My relationships with my mom and sister look different than my relationships with my dad and brother. For one, I talk to my mom and sister a lot more—it’s not uncommon for me to pick up my phone and see twenty (or more!) missed messages in the group text we three share, and our phone conversations can sometimes surpass the one-hour mark. With my dad and brother, conversations tend to be more brief, but no less meaningful.
The women and men in my family also fill different needs. If I’m upset or struggling with something, I know my mom will give me tender advice and be a partner in my processing—and there’s a lot of processing. With my dad, I know I’ll have a much shorter conversation, but come away with his calm and matter-of-fact perspective. My sister understands me in the unique way that only a sister can, and she is ever-encouraging and gentle. My brother isn’t afraid to call it like it is, often with a certain lightness that only a younger brother can bring, and I appreciate it to no end.
But the different dynamics, largely along gender lines, don’t make one set of relationships any more or less valuable than the other. In fact, the contrasts between the women and the men in my family are part of what make those relationships so valuable. I admire my dad so much for setting a strong example of what it looks like to be a great man, and I have such respect for the way my brother has grown into following that example.
This week at Verily, we’re considering the presence of men in our lives. Our longform takes a deep dive into how feminism has led men to push aside certain traits that are unique to them. Another piece highlights the unique role dads have in daughters’ lives. And in Consider This, a single woman and a married woman reflect on their work lives, including how having or not having a spouse has influenced each of them in their careers.
Who are the men in your life that you value, and why? Tell us here.