Frankly Put: Of Protectors and Providers

Something on my mind has been as persistent as an unwelcome fly at a dinner table. The thought comes about and while it is not remotely a harmful thought, it can be annoying when I am trying to focus on something else. Being me, I decided to sit down with it and actually think about it.

I think back to a fonder time, years ago, where bright faces entered a classroom and like the week of classes to be ahead of them, were greeted with a session of introduction and answering a question; essentially “why are you here?” That was with regard to my course and I remember I gave an answer true to myself at the time. I now sit with that question and fundamentally, the answer hasn’t changed. The way I express the essence of it though, maybe not cut from the same cloth.

Now back to my thought, after sitting with it I found the same pattern. The question “Why do I do what I do?” found its thought process in the same mind map as “Why are you here?”. At its core, its answer is one grounded in stone-cold logic and rationale but it has morphed in the way it is communicated.

With the recent way the question is aimed, I think I am at the point in my life where children and a family are things that I think about a little more than I admit or ever will admit. The thought, not as romantic as it once was in the mind of a younger me. It isn’t linked to a conversation with a lady about how our children will look or whatever. Nunadat. It is a lot of thought but I think I shall really just take one path and run with it for this Frankly Put. “Of providers and protectors…”

Being a man, or in today’s climate, one who identifies as one, I shall be looking at this from that point of view. Maybe next time I shall do the woman’s point of view… Mmmh. I’mma just leave that joke there. Anyway, what does a family mean to a man? I think is a reasonable question to ask any man my age. Not even because you want to gauge whether to have one with him but maybe to pick his brain, if he is willing to let you in. Don’t accept a Dom Toretto reference.

With a lot of the references we make to masculinity, the common tag line is that the role of a man is to protect and provide. In the family, a man is many things but those two are the sort of descriptors that I find really encompass what all other factors really point to. Every so often, I run a service check-up on the paradigm to see if there is a shift but no. Perhaps there is a bias stemming from the way my brother once described a “man”. He said once, something to the regard of “a man is to serve.” I am yet to find a better way of putting it and thus holds my bias.

Tying it in with the question, “why do I do what I do?” Perhaps it is simply the “service” in the man I am. How would that translate into family? Perhaps through the ways I protect and provide. See now, we have come full circle in the thought. Reaching here, my introspection felt the burning sensation to ask “And what are these ways of protecting and providing? What does that look like?”

Okay, the thing is I didn’t necessarily come up with a list that I wrote down and that ideally is where I sit with letting these thoughts run through, I don’t write down some of these things concretely for the sake of continuity of open thought. I did find questions, that pushed themselves to the surface, that I can kind of put out there. Something to chew on? I think it could be for ladies and for gents.

“What does a child need protecting from?” “What does that protection look like?” Essentially, “what do you consider a threat to a child that sparks your protective nature?” While there are many and vast in their likeness, simply out of the sheer vulnerability of child, try to tie it to one value. What is that value you wish to protect in the child? Does that value need to be protected even when the child is grown? What is it you can provide that helps them grow with that protected beyond your protection?

While we are on that, your wife is grown. I assume that you are one who is you know, “the right demographic” and not deserving of being put on some list. I digress. Does she enjoy the same protection and provision to that value? What is the difference and where do you draw the line? In what regard does she fall under your service? I mean you are to serve her too, this isn’t on some dominant-submissive type thing though.

She is the woman out of all the women on this planet you chose. Shouldn’t she be worth you serving? If not, what kind of criteria were you using to sift out the husks from the grain in your courting?

Beyond that, with the provision and protection, there comes a need from those you provide and protect. This need stirs a feeling in the man which I think, observing the men around me, there is some expression of it in every single one. The “need to be needed”. It is especially strong when it comes to that special someone. Perhaps there is a point where “I need you” becomes the new “I love you”.

It is at that moment you really understand the talk of protectors and providers, to put it Frankly.



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Frankhie Muthumbi

Frankhie Muthumbi


Perfectly Imperfect || Human, Alexithymiac Poet, Writer, Musician