Man The Provider
I take my role as a provider in my family to heart. Note, that I said a provider not the provider. In today’s economic and social climate it appears to be the norm that in a marriage and in a family both parents are providers. I applaud all those men and women who are being and doing all they can to provide for their families no matter where in the world and no matter the circumstances. Well done! The role of a provider is a big responsibility and is not particularly easy. It is, however, very rewarding.
I suppose I should underline here that in this context provider relates to the provision of money and material needs and what that allows us to purchase and invest in for the sake of our day-to-day living and our aspired lifestyle. I realise that being a provider can cover many other things which I plan to address in the next few posts on men’s roles in today’s world. In all our roles, as men, we are meant to be role-models and lead by example. Actually, that’s true for anyone.
Now…I know in our household, the role of provider is shared. Good thing. That was not always the case.
There was a time when I thought I had to be the provider. A male thing I think. My worth was wrapped up in my ability to provide for my wife and, one day, for my family. If I could not provide then my belief was that it meant I was a failure as a man, husband and father. My ego and my pride had a lot to answer for.
Can any of you guys relate to this so far?
It happened when Nancy and I first got married I was the bread-winner. I had joined the British Army as an officer and, as we were posted overseas, there was not much opportunity for a job for Nancy despite her having a degree. She did some volunteer work on base. Fortunately, during my service I was paid well and we were able to save well too. Ahh…back in the days when your money seemed to go farther!!
That income honeymoon lasted 5 years.
When I got out of the army I managed to get a post-graduate position at a veterinary school. This meant I was on a scholarship and my monthly income reduced by nearly 2/3. As a result, Nancy got a job as a part-time cashier at a supermarket. We held our own each month financially. Just. At the time I did not feel any threat to my manhood as a provider. After all, I was still contributing.
However, since that time I have experienced several periods of unemployment, lack of clients and cashflow in my business and suffered significant income deficit due to some bad business relationships and bad debt. For the majority of our 21+ years of marriage Nancy has taken an increasing role in providing for us and the family. About 2 years ago, I was feeling a failure as a man, a husband, a father and a leader. The business hit a wall. Income dried up. I was not the provider. This was when my true belief surfaced because it was fully threatened. I believed I should be the primary provider. I confess I was angry at God. I thought He was Jehovah Jireh our Provider. He placed me at the head of our family surely to provide. He was meant to answer my prayers so that I would provide. I was doing my bit but no matter what I tired I hit a wall. God did not appear to be answering.
It took a while for me to realise that maybe I was wrong about my belief. I was learning a very humbling lesson. As the saying goes, "Pride comes before a fall." I was trying to do everything on my own in my own strength. I finally got to a point where I was teachable. My focus was blurred as a man. My ability to provide is not all about me.
Decide to provide without pride.
The birds in our garden this winter do not worry about their next meal. They go about their day searching for food, trusting that all will be well. Whilst my business has been going through a prolonged drought season, my wife’s career has grown and we have been blessed and provided for in many wonderful ways – tax rebates, unexpected new business, timely deals on items we needed etc. In truth we have always had enough. At times I sit back and marvel at God’s provision and how timely and perfect it is.
Finally, things are beginning to turn around. Part of the answer has been Leading Men Only. It has been a long time coming. Sometimes ego and pride can slow the learning and the change that is necessary for us to become more of the leader we are meant to be at work, rest and play. Being a provider means so much more than just money and material needs. One key thing I have learned is humble yourself or you will be humbled.
As men, we are generally wired to lead. From the dawn of time when we brought back our kill, as men we are also wired to provide. Our leadership and ability to provide is relative. In life and leadership there are always seasons. And this can vary in duration. Being a provider spreads beyond just a financial remit. More to come on our other roles as men.
Clarify your own belief regarding your role as a provider.
Dr Richard Norris is a self-leadership master who equips and empowers aspiring men from the boardroom to the locker room to the family room to lead the life they deserve and desire. Clients find Richard’s practical, simple and easy to implement tools, tips and techniques deliver quick results and progress their Journey of Success. Richard’s own self-leadership has developed from a diverse career of experiences as a veterinarian, army officer, competitive swimmer, award-winning coach, speaker, author, husband and father.