Men find their identity often wrapped up in what they do for a living. “I’m a doctor,” or “I’m a bus driver,” or “I’m an environmental technician” – that means a garbage collector. Don’t laugh at that job though – two weeks without them and they become some of the most sought after people in your neighbourhood!
So, for me, I’m a husband of 18 years and a dad to my 17 year old son and 15 year old daughter. I am a brother to my fellow bikers and friend to my colleagues…some of them anyways. I am a son, a cousin, an uncle, a brother-in-law and a grandson. I have worked consistently since I was 14 years old, beginning in “snow removal and lawn care” then to retail and fast food. I have worked as a security officer, a group home counsellor, a crisis support worker, a family support worker and a community consultant. I have been a volunteer in my church, in youth programs, in seniors ministry, on various boards, in prison ministry, in a motorcycle ministry, in our community, and at a crisis phone centre. I am a listener. I am a questioner. I want to know people’s stories. When I was recently asked by a biker in his full colours “Who are you?” the answer was simple. I’m Todd.
I believe that we have moved in the wrong direction in terms of relationships. Social networking sites have taken friendships to an arms length. We can have hundreds, even thousands of friends, but many of us have never felt more alone in the world. We have become afraid of each other and have escalated our level of intolerance and frustration. People complain about each other without even considering that the other person may have a point and they aren’t speaking to be hurtful. Opinions are okay!
I believe that we need to embrace simplicity. The things that matter. Things like friendships, sun tea, books, quiet time, jazz, country, and folk music, acoustic music – nothing techno or re-worked for a dance club. Things like respect for differences – respect for people – but standing up for beliefs. Faith in Jesus. Family.
Maybe I am too idealistic, but I recognize in all of our progress we have not necessarily progressed. People are what matters. People with stories, hearts, feelings and ideas, even if they are different than my own.
So when I am asked, “Who are you?” the answer is still, “I’m Todd.” But to stop and talk is to get to know me. We just might end up being friends.