Manly protection is a gift that we should be deeply grateful for. Again, it is certainly something that women can and at times must themselves do, for example, when a mother is taking her children to a swimming pool or when a woman is taking her students on a field trip.
However, once again this is a trait that is primarily given to men and so for men it is innate and something that they are absolutely driven to do. Even their bodies are made for protection—just look at their muscles! Of course you can find women who are taller and stronger than some men, but only rarely will you find this in the same family. If you compare most women to most of the men in her own family, you will almost invariably see that her male relatives are taller, stronger, and more muscular than she. This makes it easy to see that men were made, not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually, to be protectors. And the ones they are made to protect are clearly women and children, those who are not as physically strong as they.
Of course we must be careful when saying that women are “weaker” because that word refers only to the physical qualities of women, not to their spiritual or moral qualities. So we should celebrate the fact that God has created men in such a wonderful way and given to them the sacred responsibility of protecting.
And how to describe manly protection? Protectiveness itself is the ability to allow oneself to become a buffer between another person and something that might cause harm. This can happen on any level. Manful protection can be done on a battlefield halfway across the world, and it can be done in one’s own home, or in one’s own workplace, school, etc., anytime something needs to be done that would cause a woman or child distress or discomfort, such as lifting a heavy object, cleaning something that is particularly dirty, such as a garage or basement, or even holding a door since doors are often heavy and large.
For example, does a man have to go to war before we acknowledge that he is a protector? I hope not. How about, again, when he opens a door for a woman. How about when he lifts something heavy? Is he not protecting her from physical distress when he does these things? And when a man goes out of his way to offer his protection to a woman, he deserves a word of thanks! He’s recognizing that she is simply not as strong as he is—this is an indisputable physical fact—and he wants to save her from the effort. How kind and generous are men! And how sad the women who do not recognize this goodness. Recently, a friend’s husband drove her to visit her family not necessarily because he wanted to go on the trip, but rather because the drive was over an hour, and he wanted to be sure that she arrived and got home safely and without too much stress. How good of him to have offered this manly protection!
What about the woman who feels it is her duty to go to war and fight on the front lines? Unfortunately I’d have to say that this woman is not aware that while she may feel protective and actually be a wonderful protector in certain situations, nevertheless, a battleground is not where her gifts will be used to their fullest. She should leave this ultimate protective work to men, the ones to whom God has given this drive, and fulfill her own desire to serve in other ways that are, although different, equally as important.
Furthermore, in a battlefront capacity, not only would she not be using her innate qualities to their fullest, she would be thwarting the efforts of the men who in fact were using theirs. The reason is clear: since men are such natural protectors, and their most basic drive is to protect women and children above all, there is hardly a man alive who could be on a battlefront with a woman and not be keeping a “third eye” out for her. Because of his, the energies he would otherwise be expending on doing his job well would be spent instead at least partially on watching out for his female battle companions. And this “at least partially” could mean life or death for all concerned.
Along these lines, there is an innate quality which men possess which goes along with the gift of manful protection—let’s call it an auxiliary quality. It’s the gift of circumspection. Circumspection is the quality of being able to see, or notice, many different things going on at the same time, and being able to see these things in an extra-ordinarily keen way. You might say it’s the ability to see and oversee things super clearly.
Men possess this ability naturally, and a quality that supplies this gift is their ability to shut out all that is not related to the matter at hand. Just think of the man who must leave his wife at home each day to go out and do his job. He is able to do this because he is can almost compartmentalize things and set his feelings for her aside knowing that his job is, at that moment, the more important duty because without it, he would not be able to provide for her nor protect her from want.
Or take a pastor of a congregation who is comforting a dying person. Surely he knows that his presence is crucial, but if he is called to serve someone in an equally desperate situation, he will have peace in doing what is necessary for each one without the strain and longing which most women might feel in having to leave one for the other. I am sure that the very last thing in the world that any soldier has ever wanted to do was to leave his family to enter a battlefield, but he does it because he knows that it is his particular qualities of manly protection and circumspection which make him suited to the job; his ability to focus on the job at hand enables him to let go of them in pursuit of the greater good at that moment.
Sometimes the need to focus may make a man appear short-tempered or irritable because there are times when doing something even as simple as watching the news on tv can absorb him to the point that if he hears background noise or talking, he is pulled away from his point of concentration. If the information he’s watching is something important to him, he might ask for quiet, and he can appear almost selfish when in fact he’s trying to do his job—protecting—by literally watching out for and keeping track of events, weather, etc.
