Even though it may not be cool to admit this, I do confess I was a girlie-girl growing up. Loved all things pretty and pink. Could not catch a ball to save my life. Wore dresses exclusively until 3rd grade. I liked boys but I did not understand them.

My dad didn’t help this. Though he is a tall 6’2”, strong and tough, he was also a musician and a teacher with a kind and tender heart who would rather play music than catch. He did teach me about old cars and from him I learned to love a 1957 Thunderbird and appreciate the lines of a Model A.

It was from my sports-loving younger brother that I absorbed facts about football and I have him to thank that I can pretend to know the difference between a touchdown and a touchback.

Then I got married and had a son. For some reason this surprised me—I assumed I would only have girls. What was I going to do with a boy? I’d surely screw him up. He surely wouldn’t like me. Would he make me spend hours in the back yard being pummelled by a cement baseball?

Turns out (14 years later) that I adore boys. I find raising a future man one of the greatest privileges of my life. The most valuable thing I have learned about raising a boy (and understanding our male counterparts in general) was actually from a book about marriage called Love and Respect by Emmerson Eggerich:

“Men need respect like air to breathe.”

What? Men need respect more than love? According to the research Eggerich did, the answer is yes. Unequivocably yes. Eggerich says men have an unspoken honor code in which the primary message conveyed between males is mutual respect, a belief in each other that they are capable of handling, fixing, providing, whatever they do.

When I began to accept this idea and examine my (shall we say, “unsuccessful”) interactions with my son, and ask myself if I had conveyed disrespect somehow in my tone or words, an interesting thing began to happen. He responded. Even just thinking to myself, “I respect you,” began to have a positive impact and change our dynamic.

In this issue, we are giving our utmost respect to the men in our lives. We absolutely respect and value all that our fathers, brothers, husbands, sons and friends contribute to our lives and community.

Happy Father’s Day to our dads, and “Maximum respect” to our men.

Kendra Mathewson, Assistant Editor