I’m From The South
No doubt I will get some jokes about this one, but it is time for men to say, well, um, to say, “I love you.”
Yeah. Yeah. I know.
I’m from the South and we southerners are sometimes seen as way too demonstrative; however, it’s time for men to just say it, those three little words, “I love you.”
How I Learned To Say I Love You!
I grew up in an amazing home. My parents were committed to raising two great kids. The third one was me, I was just along for the ride, and to pick on everyone of course. Just kidding, they did an amazing job with Jarred, Meredith and I. And no, I’m not the oldest, no matter how old I look next to them.
One of my earliest memories is being in a hospital bed (I don’t remember what for, there were too many to count – I was that kid) and my Papa (My dad’s dad) was telling me “I love you Justin Tylor!” It’s interesting what our minds allow us to remember and what it filters out. That memory is as real as the coffee I smell brewing right now.
If you have spent more than five minutes with my Papa, “Shorty Brackett,” I can tell you this, you would have been given a hug. I can also tell you that if any one of his five children, seven grandchildren or wife left the room, you’d hear him say, “I love you”, as they left.
Yeah But Was He A Real Man?
You might be wondering, “He sounds awfully emotional, was Papa a real man?”
Well, let’s see:
- Shorty was one of nine children.
- Shorty proudly served his country in WW2.
- He was married to my grandmother until she passed away.
- Shorty was married for 47 years. WOW!
- He owned a very successful construction company in Atlanta, Georgia.
In the South when racial tensions ran high, he was known for being respectful and kind to all people. If Shorty Brackett told you he would do something, come hell or highwater he was going to do it.
Oh and did I say he loved to have fun? My Papa taught me how to fish. I can picture us out there now early in the morning, the mist is still rising off the water. Funny enough, in this memory, he’s getting my miscast fishing lures out of trees. I told you I was that kid!
He taught me how to play cards. He taught me to love the Braves, even in the 80’s when they won four games in ten years. He had an amazing group of friends who to this day are still like family to me. So the answer is yes, he was a real man.
Don’t Just Say It, Live IT
Obviously there is more than just saying, “I love you.”
Here is the difference. Shorty Brackett, told me he loved me, and he showed me he loved me. He showed me by living life with me. By crying with me when I cried. By laughing with me when I laughed. He would go out of his way to help me when I needed help. Papa would show he loved me by spending time with me. He showed he loved me by calling just to see how life was going. Papa showed me he loved me by reinforcing things my own dad was teaching me each day. He also would hug me, he would hug me a lot.
Call To Action A Call To Say It
So, why did I take you down memory lane? 10 minutes ago, my son walked into the room:
Me: Yes Gabe?
Gabe: You know what?
Me: You need more batteries for your toys?
Gabe: I love you!
Me: I love you too Gabe.
As he walked away, I thought about how many times that has happened in his short seven years. More than I can count. It made me think about my early memory of my Papa telling me; “I love you Justin Tylor!” and all the times my dad told and showed me he loved me.
In the Brackett house, real men say I love you. We also show you we love you by living life with you. We hug lots. You know why? Because Shorty Brackett, started a lineage of men, who say and show those around us, that we love them. Nothing makes me happy than knowing my son Gabriel Olsen Brackett is already a man. He is a man because he is strong enough to say I love you. He is a man because his Papa, told my dad that he loved him. My dad told me he loved me. I now have the honor and responsibility to tell and live it out for Gabe.
Do the people around you know that you love them? How are you showing those around you that you love them? Are you giving them your attention, time and resources?
We never know how much time we have with people. Be a hero. Be a man. Tell them: “I love you.” Show them: “I love you!”