We've heard an awful lot of horrible stories about men recently. Famous men who with prestigious jobs have fallen from grace as brave women stepped forward to tell of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
One by one their names appear in the news. And each time, I recoiled a bit in astonishment. Really! Another one?
But at the same time, it is not altogether unexpected. Is it? Nearly every woman I know can tell a story of sexual misconduct or inappropriate treatment. In fact, today I was sitting next to two young women at Starbucks who were discussing the latest news, that Matt Lauer, of Today Show fame, had lost his job.
The one girl said to the other, "It's almost a rite of passage to be harassed."
Incredibly, the other one nodded.
This is terribly, horribly sad.
I am a 52-year-old mom, and I can only hope and pray that my 20-year-old daughter does not have to suffer this type of treatment by her professors, her bosses, or the other men who cross her path. I am glad women are speaking up and pushing back. I am thankful the issue is being addressed.
At the same time, I feel obliged to note that I have worked with men who have treated me with dignity and respect. They are the good ones. And I am thankful for them.
These men gave me credit, in public, for accomplishing a job. They took chances on me, even fresh out of college, and treated me seriously. They promoted me. They listened to what I had to contribute at meetings, calling me in to ask for my opinion and advice.
They told me I looked nice without making me feel demeaned or uncomfortable. They laughed at my jokes. They asked about my family. They complimented not just how I looked, but who I was as an employee, a mother, a creative professional.
They rode alone in elevators and in cars with me. We went on business trips, and their behavior was always above board, never making me feel less than or imposed upon.
They talked to me, taking me seriously, looking me in the eyes, and valuing me for far more than being a pretty face. They hired me for hard jobs. They confronted me when I was wrong. They expected me to do great things, sometimes beyond what I felt I could even accomplish.
When I cried, they took compassion and offered a kind word or a Kleenex. They prayed for me. They asked how I was doing. They wrote me notes of encouragement when I needed it most.
These are the good guys. No, these are the great guys.
For each of them - for my friends, my colleagues, my neighbors, my bosses, my professors, my mentors, my dates, who made me feel respected, loved, and valued as a person, I give you heartfelt thanks.
In this current climate, where men are being scrutinized, you are to be praised. Thank you for setting an example that others should follow.