What does being a man mean to you? what does it mean to me?
I look at the men who have been in my life and I consider myself very fortunate to have had the positive influences I’ve had thus far in my life. First of all, I think of my dad. He taught me a lot and has been the greatest influence on my life for which I am extremely thankful. From him I learned to be honest in all things. I can not remember a time in which I witnessed him lying to somebody or about something. It took me wwaaayyy too long to learn this lesson but I finally did over the course of time. I simply learned that it was easier to tell the truth.
My dad and Coach Hilton taught me about the following: working hard to achieve your goals, that in fact, the only way to achieve your goals was to work hard and give your best. A part of this process is honesty – you have to be honest with yourself as you pursue your goals, to answer one question: Am I doing my best, giving 100% to achieve this goal? In working hard you also had to do it the right way, meaning there are no shortcuts.
I got to also witness the two gentlemen, on more than one occasion, take a stand for what they believed was the right thing to do. I also noticed in them, along with some other men later in my life, that they never took advantage of people. Something else that these guys had in common was that they were always willing to help others if they could. I used to hate that my dad owned a truck because I can’t tell you the number of times I had to get up on a Saturday morning to go help someone move something or pickup something for somebody. Dad would just say it’s the right thing to do or something like – it won’t take long and we have time.
Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t perfect. I saw the bad things too. Occasionally they would cuss, show their anger or simply handle things wrong. In relation to sports, I can tell you that you did not really want to officiate their games, regardless of the sport. They would apologize after the game for giving you grief but during the game, no way, get the calls right or else I will let you know everyone of them you missed.
Competitive in nature is being mild in describing them! They wanted to win and would do everything possible within the rules to do so. That is where I get my motto of “anything worth playing, is worth winning”. I also witnessed times where they essentially gave up wins because they had to discipline somebody on their team and that person wouldn’t get to play, so we would be short a player or whatever. No matter, discipline was not a choice, you followed the rules and did things the right way or you didn’t play.
As I think of it now, another important thing I learned from these guys is that if I want respect, then I must give and earn respect. And not just to people in general, but to positions of authority, rules of a game, etc. Example: I find out somebody is umpiring my baseball game that I really don’t like and don’t respect. Well, if he is umpiring my game, then he is in a position of authority and therefore deserves my respect. NOTE: nowadays, the simple rule is this – God created them and therefore they deserve my respect. Period.
Anyway, as I looked at the question posed above I had one word that continually came to me that all the other words described – and that was Integrity. The following verse gives a great illustration of this. Titus 2:7-8 “in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility. sound speech that can not be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you”.
Wow, what a verse to aspire to. I pray that has I continue this journey, I would draw closer to the description outlined in these verses. Beyond that, my prayer for all of us, is that we would look to leave a Godly example of what a man should be.