Man March two years ago were, in large part, about repairing the American family. It strikes me as odd that they would try to do so by leaving half the family behind.

I don't question the sincerity of the men and boys across the country who went to D.C. in search of fellowship, redemption and spiritual renewal. Nor do I begrudge them whatever good they found there.

Want to honor your wife? Go scrub the toilet. Change the baby. make dinner. Not occasionally, but as a matter of course.

What I don't understand is why they would deny that experience to their wives and daughters. Imagine the power of having families joined together before God and the nation. Now that would be a statement; finally — family values that are more than words in a speech.

Instead, the events were by, for and about men. But that is an old story.

What's new is the spectacle of it all: men sobbing and hugging, kneeling, waving their arms, lying prostrate "face-down before God" — all of it caught on camera for all the world to see. The imagery was irresistible, making for great photo spreads, poignant portraits and profiles, and perfect TV candy.

The coverage made me uneasy. I was disturbed by the image of a sea of men so desperate to feel something, so apparently alienated from each other, their families, themselves.

But what bothered me most was the fanfare. The hype. The "glam"ing of prayer, taking the most private and sacred of rituals and bathing it in neon.

My brothers: if you want to atone, repent, rededicate yourself to God and your families — that's great. Just do it where it counts: at home.

Stand in your living room, back yard or in your church, gather your family about you and tell them, with God as your witness, how you plan to change.

And then do it.

Want to honor your wife? Go scrub the toilet. Change the baby. Defrost the 'fridge. Make dinner. Not occasionally, but as a matter of course.

Want to honor your family? Turn off the TV. Unplug the computer. Get to know the kids who bear your name. Get to know your wife.

Be there.

Don't do it because someone is watching. Don't do it expecting applause. Do it because it is what decent people do.

Promise Keepers

© Copyright by POINT, 1997
Last modified 10/15/97