The Man I Want to Be (thoughts on being a better person)

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“Who you want to be is irrelevant to who you are if who you daily choose to be is different than who you wish you were.” ~KW

Who we are and who we believe we should be are not always one and the same. Your Ideal You is likely somewhat higher than your Actual You.

Put another way, who we want to be is usually a bit more than who we actually are.

But we want to be more. We know we should be. We know we could be. We read posts like this one looking for direction or for inspiration to nudge us down that path.

The following are ways I (and by implication, you) can be a better person in a world that doesn’t always celebrate that aim.

The Man I Want to Be

I Want to be a Good Father

Parenthood is the most fundamental responsibility we have. But fathers world-wide often forget that simple truth. They convince themselves that the time they withhold from their children to build their careers is a worthy sacrifice. After all, they can always water the lawn of their children’s lives later … you know, when it starts turning brown.

But too many fathers come to realize too late that children are not much like lawns. Lawns don’t develop defensive attitudes or resentment or insecurity or inferiority complexes or anger over their seldom-watering owners.

But children do.

I want to be the kind of dad my son is proud of, the kind he aspires to be like, the kind worthy of that emulation. I want to be the kind of dad worthy of my daughter’s use as the standard by which she measures the quality of her love interests. I want to be the kind of father my children seek out for advice, want to open up with and can’t wait to spend time with. I want to be the kind of dad whose positive influence on his kids will be seen in their kids and in their kids and in theirs.

I Want to be a Good Husband

Someone once said that the best thing a man can ever do for his children is to put his wife first in his life. Some parents don’t do this. They put their kids first.

So as kids are shuffled here and dropped off there for practices, lessons, games and recitals, marriages are often neglected and spouses overlooked and lovers soon become strangers occupying the same space, moving in the same direction, but no longer connected at the heart.

I want to be the kind of man my wife dreams of being with. I want to be the kind of husband that makes her love being married. I want to be the kind of friend to her that makes her laugh and swell with confidence and trust that the world is a loving place. I want to be the kind of spouse that makes each day something to look forward to with anticipation, eagerness and excitement.

I Want to be a Good Man

In a world that seems to be sinking in a morass of the morally illiterate, ignorant and apathetic, when the world seems to be descending into so much moral chaos, the need for personal integrity and an uncompromising character becomes increasingly obvious.

The world needs more people of integrity to stand as lights to those who still struggle to become men of integrity.

The world needs men and women of character to stand as beacons to those who are looking for their moorings, whose moral compasses need adjusting but are not sure how to adjust them, who stand at a fork in the road and are tempted to take the path all-too-frequently traveled and need someone to follow who is taking the moral high ground.

I want to be a good man. I want to be the kind of man that inspires other people to want to be better than they are. I want to be the kind of man that makes good people strive to be better and bad people want to be good. I want to be the kind of man others see, then feel impressed to seek out God. I want to be the kind of person who leaves a legacy of improved lives. I want to be the kind of man that is strong enough to be humble and compassionate and thoughtful and kind.

Final Thoughts

No one strikes out to be a bad father, spouse or person. But sometimes we drift in the wrong direction as seemingly inconsequential decisions end up hardening into patterns and habits and attitudes.

Still, most of us recognize the missteps in hindsight and aspire to be better. Personal development is a multibillion dollar industry. People buy scores of books every year. Millions of others attend seminars and conferences and go on retreats and subscribe to blogs and purchase programs and download apps and set goals and expend lots of time and treasure in a noble effort at shortening the distance between their ideal and actual selves.

I think that fact says a lot about what we hope to become. It suggests that people around the world care who they are and care who they are constantly evolving into. And that’s a wonderfully good thing.

So many of us have dreams of changing the world, of leaving our corner of it better off for us having occupied space in it. My hope is that we recognize that perhaps the best way to change the world is to start by making tweaks to our own character, and to start in these most basic areas of life.

From there, we can work outward to reach an ever-growing audience ready to rededicate themselves to a path of virtue and values.

Your Turn …

Who do you want to be?