DIY Disasters – we are drawn to the attempts of others to “go at it on their own” in the same way that we pause and watch the carnage of a traffic accident.
Its a popular show these days. A couple wants to get in to their dream home. They spend time searching for the perfect home. They find one, make an offer, finalize the deal and eagerly look forward to moving day. They are in their first home. But a month later, things start to fall apart (with the house, I mean). There are leaks in the bedroom ceilings. The electricity shuts off when a toaster is plugged in with a cell phone charger. The floors get mushy in the bathroom. And that is just the beginning. So they call a very famous home inspector who discovers the roof has nails poking out from the attic through the shingles, the wiring in most of the house has been pieced together with electrical tape and the toilet is leaking under the floor. Apparently the previous owner had “friends who knew all about home reno stuff” and now this couple is left with a do-it-yourself disaster that will mean tens of thousands of dollars to fix.
In the same way, the attempts we make to deal with the problems or struggles we run into in life on our own often leave us with bigger messes in our lives and relationships than what we started with.
And men seem to be often guilty of this. We are born and bred to be independent and to at least look like we have it all together. Weakness is a sign of frailty. Frailty is a sign of un-masculinity. We grow up with superheroes that struggle yet usually succeed with enough grit, effort and . . . luck. Our genetic makeup is to take risks, tackle the odds, and be the strong one for our families. Yet the push to protect ourselves from exposing our frailty forces us into a DIY mentality. A relationship with our wife may be falling apart, but we deflect the problem onto her or we step up with greater efforts that eventually miss the mark or we bury the truth, hoping it will go away or we let our anger do the talking and we are left with the emotional carnage of a DIY disaster. We go at it on our own.
Or you stumble upon your teenage daughter’s Facebook page that reveals she is pregnant and is making references to having an abortion. You may avoid the issue entirely, secretly hoping she goes through with it so you don’t have to face it. Or your anger may do the talking and she choses to runaway somewhere. Either way, you have tried to deal with this on your own.
But how willing are we to open up to other men about our responsibility for these difficult situations? Are we willing to tell other men how these things affect us and (dare I say it) how we “feel” about them? We men don’t talk about these things to others to readily. We especially don’t talk about the stresses of parenting or marriage unless it involves a joke or sarcastic comment that we hope will just keep the emotional truth about ourselves and the situation at bay. But we need to have a couple of guys we can talk to. DIY relationship fixes will lead to a disaster 100% of the time. We need others to know what is going on. We need to listen to the wisdom of other men.
Surrounding ourselves with good men by involving them in our lives in very real ways reduces the likelihood that we will create a DIY disaster that others just can’t keep their eyes off of. In fact, maybe others will have their eyes on us because they want to know what it is we are doing to avoid possible DIY disasters.
But how often do we really pay attention to things that are going well? That’s a thought for another blog.