What is a good man anyway?
I told my young sons the other day that I was going to write an article for the Good Men Project. My eldest, who is eight years old asked me "what is a good man anyway Dad?” Suspecting that this could be one of those moments where what you say to your kids can have a lasting effect, I thought about the question for a moment before I sat down with the three of them and gave them this answer.
Many people misunderstand male energy and think that having power as a man means being bold and aggressive and macho and strong. Making fun of people and being popular. Being better than other people by being faster, stronger, smarter, or funnier. But they have it all wrong.
Male energy in its true form is all about protection and intimacy. A good man will protect the people around him. He looks out for the people he loves, and he looks out for those who need to be protected. A good man will never stand by and watch while someone is hurt by another person. He will stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. A good man knows that every life is beautiful, and will not allow bullying and unkindness to happen in his company. You will know when you are around a good man because he will make you feel safe.
Intimacy means in-to-me-see. A good man knows that his power lies also in in-to-me-see. To be able to see others as they really are, the good man shows others who he really is. His words and actions are honest and true, and he doesn't pretend to be somebody he is not. You cannot lie to a good man, because he knows what is real and what is false.
He accepts himself as he is and does the same for you. We all have flaws and faults but a good man doesn't try to hide these away under the armour of perfection. When a good man feels like crying you will see him cry. Admitting when you are vulnerable is one of the bravest and strongest things you can ever do.
A good man acts from his heart, not from worry about what other people will think of him. A good man does not think less of himself, but he does think about himself less. You can trust a good man to tell you the truth, even if it's something that's not easy to hear.
A good man is able to work all day, come home and spend time with his family, then open up the laptop and work away into the night while his family sleep. A good man will sacrifice many things to make life better for the people he loves, and to him it won’t feel like sacrifice. He knows that happiness is created by helping others, and that a happy home is essential for a happy life.
A good man knows that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall in life. It only matters how many times you get back up. He knows that you can’t really get it wrong because you are never really finished, and that failures are nothing but opportunities to learn and to grow.
Whether or not a man is good is not decided by accident. Nobody is born more or less good than anyone else. A good man knows that it is his choices that determine his character. And, though he is flawed and he makes mistakes, he continues to choose the path of the good man.
You are all good boys, my sons, and you will always be beautiful human beings. Whether or not you become good men will be up to you. It’s not always easy to choose the path of the good man, but personally, I cannot think of any other way I’d like to live.
So - what will you choose?