Want to learn 5 ways to be a successful husband? How about 7 things every great father does? Or what about 4 steps to leading your family well?
You’ve heard topics like these before; who knows, you may have even read articles like these here. These articles, and similar ones, were written to help us become better men.
But what if I told you there was something more important than becoming a better man – and that was the secret to how “NOT” to be a better man?
That secret is: Don’t compare yourself to the wrong standard of manhood.
Allow me to explain.
Take Your Focus Off The Guard Rails
The majority of men, including myself, didn’t grow up in a healthy home. And typically, the dysfunction in that home started with the father.
As a result, most older men, if you ask them, will tell you they want to be a better man than their father was. And therein lies the dilemma.
You can’t become better at something, by only trying NOT to become it. Think about it. Michael Jordan didn’t become a great basketball player by trying NOT to become a bad one. He modeled and learned from the greats who came before him. He used a higher standard.
It was once said, “We get what we focus on.” And if you only focus on what you don’t want as a man, more than likely that’s exactly what you’re going to get. Think about when you drive on the highway. What happens if you only focus on what you’re trying to avoid – i.e., the guard rails – what will happen? That’s right, your car would always drift towards the guard rails.
So likewise, you can’t become a better man, husband, or father trying NOT to be like your less than adequate male role model. You have to set your gaze on a higher standard of manhood: our Lord and Savior, Christ. But we, as men, often fail to do this. And I must confess, I was guilty of setting my standards too low.
Becoming A 10 When All You’ve Know Is A 5
If you weren’t blessed to grow up in a healthy, stable home with spiritually mature parents, and someone asked you: How would you rate your dad as a husband and father? – what would you say? For the purpose of this example, on a scale from 1 to 10, what if you said a 5?
So, if you never had any other standard of manhood than your own 5-level-father, the most logical aspiration for you would probably be to be a better man than “your” father. And there’s the problem. If you’re trying to be better than your 5-level-father by only avoiding what he did, then you only have to be a 6-level-father to be a better man than him.
However, your current or future wife and children will desire and deserve better than a 6-level-man. In fact, they will probably want a 9 or a 10. But how can you become a 9 or 10 if you’ve never seen a 9 or 10-level-man? Is it still possible? Yes. But will it be difficult? Extremely so.
The truth is, most of our fathers did the best that they could, based on the limited knowledge they had as husbands, fathers, and as men. They didn’t have resources like Impactus | Promise Keepers Canada, my organization RealMenConnect.com, or other men’s resources like it. They had to rely on trial and error.
So, the key to becoming a better man is actually learning how NOT to become one by using the wrong standard of measuring manhood. And that starts with the model you choose to follow for manhood, not the one you’re trying to avoid.