Real Respect – Earn It or Die Trying

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When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. – Lao Tzu

I am foregoing our normal Fashion Friday post for something that hits closer to home for me.  When I come across really great stuff on the internet as it relates to Being a Better Man, I feel compelled to share it.  If you haven’t checked out the blog “Being Caballero” you are missing out on some really great stuff.  They are also contributor’s to The Club Men blog which you can check out here for other great advice, wisdom and all things dedicated to helping us be better man.

Today’s post comes courtesy of Being Caballero and I hope you enjoy.  Have a great weekend Gentlemen!

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I have heard this time and time again: men wanting respect. Yet the way they go about it or the examples they use to describe the respect they want simply confuses me. Then I realized these men have become confused about what respect actually is and are blinded by misguided perceptions. So let’s start with what is respect.

Respect: a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

Seems simple enough, so what’s the confusion? Most men confuse being popular, or being loved, or even being feared as a way to achieve respect. To be honest, NONE of those things produce respect on their own. Let’s review each of them.

Popularity, the brass ring of every high school student. Popularity simply means that a lot of people know who you are. That’s it, nothing more. If you think popularity means you get respect, you are diluting yourself. Just look at reality TV, or some actors, or even some politicians. Are they really respected just because they are popular? If anything, their popularity sets them up for public ridicule. It’s what you do with your popularity that might, emphasis on might, set you apart.

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Love, the great mystical force that fixes everything in the world. Tell that to a broken-hearted person. The sad reality is that love does not equal respect. We see this in every abusive relationship. They might love each other, but in the most unhealthy way possible. Love and respect need to walk hand in hand to lead a proper life, but unfortunately for many people, this is not always the case.

Fear, if they fear me, they will respect me. That has to be the most horrifying idea anyone can have. Its entire basis is on threatening someone into submission. The reality is they don’t respect you. If anything they will hate you, and the first chance they have, they will get even for all the suffering you caused.

So how do you go around looking for respect? You don’t. You simply do good. You simply become better at what you do. And you simply become the best man you can be. Don’t look for respect to compensate for insecurities. Your actions must speak louder than your words. And people will hear these actions and then they will respect you.

 

Take Ownership

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As I have grown to be a man I have been shocked by a transition that seems to occur with men once they get married and especially once they have children.  Highly responsible, well organized men, who have their shit together become the polar opposite after marriage and kids come along.  If I had a dollar for every time I spoke to a married man and he admitted he had no idea what was going on with his kids in school, what their schedule was or what he and his wives plans were for the next week (or more) I would be a rich man.

Why do we as men abdicate so much responsibility after we are married and/or have kids?  When I have asked men this question I usually get the same B.S. response about how they are too busy to keep track of those things and still have a job.  Really?  That is your response?  As if your wife sits around on her ass all day doing nothing and has time to organize and remember all these details?  Let’s be honest, the truth is we are lazy and don’t want to put in the effort.

Sometimes I hear the excuse, “Well it’s my wife’s responsibility for raising the kids and managing school activities etc.”  Again, really?  I am sure she probably has taken on that responsibility but most likely it is because someone had to and you were too lazy to take it on yourself.  The idea that rearing children (and family organization as a whole) is woman’s work is clearly prevalent in our society even today.  Yet there are way too many young men and women with “Daddy issues” running around for this to be truth.

Men – your kids (and your wife) need you to be present in all family matters.  Just because your wife might run the household, sign permissions slips for the kiddos and helps organize the soccer team doesn’t mean she WANTS to be doing it alone.  She WILL do it alone because you are married to an amazing, gifted and talented woman, but it doesn’t mean she prefers to do it without you.  It has to get done by someone and since no one else is willing to help she feels she must take it on.

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As a married couple you are designed to work as a team in all areas, including raising your family and being involved enough in your family’s life to have a clue as to what is going on.  Don’t abdicate your role as Father, Husband and King unless you want to hear your Queen tell you she is too tired for sex tonight…

A Good Woman…

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“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22

Yesterday the wife and I went to the gym after work.  I often find the gym a great place to observe exemplary male behavior (*eye roll*).  Last night was no different.  I won’t bore you with the details other than to say I had the chance to overhear two guys complaining about their wives and/or women.  I couldn’t tell if they were married (no rings) but one guy sounded like he was married while the other one was likely not just based on the conversation.

Look I know we all have bad experiences with the opposite sex (I could tell you plenty) but here is the bottom line: finding a wife is indeed a good thing.  Whether you are a believer in God and/or the Bible doesn’t matter.  Getting married to a good woman will change your life in ways you cannot even begin to imagine.  As men I think it is our attitude that needs the work, not our wives or girlfriends.

I will take just one moment to mention the importance of selecting the “right” woman.  There are plenty of wrong fish in the sea (again I can speak from experience).  We have to be careful to select a woman who is a “good faith woman.”  That is a woman who generally cares about us and people as a whole.  A woman who isn’t in a relationship for selfish gain but generally desires to be in a relationship that is positive and growing.  I have often found the problem isn’t the woman we choose to date or marry but rather our selection process (or lack of one.)  Too many of us select a woman strictly on her measurements, lack of material in her clothing choices or other similarly stupid criteria.  That doesn’t mean you can’t have all of those things in your spouse but if that is your top priority you cannot complain when her personality is a disaster of epic proportions – charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting.

