I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
I think one of the most defining moments as a man is when you realize you actually do owe something to the world. I spent the majority of my life screaming to anyone who would listen, “I don’t owe the world anything!” It was the stance of a stubborn and childish brat who didn’t understand the impact that he had on all of those around him. Now, of course, the 14 year old punk rock kid in me wants to immediately rebel against anyone or anything that tells me how to live. But once you get past that, once you open your eyes to the world around you and see that no matter who you are – someone looks up to you. Whether it is your son or daughter, nephew or niece, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, classmate, roommate, or someone on the other end of an article. There is someone who looks to you as an example of how to do life right.
What is tough for most of us is that weight of that responsibility coupled with the our self-depricating mentality telling us that we don’t deserve your praise or adoration. But none of that matters. Because it is not about you – it is only about them and how they perceive you.
As a man, I do have a responsibility. In the most concise definition I can come up with, it goes something like this – it is my responsibility to leave people in better shape having met me. Now, this might sound a bit arrogant to say but follow me. Whether or not you believe you have influence is irrelevant to the person who looks up to you. So you can rant and rave about how you don’t owe anyone anything and all that is going to do is disappoint someone who once thought you could help them. We look up to people who can shine the light on the dark spots of life. Someone who can help us make sense of this unfair world. And someone who can help us understand how to give love and how to learn to love ourselves. And as a man, that is my job.
As a man, it is my responsibility to leave you better off. To have loved you like a friend, to have been there when you needed me, and to remind you that you are a great and wonderful and sexy person when you forget. Because I am surrounded by amazing and talented people and they deserve to know that. And they deserve to know that their investment in me, whether friendship or romantic, is not in vain.
We may disagree and argue but at the end of the day, you will know that it came from a place of love. I might get all mean-dad on you and tell you the things you don’t want to hear, but hopefully I did it with care. Because a good man will won’t simply tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. And hopefully, I reminded you that you are wonderful and there are few things more important in this world than my investments.
And that is what you are.
But more importantly, that is what we should try and be for others – a good investment. To remind them as often as we can that their faith, love, and trust in us was a good choice.
That when children ask us questions, we do our best to help them make sense of this messy world.
That when teenagers tell us their high school relationship failed, not to mock their pain but help coach them through it.
And that when someone walks through the door…
When they fall asleep at night…
Or when we walk away from them for the last time…
We do our best to show them that it wasn’t in vain. That their time was well spent.
And that we are better off for having invested in them.