While becoming a father and going through my own personal journey I’ve spent a lot of time the past few years connecting with men who have been through some really intense points of clarification. I’ve become friends with and regularly talk to men of all walks of life. This includes Pastors, Christians, Atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, Successful CEOs, and men who are struggling in poverty to make ends meet. Men who have spent thousands in court, and men who simply walked away and now regret it. Men who have battled addiction in their younger years and men who spent their entire life focused on their success and wealth. Men who have lost their children to murderers, and men who have lost their children because of their own acts. I’ve read books about missionaries in Africa facing persecution and death because of their faith while providing food to homeless children and books about Toyota’s Production System (industry known as TPS, which is the fundamental backbone of why they are so successful). I’ve had conversations with women who have had to protect their children from anger driven men, and men who wish they could take back what they said. One day I shake hands with a corporate executive and the next I’m at a soup kitchen hearing about how a man was almost stabbed walking home the night before in his neighborhood. This balance throughout the years has provided me insight that I am just now starting to realize has kept me humbled, and motivated me to provoke change. That same motivation is pushing me to do and accomplish things I would never have dreamed of before. It’s also made me a better man. A better father. A better lover, and a better human being…. Someone continually looking to improve himself.
Dan Brown (Author of the Da Vinci Code) wrote “Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire.”. If you really take a second to process this and think about it, it is completely true. We spend a great deal of time thinking about and worrying about what we fear the most rather than pushing ourselves to focus on our goals and accomplishing them.
Fatherlessness is a real issue. 70% of kids in jail come from fatherless situations, they are twice as likely to quit school and 90% of teen runaways don’t have their dads around according to the Canadian CRC. Often, when this is communicated it is stated as an attack against single mothers. While I am not advocating for any gender, the root of this issue is men. Some may argue the court system is unfair, or that some women are the reason all men are not around their children, but the reality is you know this isn’t true. Deadbeat Fathers is a term that was not created falsely, it wasn’t some conspiracy created by feminists to hate on the male gender. It derives from an unfortunate situation. For every 1 amazing man there are 9 shitty ones. And that is the absolute truth. The issue is that those of us who are focused on being good people, being the best men we can be, often get the short end of the stick. The system is built by humans and managed by humans. We are all influenced and generate bias over time. It’s just an unfortunate and horrible truth.
Love him or hate him, President Obama said the following:
“What I’ve realized is that life doesn’t count for much unless you’re willing to do your small part to leave our children—all of our children—a better world. Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.”
David Deida wrote a book called “The Way Of The Superior Man“. What a journey reading this book was. The title might throw you off a bit, you may think that it’s referencing men being superior to women. But it’s not. The book has great insight into the differences between man and woman. And how to be superior to your previous self. The principle concept is that you need to dig deep into your soul and understand who you are at your core. What you are about, what it will take to get what you want and an overlaying message of obtaining happiness and peace through internal strength.
I remember watching a Sons of Anarchy episode where Kurt Sutter wrote a line for Jacks Teller that I will never forget.
There will be days when you’ll be forced to make decisions that affect the lives of everyone you love, choices that will change you forever.
You reach an age when you realize that being a man isn’t about respect or strength; it’s about being aware of all the things you touch.
Children face inward, wallow in their own selfish needs.
Men face out, take action on the needs of others.
I’m at that place, boys. I’m staring one of those decisions in the face and it looks back at me with historical eyes and it calls me a coward, a killer, a fraud. It wants me to crack, and run from the service of my fate like a broken boy.
Today I will not do that. Today, I will be the man my father tried to be.
I will make you proud.
What a brilliant quote. What a brilliant moment in a tv show that basically shows the growth of a man becoming selfless.
What does all this mean? What did I get from all of it? Why am I writing this? I have learned that at your core you are simple, yet emotional. As men we need to let go of stereotypes. I am not saying that you need to “obey the man”, question and be objective every day in your life, go against the grain, but before you start complaining about how harsh any form of “the system” is , look at yourself. Question your motives, question every decision you make daily. Remember, humans by nature need each other. We strive off of relationships. Whether that’s love or hatred. Emotional relationships are what drive us to motivation.
Prove to yourself that you can be better tomorrow than who you are today.