Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Making a Better Man Part One: "Monkey See, Monkey Don't"

As a young man I grew up watching my mother take daily abuse - mental and physical - from my father.  I grew to see her as weak and disconnected.  A sensitive person by nature, I taught myself to avoid any abuse of women when I began to get into relationships, but doing the opposite of what my father did was a trap that I set for myself based on the lie that if I didn't do the opposite of what my dad did I would be destined to be exactly like him.  And so my early life in the company of women was based on a lie about myself.  As a result I was compensating for a flaw I didn't possess and I wasted a lot of time in the wrong relationships.  Here was my thought process:  As a very young man I saw my mother abused by my father.  I look, sound, and think exactly like my father.  I must be just like him in all ways.  I must not become an abuser.  I will avoid relationships which lead to marriage so as to not destroy the lives of my wife and future children.  On the outside I will seek the 'perfect' woman and resent and push away any and all women who do not live up to my standard of perfection - thus never having a committed relationship.  

Once I got clear on the fact that not only was I NOT an abusive person, nor would I be the same person in a relationship as my father was, but also that any mistakes I did happen to make would be just that - mistakes, I was set free.  From there I was able to chart a new course for my life which led me straight to my wife.

This is what we do... we base our behaviors and beliefs on a decision we make early one which says "I'm not going to be like this, or I'm going to be just like this" and it's all a sham built from an original misunderstanding.

Whew!  Anyone exhausted?

Imagine living a life unburdened by the misguided decision a child makes, which still ripples through your daily actions and choices.  It's virtually  impossible to stop a child from misunderstanding an event in life, but it's entirely possible to raise a child to choose a life that is powerful based on who they truly are.  The best way to do this is based on a great saying my grandfather once told me:  "If you want to give your children the best gift possible, simply love their mother."  Women - you are our first best defense against the bad choices men make early on.  Mothers who constantly seek out or stay in toxic relationships are teaching boys that this is all women are worth.  Don't stay in a bad relationship for the wrong reason ... your children will see that you respect yourself enough to choose something better.  And they will too.

The worst thing we can do to our kids is give them an example of what NOT to be - it sets up a life of avoiding character traits they may never actually possess.  Instead, be the example they can look up to, the example they can live into.

Know yourself, don't NO yourself.

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