Self Expression Magazine

Fatherhood & St. Joseph

By Mod31

Note: I wanted to write this article in honor of Father’s Day, but it took a bit more discernment than I thought. In any case, I hope it provides some good reading for you on this Sunday.

Fatherhood & St. Joseph

A few days ago, a friend’s angry status appeared my Facebook newsfeed about gender double standards in society. The trigger for her rant was a conversation with a reference for a potential mentor for a child. The reference said “She’d be a great mentor. I think she’ll make a great mom one day. I mean, if she finds the right husband.” Her beef with this statement was that guys never compliment each other by saying “He’d make a great father one day.” The fact that this seemingly harmless statement can incite anger made me want to reflect on the matter.

As a woman who has been written off and talked down to more than enough time in her life (oftentimes by other women as well as men), I do share my friend’s sentiment of being fed up with society’s double standards. But let’s look at this from a different perspective. Why is it that men don’t affirm each other in this way?
 In her book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know, teen health expert Dr. Meg Meeker asserts, “Fathers are their daughters’ first experience of male love, compassion, kindness, anger, and cruelty. These early experiences are imprinted on a girl’s brain and heart. For the rest of her life, every experience she has with a male is filtered through her experiences with her father.” And I’m sure their influences on their sons are equally impactful. Given this reality, and the state of the fathers (the majority of my friends have been abandoned by their fathers in one way or another) in the world today, it seems to me that the world could benefit from more men striving for these values and traits.

Is being called a potentially good father emasculating? If so, isn’t this a problem that needs to be addressed? Instead of discouraging women from affirming each other’s nurturing qualities, shouldn’t we be encouraging qualities in our men, such as selflessness, prudence, humility, and hard-working, that would be valuable in taking care of a family?

Fatherhood & St. Joseph

Strong men are ones who take after, either knowingly or unknowingly, one of my all time favorite saints – St. Joseph of Nazareth. He only makes a brief appearance in the Bible, but his presence was definitely not insignificant. For all you non-Christians reading this, please bear with me. I’m merely pointing out the fact that this man was a strong example of how a good husband and father should be. There are countless qualities in Joseph that I can write about, but I will focus on two that signifies strong fathers in the making.

  1. Selflessness. My dad once told me that when you are leading a family, the good of the family should take priority over the good of the self. In our extremely individualistic society today, people are so focused on their own “rights” and needs that they forget what it means to be part of something greater than themselves. It should be noted that though Joseph was the least among the Holy Family, he was given the task of protecting and leading Jesus and Mary. And he did this with absolute humility, never in contention with God to possess his family, but always out of a deep love for them, putting their best interest over his own.
  2. Emotional Stability and Strength. My friend told me recently about her boyfriend that, “If he were as dang emotional as me, we would crumble.” It is no secret that we ladies have to deal with a bajillion hormones on a daily basis that affects our emotions and moods in countless ways. Of course we do learn to control these emotions, as any functioning woman is living proof of. But even the strongest of us would be glad to have our men to be our rock, to provide that calm presence when we just need someone to depend on. When finding out about Mary’s situation, Joseph did not succumb to his emotions, which must’ve been overwhelming. Instead, he took everything to quiet reflection to make a prudent decision. When the angel told him in a dream what he must do, he obeyed (Matt 1: 24) and from then on looked after his family: in the escape to Eqypt (Matthew 2:13-15), the return trip to Israel (Matthew 2:19-20) , and finally in their quiet family life in Nazareth (Matthew 2:22-23). Throughout all the dangerous travels and while living in poverty, he was their rock. Every family needs this for a stable and healthy household.

These are not qualities that a person can attain instantly, but are cultivated and strengthened through daily sacrifices and discipline. Instead of avoiding speaking to our feminine qualities, we should think about how to build up the men around us. I say this because although we ladies know in our hearts what to value, we too often allow ourselves to get caught up in handsome faces, frivolous attention and smooth talks – the superficial things that our culture tells us are important. Though this can be intoxicating (to say the least), remember that beauty fades and charm deceives.

Let’s look for more St. Josephs instead of Prince Charmings, because they will do a better job protecting our hearts. At least, better than how that playa at the corner of the bar will.

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By Marie Bourassa
posted on 30 October at 17:30


My apologies for this message which is a bit off-topic. If someone can answer my question it would be greatly appreciated.

Does anyone know where the image of Saint Joseph at work while Baby Jesus is playing with nails comes from? I would like to inquire about its copyright to its owner before using it for an organism.

Many thanks in advance for your help!