I wasn’t there when it happened. I’d like to think it was just after the family had finished dinner. It was just mom and dad sitting there, unwinding after a day of work for both of them. The kids were probably running around the yard of the little house tucked away in the woods on the Alabama/Tennessee border, when IT happened. Mrs. Cross looked at her husband and said “I think I’d like to have a basement.” A few words that would set in motion the best example of what it looks like for a Southern Gentleman to provide for his family.
The couple in the story are the parents of Dr. Randy Cross, professor of Literature at Calhoun Community College. He told me the whole story, which you can listen to here, during a podcast interview. But the cliff notes version is Mr. Cross did what I couldn’t and most likely wouldn’t even try: he dug a basement under his house.
Using nothing more than a pick, shovel and wheelbarrow.
No backhoe, no tractor, no help. Just him.
Mr. Cross worked second shift at a plant in Florence, so he’d come home from work around 11 pm, sleep a few hours, then dig until it was time to head back to work. Day after day. Not only did he dig the basement, he built the walls, put in the electrical service and painted everything.
And it only took him 2 years.
Why? Because that’s what Providers do. We provide the resources those around us need to not just survive but thrive.
(Some years later when his wife mentioned moving, Mr. Cross did tell her if she wanted a basement, she better a pick a house that had one because his digging days were over!)
Manliness is not only being able to take care of yourself but others as well.
Privileges aren’t for everybody. They’re reserved for men like you.
If providing is more chore than privilege for you, start looking into the eyes of your wife or kids when they see you provided something they needed. Doesn’t even have to be a big thing. If you’ll start to pay attention to the look in their eyes, you’ll discover a sense of accomplishment you’ll become addicted to.
Being a provider is a tough job. But to borrow an old ad phrase, it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.