This I Believe

Duane - Cottage Grove, Oregon
Entered on February 8, 2008

I believe in being a man.

I’m not talking about the ego, the dominating, or the “I’m superior” man. I mean the man who looks at himself and believes he has room for improvement. The man that is tempted, challenged, and tested by our worlds’ unscrupulous vices and iniquities and has to be on his guard not to fall prey. Boy, am I that man, the one needing improvement.

I believe my life is great. I had a good childhood, relatively normal loving parents, and a decent upbringing. I’ve had good jobs and traveled a bit, while finally settling into a nice career. I married to a wonderful woman and have beautiful children. So where’s the room for improvement? It first comes from the constant reminding I have to give myself, that my life is great. Today, there are so many daily distractions and pitfalls that it is a constant battle not to become a victim to the poor me, life sucks syndrome. All to often I find myself, and many of the people around me, looking at the negative side of the world in which one has the tendency to find fault and blame in others for all our perceived and real problems.

As men, we are continuously attacked by the male addictions of the world today. The pressure to slip up and head down that road of drug or alcohol abuse, pornography, family neglect, and self-centeredness is very great. It seems very easy to veer off onto these destructive paths. I can’t imagine the burden that anyone, who has already experienced insurmountable trials in life, has to endure, and the daunting struggle to stay balanced.

Throughout my life, I personally or someone close to me has been tested by these evils and the greatest strength I have found is in being a “man”. Meaning my male heritage. I look to my father first and the adversity he endured and the resolution he employed to overcome challenges and hardships. I focus on his good values, strong ethics and the decisions he made using those traits. Second, I can fall back on other men in my life such as my uncle. I can examine the positive in his life and draw strength to help me overcome my shortcomings. I have also found solace in many of the great men of history. Reading the biography of Theodore Roosevelt is awe inspiring just to mention one. Even though I personally didn’t know him, I see the power and resolve that a person can acquire and I can use that fortitude to help enhance myself. There is an untapped noble power in many men of past and present that only needs to be employed. Look to their character, not their shortcomings, and if you can discover and personalize these untold heroes, then ask yourself, “What would he do in this situation?”

I believe you may just find that latent power within yourself and be able to act upon it.