What does it take to be a “good” man? How do we recognize a “good” man? Is it how they are dressed? The best shoes or shirt? Is it how eloquently they speak or how much money they make? I will make this a very short answer. NO! You can talk about being a good man, you can even try to look the part. However, talking about being a good man doesn’t make you one. It takes action and motivation to become something more.
I asked my 14-year-old son Koda what his definition of a “goods” man was, and here was his reply. “A good man is one who is made like a building. However, every good building needs a good foundation. That foundation can consist of many things (some good, some bad). The foundation needs to be based in faith, family, and friends. Atop the foundation is what makes up the man, the supporting beams, outside structure, and whatever is inside of the building. A good building is able to protect what’s inside of it, and will do so at any cost, even at the risk of its own integrity, as a good man should. However, what’s inside the “building”, so to speak? Inside the building is a man’s heart, and whatever it contains (friends, family, faith, and anything else that the man loves). A good example is my grandfather on my mother’s side. He served his country in WWII, earning no less than 3 purple heart awards, given to those who protected their country at all costs. That is what I think of when a “good” man is mentioned.”
After he was done explaining, Koda turned to me and asked the same question, to which I replied, “When I think of a good man, I think of my dad. He worked 16-hour days for the majority of my childhood, taking care of my entire family (a family of 7, total)”. As I was thinking of my father, I remembered a story from my childhood. When I was 8-years-old, we went to visit my grandmother. She lived back in the woods (thick woods, at that!). My brother and I decided that we would go exploring. As we went further into the woods, we lost both track of time, and the path back home. It wasn’t very long afterward that it began to get dark. As the Sun began to set, I became more and more frightened. I didn’t want to admit my fears to my brother, but I had never been as scared in my life. We turned around, and headed back in the direction which we thought led back home. As we continued to walk, we realized that we had been walking in circles. My brother and I sat down, and just as we were about to cry, I heard my father’s voice calling out for us. He made the choice to come and find us. He didn’t wait for us to get more lost, but found us as quickly as he could. Being a man is made up of choices. Some choices are good, and some are not. However, a good man learns from the ones which are not.
As we face the choices every day, we must put our wanting to be a good man into action. Being a good man does not happen overnight, nor is it a passive attribute. You must choose to be a good man, at all times. It’s easy to make the wrong choices, and it’s easy to lead yourself off of the path which you wish to lead, but it’s the ability to put yourself back on this path that makes a good man.
A good man doesn’t always do what is easy or most popular, but a good man will always strive to do what is best.