Men Need To Have Purpose

Men need to have a purpose in life.  A reason to get up in the morning.  Absent purpose, why live?  I hear it in the voices and read it in the posts men leave on “Widowers Support Network – Members Only” (WSN-MO), a FREE and private “men’s only” page on Facebook.  With the passing of their brides, men lose much of the purpose for which they live.  Purpose enhances a man’s self-esteem.  Purpose provides men the means to see value in their existence.  Perhaps that’s why men become fixers.  If you give a man a problem, he’ll apply a fix to it.  If the fix does not work, no problem.  He will use a second fix.  And he will most likely do it without asking for help.  Why?  Because men hate asking for help.  Example: When did you last see a man ask for directions?  The only thing that saved modern men from endlessly driving around in circles was the invention of the portable GPS.

Men have a bias for action.  Action is one behavior I would encourage them to embrace.  It’s something I think men benefit from doing.  Want proof of how men are wired to be fixers and have a bias for action?  Let me tell you about my brother Don.  Don and his wife, Kathy, were on a plane.  A young boy seated behind Kathy kept kicking the back of her seat.  Kathy leaned over and mentioned it to Don.  Immediately, Don looked back over his seat and told the young man, “Knock it off,” in a demanding voice.  Kathy was chagrined. “Why did you do that?” she said.  “I didn’t ask you to say anything; I just wanted to tell you what was happening.”

Fixing things gives men a sense of purpose, and it relieves a lot of frustration.  Yes, having a purpose, even to be a “fixer,” is part of every man’s DNA.

As I read the painful stories of my brothers on WSN-MO, I cannot help but think that many of them have lost purpose.  A purposewill rarely jump up and present itself to you.  Those widowers searching for a purpose must go out and discover it independently.  I wonder how many of those served by the WSN-MO have yet to do so.  I wonder how many of their wives in heaven wish they would try.

I wrote about the importance of purpose in my book, The Widower’s Journey.  I can’t encourage widowed men enough to seek their purpose during the next phase of their earthly life.  Frankly, serving as the founder of the Widowers Support Network and the gatekeeper of the Widowers Support Network – Members Only (WSN-MO) on Facebook gives me purpose.  Each day, afternoon, and evening, I have the honor of serving men from around the world in successfully navigating their grief.  For this, I am incredibly grateful.  But I do not rely solely on helping widowed men to satisfy my desire to have a purpose, to contribute to the happiness of others.

I joined the Knights of Columbus (KofC) nearly seven years ago.  The KofC is the largest fraternal Catholic organization in the world.  While a member of the Knights of Columbus, I served as my parish’s local council’s Chancellor.  As Chancellor, I also served as the sick and visitation committee chair.  In this role, I frequently visited members of the KofC, whether at their residences, nursing home, or hospital room.  The blessings I receive from advancing the agenda of the KofC are immeasurable. 

During one such visit, I was honored to visit Sir Knight Dan Dittmer (83).  Dan is a combat veteran who served as a U.S. Navy fighter pilot.  Once when flying a mission during the Korean War, Dan lost his plane and was forced to parachute, injuring his back.  Later, during a duty assignment at Pearl Harbor, Dan became friends with the actor Roger Smith (star of 77 Sunset Strip) and his wife, Ann Margaret.  His career later transitioned to a swimming coach, gaining him international recognition, including being recruited by Disney to serve as the Director of Aquatics at Disney World. 

Given his mature state, Dan most likely did not even know I was there in the room.  But I knew I was in the presence of a giant of a man, a man among men.  And my visit was made possible by my first having the purpose of serving the Knights of Columbus. Another example of purpose was when my wife Maria and I got up early to make twenty-five sandwiches we needed to deliver to an afterschool program for disadvantaged young children.  Again, it gave me purpose

Whether your discovery of purpose is to serve the Red Cross, coach a Little League Baseball team, join a fraternal organization as I did, or volunteer at your local SPCA, your skills and heart are needed by many.  But make no mistake, finding purpose makes you the big winner. 


Herb Knoll is a retired banking executive, an advocate for Widowers, a professional speaker, and the author of the breakout book, The Widower’s Journey.  Available at in paperback and all digital formats.  Herb is the founder of the Widower’s Support Network (, featuring the Widowers Support Network Members Only, a private Facebook group page for men, and a second Facebook page that is open to the general public at Widowers Support NetworkHerb also hosts the Widower’s Journey Podcast.  Contact Herb at [email protected]

Attention Widowers and Men who serve as Caregivers

Apply today to join the Widowers Support Network – Members Only (WSN-MO) on Facebook.  WSN-MO is a FREE private page exclusively open to MEN who have lost their wife or life partner.  Men currently serving as caregivers for a seriously ill spouse or life partner and other good-hearted men who wish to help assist and comfort them are also encouraged to join.     

Copyright 2022 Widower’s Support Network LLC


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