“A time comes when you need to stop waiting for the man you want to become and start being the man you want to be.” – Bruce Springsteen
Our lead pastor referenced this lyric many years ago in a sermon and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
At the time, I was struggling with being patient and staying connected to my faith. Our boys were really young, I was between jobs, and struggling.
I realized I had to take some time to really choose the kind of man I wanted to be and then start being that man. And, since I don't have a heroic well of will power, I needed a reminder.So, I created the Start Being wristband.
The simple message on the outside prompts me to think about what I wrote on the inside - 'patient' and 'prayerful.' Over time, I stopped flying off the handle with the kids and started to pray more. Both of these results led to a happier, more fulfilling life for me and my family.
Through the process, people around me started to ask about the bracelet. The common response was, "Man, I could use that, too." So, I made a bunch and passed them out to anyone who wanted one. Hopefully, they've been helpful. (It's a little funny to still see them floating around Athens four years later....)
To become the man we want to be, we have to first decide on what is important. To me, the best place to start looking is the Bible. Paul gives a good list of ideas on which to work.
Once you've come up with one or two on which to focus, you need to constantly and consistently be aware and practice the new response. Over time, the new response becomes a habit, one you don't have to even think about.
This idea is not only for us fossils - its also useful for young men.
Guys in the midst of their teenage years need to start intentionally maturing. There should be greater expectations and responsibilities. If not, they'll cruise through some of the most important years of their lives gaining skills only in social media, video games, and eating. While fun, those don't lead to a very productive, meaningful life.
Instead, our young men need to start learning real world skills and thinking about their lives as they relate both to their family and community. They need to experience balancing what they want with what they need to do for others. Do the dishes. Fold the laundry. Work odd jobs and save some money. Go out and help someone who needs it. (And, try to do at least that last one with a smile....)
In essence, they need to start practicing the man they want to become. And we need to help.
As parents and mentors, we must guide our young men through this process. When poor choices are made, there should be consequences and discussion. When great decisions are made, we should celebrate (and tell them why we are partying so they can do it again and again.)
Are you helping your teenage son to start being the man God wants him to be? Do you want a reminder? If you think a Start Being band would be helpful for you and yours, shoot me an email and I'll send you one.
Have a great week!