Another quality that men possess as an aid to their gift of protection, and related very much to their gift of being circumspect, is that of keen and eagle-eyed sight, or visual acuity. Men are visual—have you ever heard that expression? Men are indeed visual, and this means that one of their sharpest senses is that of sight. It’s been said that women, on the other hand, are more tactile, meaning that one of their most naturally keen senses is that of touch–think of a mother’s loving hands. But for men, keen sight is one of their sharpest gifts. It’s what helps them to be circumspect not only in an intellectual way, but in a physical way too—they can literally “see” many things at one time on a level “above.”
That’s what makes them such great protectors. They can focus both their mind and their sight, literally, over and above the usual goings-on and concentrate on the task at hand in any situation from, for example, getting a platoon from the ship to the shore, to getting a sports team to the goal on the other side of the field, or to getting a wife and children from the plane to the car. Seems simple enough, but if a woman ever has to walk through a parking lot at night, or a campground or a forest, I’ll bet she’ll be happier if she has a man with her, and this is one of the main reasons why.
I guess it’s pretty clear that if I had a choice between being defended by a platoon full of men versus a platoon full of women, I’m pretty sure I would pick the men. Enough said.
Along those lines, let’s spend a moment talking about one of the most simple and unnoticed acts of manful protection there is: the opening and closing of a car door for a woman. Sadly, this habit has pretty much completely fallen by the wayside in our culture for many reasons, one of which is that car doors nowadays are generally easier to manipulate, but another, I believe, is that women simply do not understand what is behind the act of a man’s opening the car door for us. I believe this ordinary act is really quite significant and very much reflective of many other acts of manful protection.
How so? First, it is his way of offering to spare a woman a small amount of trouble. His arms are stronger than hers, and so he wants to spare her the trouble of manipulating the door. Next, he knows that anywhere a car is parked, there is always a chance that danger can be afoot, especially at night, so he wants to be there to see her safely into or out from her side of the vehicle. How wonderful is that? This act is an ordinary way for a man to exercise his gift of protection, and when he exercises his gifts in small ways, he will stay practiced and ready to exercise them in larger and more important ways too.
Yet another common way that the gift of protectiveness is used by men is in driving a vehicle. Men are, in general, better suited to the art and skill of driving and navigation than women are, and their gift of protectiveness is the reason why. While there may be some women who are better drivers than some men, I’m speaking in general terms, and in general, men have a gift that makes them better suited to this duty. An auxiliary gift here is, again, that of circumspection. Men take successful navigation seriously–the lives of their loved ones and others literally depends on it, whether they’re navigating a ship across the ocean or a car across town.
Driving in our culture is a risk-taking venture, and men see it that way. When they get behind a wheel, it’s not so that they can socialize or multi-task. They won’t often talk on their cellphones, much less text while driving, because of the distractions involved. Their purposeful intention is to deliver someone or something to a certain destination safely, soundly, and efficiently. When that delivery involves people, not to mention the beloved members of their own family, they see the importance of their duty.
Let’s apply the gift of circumspection to the action of driving a vehicle. We can see that when a man is driving, there are literally hundreds of things happening at every moment. As the car progresses along the highway, there is a new landscape flying by every second, and at every moment a new danger: other moving vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, animals, branches from trees, blowing gravel, not to mention all that might be going on inside his vehicle with children, radio playing, etc. When men are driving, somehow they are able to block out all else and at the same time watchfully pull in everything around them so that it all gets processed. In short, here’s a higher level of ability inside a man’s soul that makes him that much more qualified for this task. Women can be excellent drivers, but when it comes to having an innate gift of successful navigation, men win.
The other example that comes to mind to illustrate this fact is in the area of wartime defense. When a male soldier goes out into the field, he is able to use this gift of circumspection to assess the situation. He is able to listen, watch, and literally feel a situation to focus on where the imminent danger lies. He is able to block out all else and concentrate on the goal at hand, even if that goal is to selflessly lay down his life. The same holds for police officers, firemen, rescue workers, not to mention athletes who daily place their lives in danger on the field, and all those who are in other dangerous situations on a daily basis. Thankfully there are generous men who take up these roles for the good of all.
So the qualities related to protection are: circumspection, visual acuity, courage, bravery, selflessness, even bravado, and sometimes even impetuousness, which is related to determination. Manly protection is also honest, generous, thoughtful, hard-working, courageous, just, strong in character, gentle in demeanor, true, loyal, and faithful. Men have these gifts, and in protecting, they are able to use them for the good of all. Wow, thank you, dear Father in Heaven, for manly protectors!!