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Lessons Learned from Hurricane Harvey

Today, I thought it would be a good idea to address something that has impacted millions of people over the last several weeks and that is the nightmare in Houston created by Hurricane Harvey.

As I’ve thought about what those people must be experiencing and of course what we’ve seen online and on TV, I can’t help but think of a couple glaring lessons we should all look to when it comes to how we conduct ourselves as men.

I see some areas of improvement and I see some areas that, from what I can tell are absolutely amazing to see in the wake of such a horrific situation.

So, let’s get into these lessons today.

BE PREPARED

The first lesson that I want to talk about is that of preparation. It has become painfully obvious that there are so many people who have failed to plan or prepare in any measureable way for what this Hurricane did.

Of course, it’s difficult to know what to be prepared for but, as the founder of the Boy Scouts Lord Baden Powell would say, “be prepared for anything.”

I don’t think it’s any surprise that the Houston area could be hit with a Hurricane but I think the magnitude of this storm caught people completely off guard.

The result of that is people being stranded for hours and days, people without food and water, and fortunately the death toll during this disaster has been relatively low. But, I can’t help but think that number would be even lower had more people expected the best but planned for the worst.

I don’t want to come across as callused or un-empathetic to what is happening in Texas but I do believe this should serve as a grave reminder to stock up on provisions (food, water, etc.), create emergency plans based on the disasters we are likely to experience, have some cash set aside, create a bolt bag should you need it, and so much more (by the way, we’re going to be featured some survival type podcasts in the coming weeks and months).

WHERE ARE THE MEN?

The next lesson I wanted to cover is that nobody complains about masculinity when things are going wrong.

We hear so much more about “toxic masculinity” when things are going well but, when things are going wrong, people aren’t telling men not to be men. They’re asking men to step up fully into their role as men – that of protector, provider, and presider.

I’ve been talking about these roles for 2 ½ years and I think, for the most part, people have been receptive to that idea but I have heard from others that this is an outdated, antiquated way of thinking.

It’s easy to believe that when the skies are blue. But when things go wrong, we hear cries of help for someone to protect, provide, and lead for those who, for whatever reason, cannot do it for themselves.

This is why it’s critical that we tune out the naysayers of masculinity. Those who would have us be anything other than men are those who will beg us for help when things go wrong because they have failed to plan for themselves.

It’s imperative we be prepared for that day. It will come. We don’t know when and we don’t know how. But it will come.

MASCULINITY IS ALIVE AND WELL

Which leads me to my next point and that is that masculinity is alive and well. Turn on the news or do a simple Google search and you’re likely to see hundreds and thousands of volunteers who have stepped away from their jobs, their homes, the families, their callings to serve the people of Houston.

If there ever was a question of where the “real men” are, I think we can plainly see that question is being answered in the form of volunteers, men bringing in their boats, guys working together to save lives, donating time, blood, money, food, water, and other important resources.

Frankly it’s inspiring to watch an army of men who are adequately trained and stocked to be able to accomplish as much as they have on their own dime.

It’s interesting to see the media try to scramble for any negative story they can but, when you look around, all you see is good.

I’m not trying to make light of this horrible experience but look at what we’re learning. Look at the example that is being set. Look at the people helping each other regardless of the color of their skin, what side of the political aisle they sit on, or what their socioeconomic status happens to be.

This leads me to the last point I want to make and certainly not the last lesson we’ll glean from this experience.

STRUGGLE IS IMPORTANT

It may not seem like it now – especially for those immediately impacted by Hurricane Harvey – but struggle is good.

Struggle teaches us lessons. Struggle makes us physically strong, mentally tough, and emotionally resilient. Struggle brings people together to fight against a common enemy. It binds us. It unites us. It put things in perspective.

We spend our entire lives trying to avoid struggle and, although I’m not suggesting you go looking for it, we should strive to see it for what it is – an opportunity to learn.

Houston will get through this. You will get through your struggles. If you consider the alternative, it’s not really a choice at all, is it? And, when your back is against the wall, I think you’ll be surprised at what you can actually accomplish.

Again, let me run through these lessons again: be prepared, people don’t complain about masculinity when things are going wrong, masculinity is alive and well, and last but not least, struggle is important.

On that note, I want you to know that Order of Man is trying to do its part. What we’ve done is created a #HOUSTONSTRONG shirt available for purchase. All the proceeds from these shirts will go directly to the support and relief for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

If you’d like to pick up your #HOUSTONSTRONG shirt, you can head to www.orderofman.com/houstonstrong and show your support.

Guys, this is a tragic event but it’s also an opportunity to show the world how we believe men should behave. Donate, buy this shirt, volunteer, give what you can. Live up to the mantra we live by – protect, provide, and preside.

Houston will get through this. They’ll do it because we’re all going to rally around them. I’m inspired by the people of Houston and how resilient and tough they are. I’m inspired by the thousands of men who have put their lives on hold to help. I’m inspired by you.

Let’s do our part.

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