Had a great deal of disappointing news this week about an adoption gone wrong midway through, and it ticked me off pretty bad!
Continuing on my NYR blogs, I felt this was an appropriate time to bring this up. A man MUST do what a man MUST do. I capitalized the MUST, but just as importantly is the action verb in that sentence... DO!!! First off, it has become too common these days for men to give up. I don't know how ya'll were raised, but I wasn't raised with a constant male figure in my household. My mother did what she had to do to be both mom & dad. We had males that passed through our life, but only one was what I would call a father-figure and a REAL MAN. I appreciate and miss Glenn Turner every single day. Glenn was my only real father-figure that was not an uncle or grandparent. He took the time to teach me and my older brother things like engineering, science, history, politics, and heck, even driving when I was no more than what, 9 years old? Glenn was taken from my life way too soon. Not until I met my wife's father did I feel I again had a father-figure in my life. I relish every conversation that I had with him and the things he taught me about what it takes to be a REAL MAN. Again, he was taken from me too soon. While Glenn got me started, it took both his influence and Roy's to give me a standard to strive for as a man and a husband and a father. What both of these men had in common was they did what they had to do in all aspects of their lives. If they needed to support their family or those around them, they were like the US Postal Service, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night..." These men would move mountains to ensure their families safety and security or to do what was right.
So what does this have to do with becoming a better man, and why now? Well, as we pause today to celebrate the life of Dr. King, we are reminded of a man that did what he HAD to do... he was a man of conviction. Comedian Ralphie May said it best that when Dr. King got convicted on an issue, those around him who supported him would get tested too. Dr. King would march like 40 miles... that was in old school church shoes too... no Nike Shocks for Martin! Look up some old photos and videos of Dr. King when he was on these marches. You see many men surrounding him. Did it take guts? Yes. Did it take strength? You bet! Did it take willpower? I haven't seen many people walk more than a few miles for something that was important to them these days, so I say absolutely!! What happened to men of conviction? Back then, when a man entered into something, he would complete it. When a man committed to something, he would be there.
Too often today, everything is disposable. Marriages and relationships are thrown away like old newspapers these days. Fathers bailout on their responsibilities to children they bring into this world, both out of wedlock and in marriages. Men are cowering in the face of their religious freedoms being taken away. Men back out of commitments like they are professionally trained truck driver backing out of a truck stop parking spot! It has become too easy, even convenient, to quit these days. But what can we do? Men must revert to the practice of holding each other accountable!
I was speaking with a fellow NCO at work the other day who shall remain nameless (solely for the fact that I don't know if he'd want to be called out on our blog). He was looking up information on running shoes. Being as had a little experience with them from when I trained for my marathon in 2010, I gave him some advice. When I found out he wanted to run a half marathon, I pointed him to all the things I used to prepare for my run. The biggest piece of advice I gave him though, was to find someone who will hold him accountable. I told everyone I knew that I was planning on running a distance race. I have several friends who would have ridiculed me unmercifully if I would have backed out. I didn't need that type of encouragement, as my mother taught me that if I commit to something, I see it through as others are counting on me. This was a lesson I learned in high school football. There were many times I wanted to quit... two-a-day practices and summer weight training in 100+ degree heat will test your commitment... but I always stuck it out. She wouldn't let me quit just because it was hard. That was one of the most important lessons I think my mother taught me. I even told my wife when we began talking about marriage that if we were going to take this step, I was in it for the long haul. While every person says that when they talk about marriage, statistics show that it is simply lip-service for many. It is easy to say you'll be there or to enter into a commitment, but until we as men get it through our thick heads that it is not about us it is about those who are depending on us holding up our end of the agreement, the disposable nature that has been instilled in us by a world we created will never be reversed.
Be it an adoption, politics, a business exchange, or a crusade for civil rights, men... REAL MEN... have the convictions to STAY and FIGHT. They are not afraid to stand up for what is right. They honor their commitments, even when the going gets tough. We can all learn from Dr. King, not just his stance on equality and civil rights, but on what it takes to be a MAN!
In remembrance... of all the REAL MEN that were taken from us too soon. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929-1968.
See ya'll later!