These are my boys. They're 7 and 2. They were created male. I get to teach them to be men.
I've been reflecting a bit on the whole Ray Rice situation. I have always admired Ray Rice as a football player and, in our society, he would be considered a "man's man" ... strong, fast, professional athlete, driven, wealthy. Many men would love to live that type of lifestyle and have those types of accolades. But, with everything that has happened it seems as if this is just one more example of a someone's accomplishments outrunning their character.
There is all sorts of pressure on men these days ... pressure to perform, pressure to measure up, pressure to succeed, pressure to do more, make more, accomplish more. And, men can often find their identity in what they do. What we do often provides instant feedback ... instant gratification. Men like to feel like champions and our performance often provides that instant feedback that we crave so much. I earned more, I made more, I accomplished more. Men feed off of these types of things. The problem is, as I once heard Andy Stanley say, "Who you are will always show up in what you do." If I only focus on my accomplishments and what I want to do, it's only a matter of time before my accomplishments outrun my character. So, as I teach my boys to be men, this will be a mantra they will hear often: Focus your greatest efforts on who you want to be rather than on what you want to do. Why? Who you are will always show up in what you do.
Men have this desire to do something great. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I hope my sons strive for greatness in all they do. I hope they always do more than is expected of them and strive for greatness. But, as their father, I will teach them to be more concerned with being someone great instead of doing something great.
There are great men who will never be known for anything other than the fact that they were kind and generous and caring and they accepted responsibility and they put in a hard days work every day and they took a stand against injustice and they stayed faithful to their wives and they were tender toward their daughters and they clothed themselves with humility and they followed a code of conduct and they gave themselves to a greater cause and they were men of integrity and they could be trusted. These type of men may not necessarily be known for anything "great" ... but they are great men.
I will certainly do it imperfectly, but this is what I will teach my boys about being a man. I will tell them to never let their accomplishments outrun their character because who they are will always show up in what they do.