“The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams and aspirations he sets not only for himself, but for his family.” ―Reed Markham
Feels good to be here again, last week I spoke about how my son has impacted my life as a man. How he has pushed me to literally man up. Why – because I have come to realise I am the first male role model he has. In this post i will share with you lessons from my father, even after he passed.
Every single day it is becoming more apparent that I need to set the RIGHT standard for my son. And i have come to find that the greatest challenge to fatherhood is the lack of fathers. I speak from personal experience through my life and the lives I have seen around me. Where there is no positive male influence it is difficult to raise firm men for society.
So communities suffer because there is a generation of men who do not understand their role. I am no exception to this, I have not figured it all out myself as well. I also struggle with identity and purpose and meaning, but I keep learning. In my journey and interactions, I have picked up a few things that I am applying in my life today.
The weight of being a man is so much that we tend to lose the real focus of why we are doing what we are doing. But if you create a system that is unique to you as an individual it makes it easier to navigate your own manhood. I have a problem with execution, yes, I overthink to the point I do not see the need to actually do something. This has been one of my major vices as it has caused me not to do or say things when I was supposed to. And when things go wrong or right, my reaction is “I was thinking about doing or saying this”. But the world doesn’t remember you for what you say you are going to do, they remember what you actually do.
So many of us have strategies for offence but not for defence. When you know your kryptonite you can guard against it. So it is important to frequently review yourself, daily if you will. Too little and you won’t make the progress, too much and you’ll focus on the wrong things. Jon Rohn said to “Make measurable progress in a reasonable time.” I reckon that’s great advice to do the same.
There are 5 pillars I want to share with you. Some are the lessons I learned from my own father in the short timeframe I had with him and the people that he impacted.
FORMATION – Nurture your soul
Your world will rise and fall on the health of your soul. By formation, I mean taking responsibility for the maturity and health of your soul. As you get older this gets more important because it shows up (for better or for worse) more and more. A middle-aged man who keeps living out of his immaturity, lack of formation and brokenness is just plain embarrassing sometimes. Don’t be that man. I have been there and I know this.
Cultivate humility of character and guard against independence.
EDUCATION – Sharpen your talents
When you see your skills and gifts as talents to steward not things you own, you have launched yourself on the road to maturity. You alone are responsible for the stewardship of your talents and you alone must own the development and deployment of them. No one will invest in your manhood, it’s all on you.
Learn the art of discipline and guard against the arrogance of your giftedness and the assumption that growth is automatic, it isn’t, growth is intentional. You have to want it and you have to ACTION it.
ACTION – Contribute your best
As a man, you’re built for activity. Curiously contemplation and reflection matter as much, but only if it leads to productive work. You are built to work, be ok with that in the context of your education and formation. Find your best contribution, be true to yourself, your passions and talents. Fulfil your responsibilities, serve others, love all. There’s a huge thrill in seeing others benefit from your presence and talents. We all miss someone when they die, and their action is the reason why. By all means, execute.
Guard against indifference. When you stop caring, feeling and crying you stop the deep matters of the souls that keep us alive as humans.Learn the art of discipline and guard against the arrogance of your giftedness and the assumption that growth is automatic, it isn’t, growth is intentional. Click To Tweet
PURPOSE – Fulfil your why
I have said this in previous posts and I really really love it. There’s a date better than your birth date. It’s the day you clarify WHY you were born. You have a deep purpose and reason for being. Discover that. Name it and allow it to be an empowering true north for you. Allow it to be the thing that helps you say yes to a few things and no to everything else. Let it drive you. Let it mould you.
Maintain your perspective. Purpose flourishes when perspective is clear, Guard against self-centeredness, the kind that thinks you are owed something, you’re not. What you get to have is by grace and favour, persistence and integrity. Never play the victim, you are in control of your destiny.
LEGACY – Outlive your life
This has increasingly become so important to me. Play the long game. All around you, the temptation to compare and evaluate is huge. You will wish you had become more, done more, seen more and had more. It’s all rubbish. You are not running someone else’s race. You are running yours. So focus on the things that really matter
Dream about not just what you will do but who you will be to those that matter most. Live consistently and well. Guard against disconnectedness and disengagement. It profits nothing to be alone and successful. Find the balance between work, life and family.
You are male by birth and man by choice. Right now my promise to my son is “I will lead you with the very best I’ve got”. Soon enough we will walk side by side and following that I’ll stand him proudly on my shoulders and shout to the world ‘This is MY son, look at the man he has become.”
Share with us your journey through fatherhood and manhood in general in the comments section, we would love to hear your story. And share with us any lessons from your father.