Your wife is there for YOUR benefit not hers.  Sure she might want to have children with you but nowadays she doesn’t even need us for that!  She has signed on with you because for better or worse she believes in the man that you are but more importantly the man you can become.  She believes you have what it takes to be a leader of her family.  Truth is we are all rough around the edges (some more than others) whenever we enter into a relationship.  However, when you marry a good woman she is going to help smooth out those rough edges and make you a better man.  At least if you allow her to.

Men, we need to understand that our wives only have our best interests in mind.  If you find a good faith woman she will do you good and not harm all the days of your life.  She will never stop looking out for you, your children or your family.  She will help reign in your stupidity when necessary and encourage you to take risks when appropriate.  She will support you and give you a source of strength you never thought imaginable.  You will grow in respect among your peers and colleagues without even having to exert any effort to do so.  Your wife will speak with wisdom and kindness and she will help to fill your home with joy, laughter and peace.  And before you dismiss the previous sentence, have you ever come home from work to find a home not filled with those things?  It is awful.

None of the above is to suggest you won’t have struggles or that you won’t have arguments.  You cannot put two people with totally different characteristics into a house or apartment and not expect there to be sparks.  Arguing is actually normal and healthy in a relationship.  It is going to happen you just have to accept it and realize it is part of your life.  As long as you don’t act like a knucklehead everything will work out.

If things are less than desirable in your marriage or relationship quit blaming her and ask yourself what is it that you are doing to add to the problem.  You might not be 100% at fault but your contributions to the problems are the only thing you can actually change to make it better.  I promise if you take responsibility for your actions your good faith woman will notice and if she needs to make similar corrections will do so.  Your job is to love her.  That is it.  You do that (and don’t speak ill of her at the gym) you will have the best life imaginable.

Until tomorrow, make it a great day!

Andrew Sloss

Devotional Tuesday!

 

Clint Hurdle guided the Pittsburgh Pirates to their first playoff appearance in over 20 years.

“Remember, O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and have serve you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Isaiah 38:3 

Clint Hurdle can’t be accused of doing everything by the book.

He certainly got attention when his Colorado Rockies made their 2007 run to the World Series by winning twenty-one of twenty-two games to close out the season, making the playoffs and eventually facing the Boston Red Sox (Ed. Note: The Red Sox swept the Rockies in four straight!), the the franchises first World Series appearance.  Clint often avoids traditional approaches to the opportunities God places within each of his days.

His recent choice to become the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates rather than explore other jobs in bigger baseball markets stemmed from two things: what he thought would be best for his family and the attraction of a city like Pittsburgh with its young and improving ball club, the Pirates.  It was a decision that surprised many people, especially since the Pirates hadn’t had a winning season since 1992 (In 2013 the qualified for the playoffs and advanced to the NL Division series, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals 3 games to 2.)

One of Clint’s less-than-traditional ideas is a “text ministry” that he began a few years back, shortly after he was fired by the Colorado Rockies.  Each day, he types a text message-usually spanning several message, actually – and sends it to a list of more than five hundred people.  The list has grown through the years, as it has spread through word of mouth with other teams, as well as with many people both in and outside of baseball.

It is a challenge for him to type on his phone, and the daily regimen takes time.  He even considered quitting at one point.  But Keli McGregor, the Colorado Rockies’ late president, encouraged Client to stick with it.  “If that’s where God has you helping people, maybe that’s something to weigh in favor of continuing it,” Keli suggested.  Keli had had to make the difficult decision to fire his former manager, but they were still close friends.  After thinking about Keli’s words, Client agreed.

And today, over five hunderd of his texting friends (at last count but still growing) are grateful.

Uncommon Key –> Be innovative or traditional, but find a way to serve God and lift the lived of others.  But be prepared.  God often works in the strangest ways, through folks like you and me.  All He asks for is commitment.

Devotional courtesy of Tony Dungy’s Uncommon Life

Never Forget!

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Many people simply don’t understand or appreciate the purpose or reason for the Memorial Day holiday.  Previously known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is the traditional day we as a nation honor those who have served in the armed forces, especially those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of their country.

Many of my ancestors have served in the armed forces dating back to the formation of our country.  My sixth great grandfather, Thaddeus Brown served under General Washington during the American Revolution.   After the war he would move to and help found the  town of Liberty, NY (the same town my wife ultimately grew up.)  Thaddeus was a farmer after the war and wasn’t terribly successful.  He filed for his war pension (which we have records of) and his paperwork indicated he was very poor and owned very few possessions.  He was buried on a farm somewhere in Solon, NY.  Sadly, his grave has been obliterated and no one knows where he is buried.  No one can ever go lay flowers at his grave to honor his service to this country.

Even if you don’t have family or friends who have served in our military I hope you will take a few moments out of your day today to consider the immense sacrifice these men and women (and their families) have made in service to our country.

I am including below the contents of the “Letter to Mrs. Bixby” that may or may not have been written by Abraham Lincoln to.  It was originally thought she had lost all five sons during the Civil War but it turns out she lost two (and possibly three) instead.  Regardless of who wrote the letter or the circumstances thereof this is still a very powerfully worded letter.

Enjoy your Memorial Day but never forget the men and women who have died to make your freedom possible!  I HUGE shout out to all my friends, family and everyone else who serves or served this country in our armed forces, THANK YOU!

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,–

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln