Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Measure of a Man

There has been a great deal written about what it means to be a man. Most of it is rubbish. I really don't think it matters... the real question is simply, what do I want out of life?

I am a man. To be honest, it took me a long time to feel comfortable with that statement. I had these concepts of what a man should be. A man needed to be like John Wayne, Andy Griffith, and B.A. Barracus all rolled up into one. Most of my life I simply saw myself as a scrawny, insecure, over grown boy who finished somewhere in the middle of the pack.

But I have learned that who I am is made up of far greater things than muscles and bravado and machismo. I am a man because there is a woman who loves me and stands by my side. She has shown me through her love and devotion that my integrity matters.

I am a man because I have a son who is looking up to me and will shape his life based on what he sees me do.  I want him to value accountability and to see the world with eyes that see opportunity for him to invest his days. I want him to feel the power of living out belief. He has shown me that my actions matter.

I am a man because I have two daughters who need to know that they are loved and that they are priceless beyond measure. They have within them the most incredible stuff of life. They need to learn how a man should treat them by how I love their mother and how I would sacrifice my life to protect their honor. They have shown me that gentleness and wisdom are worth the effort. 

I am a man because I have come to understand the love of my parents. I have watched them battle their hardships through life I am so thankful that they have always found meaning in keeping the grasp of each others hands through the storms. They have lived out the example of faithfulness and loyalty through the good times and the tough. They have been there for me through all of my days. 

My father has taught me character and honesty, and I consider him to be the greatest man that has ever touched my life. He has always given me respect and spoken truth to me. I am so grateful.

My mother has shown me the power of faith and the depth of family. She has taught me to find meaning in my days and make use of my time. She has always shown me that we have choices in life, and I have seen her selflessly give to love with action and demonstrate true love and compassion. 

My grandparents have given me a legacy that has shaped who I am today. I think of their smiles, their jokes, their beliefs... they are a huge part of my character today. I strive to pass on the best of them to my children each day.

So what does it mean to be a man? You know what you believe in. You know who you are. You know where you've come from and you know where you want to go. Simply put... a man knows who he is.

I look at this picture at the top of the page... and I know who I am. 

Life is tricky... it can go by us quickly, and yet the essence that we need to grasp is evident if we can only open our eyes to see. We have to recognize who we are... and the lives we touch. How does our belief influence our actions?

It all comes down to priority. There is joy and peace in living out our belief. There is more to life than paychecks, TVs, and retirement accounts. I want to make use of my days. I want to know when I lay my head down at night that I have been true to my parents, my wife, my children, and my God.

What does it mean to be a man?

To answer this question all I have to do is look into the eyes of the ones I love.

The measure of my worth 
will be in the footsteps that they take.

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