You may have noticed that male sports teams have female cheerleaders, but female teams do not have male cheerleaders. For that matter, if you go back in time to the days of knights, a damsel waved her knight on from the tower and it was the damsel’s scarf he carried near his heart when he went into battle. You never hear about a knight cheering his damsel on. Why is that?
If I may offer a theory, I believe there is something innately in the heart of a man that responds to a woman believing he has what it takes. God put it there. It is the reason Ephesians 5:33 tells us it is so important for a wife to respect her husband.
A couple of weeks ago, we took our oldest grandson to Washington D.C. and New York to celebrate his 12th birthday. One of our purposes was to begin “calling him up” to becoming a young man. Garrett has a fast mind and a phenomenal sense of direction. We told him one of his jobs was to ensure I didn’t get lost. (My sense of direction – not so good.) He was willing to do this until, one evening, I temporarily misplaced the Washington Monument. When he realized the severity of the situation, he stepped up, mastered the city maps and the subway systems, and took his responsibility very seriously. Even as he walked 20 feet in front of us down a crowded street, he would turn around to make sure I was in tow. The smile on his face told me he was pleased I acknowledged his ability in this area and that I was counting on him.
I think that quality that God put in men’s hearts starts with boys who are just becoming men and lasts the rest of their lives. Think about the men who have been part of your life—dads and brothers and grandpas and friends of the family. Have you witnessed their pleasure when you acknowledged them for something they did uniquely well or sincerely thanked them for their manly service to you? More importantly, can you remember an instance when your believing in that man enabled him to do more or perform higher than he would have otherwise?
In a letter to Family Life Today supporters on September 22, 2010, Dennis Rainey wrote:
“[My wife]… Barbara has become a student of me. It has been her belief in me that has been my fuel on many a day when my tank was running on empty. She has known just what I needed. Barbara had a choice: She could’ve been my judge, reminding where I’ve failed. Or she could’ve encouraged me, respected me, and loved me. Fortunately, she’s truly come alongside me and been my helper. As a result, she has become the most powerful person in my life. As a wife, God has given you a unique influence on your husband’s life. You can help your husband soar or sink. You are that powerful in his life.”
Do the themes “believed in me” and “respected me” hit you over the head the way they hit me? How about the line, “As a result, she has become the most powerful person in my life”? I agree with Dennis Rainey that, as women, we have a phenomenal power to inspire the men in our lives to greatness. Too often, we opt for trying to manipulate them to change. It’s an inferior methodology. Instead, we need to respect, encourage, believe—and call them up.
I hope you’ll join us next week as Bob gives a man’s perspective on how women have inspired him.