When I was playing and daydreaming as a kid (which was all the time), I was always in some type of pretend crisis where I needed to assemble a team to save the world, or at least my yard, from danger. In every single scenario, there was always a do or die moment where I would have to charge in, risk it all, face mortal danger, and perhaps a skinned knee to save the day.
Now as a father of four, as I watch my daughters play (with less sticks and swords and maybe a little more barbies and babies), I still see some of that same “drama” being acted out.
They are rehearsing the same types of stories. And in those stories:
- Something goes wrong.
- Something bad will happen if they don’t intervene.
- It will require a sacrifice of some type to overcome it.
- The hero (or heroines in my daughters’ case) must risk everything to save the day.
- Their bravery paid off! The day is saved.
Why do we have such a preoccupation with danger, adventure, and risk as kids? Maybe we were role-playing for a reason- like a sort of practice to prepare us. Maybe there is something hardwired in us to be ready, at any time, to overcome the dangerous and the difficult…the hard things we know that someday we will have to face head-on. But then in our adult lives, instead of the big drama we’ve been waiting for finally arriving, we quickly become consumed by the mundane: waking up, going to work, going home, paying taxes, and so on.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” – Henry David Thoreau – “Walden”
So we cope by living for the weekends, or for the thrill of that “must have” we NEED from our Amazon cart- anything to make our lives exciting. As we get older, it can seem all hope is lost of every living a fulfilling and exciting life, and worse, we see bad things happening to people we care about and feel powerless to stop it. Nothing kills a man’s spirit more. We are desperate for strength, desperate for meaning, desperate to actually be alive during our life.
Courage. True courage is what is missing from our lives! Now you may think that courage is only for those few heroes who live out adventure and risk. Those who take down the bad guys, fight the fires and win that battles. Yes, it is there…but not just there. Every one of us is surrounded by more adventure and purpose than we could ever imagine. We are all currently walking through amazing stories of valor and victory…we just don’t see the opportunity. Or perhaps we do see it and we don’t think we have what it takes to jump into the opportunity. But that’s where courage comes in- courage is knowing what you should do and doing it, no matter the sacrifice.
So what does courage look like in our seemingly “mundane” life?
- Courage is being aware of what is really going on around you, no matter how uncomfortable that makes you feel.
- Courage is working hard at life, not pulling back when it gets too hard.
- Courage is raising your children and loving your spouse.
- Courage is a willingness to do what you have to do, even when you don’t want to do it.
- Courage is a man staying with his family even though it is difficult, rather than walking away.
- Courage is rejecting passive living.
- Courage is turning off the TV, getting up, and interacting with your children.
- Courage is choosing responsibility over comfort.
- Courage is saying you are sorry, asking for forgiveness, and making it right.
- Courage is confronting the parts of ourselves that need to change.
“There is room in everyday in every life to demonstrate courage because every day you are faced with questions and decisions and hard things. Courage is the ability to do the hard thing in every circumstance despite the cost.”
Lots of guys judge their quality of life by three B’s: billfold, ball field, and bedroom. But there’s more. A lot more! A quality life, a life really worth living, is one that realizes that most of it IS HARD, but choosing not to let life’s difficulties defeat us! We can tap into truth and inner strength and take on those hard battles that need to be fought in ourselves, in our families, in our workplace, and in our communities.
Men, we can tap into what we were created to be: A man of courage, a courageous father.
Here at Clarity, that is exactly my job: helping guys become strong fathers of courage. Through our classes, mentoring, Insaka Fireside Gatherings, and more we help each other through those battles. We encourage each other to get back up again when we face defeat and failure and boy do we celebrate the victories. So as always, if you’re a fellow dad, I am here to learn with you how to be a good man and better father. Call or stop by anytime to talk. Just ask for Jack.