Be Great, No Matter What
Last Fall, I wrote about To Kill A Mockingbird
and the great scene where Atticus explains to his daughter that he has to have integrity, that he has to be the same person in public as he is in private. I took that scene and applied it to our Catholic identity and how we need to be bold in the public square expressing our faith with the same level of comfort as we do in our homes. In fact, that part of the book had such a profound impact on me that this is the fourth time that I've discussed this great American literary work since March of 2013. Today, I want to turn this lesson back on us again, only this time to discuss the integrity that it takes to be a real man. You need to be the man you ought to be, even when your family isn't around.
We stand in very big shoes. As the leader of your household, your kids and your wife are taking cues from you. The more open, loving, and affectionate you are, the more those things will be reciprocated. The more good that you do, the more good that they'll do. For whatever reason, you will encounter people at work and in social settings who won't approve of your work as a great husband and dad. Some of these people are hurt because they didn't marry a great guy or because their father never loved them the way that you love your kids. We're undertaking a great generational and societal mission. We're changing the collective mind of society about what a great dad looks like and who a great husband is. Expect resistance.
Partly due to human nature and partly due to a generalized societal acceptance of extramarital affairs, there will be some people who will try to steal you away from your family. They might try to do it emotionally or, in some extreme cases, physically. Be alert in your relationships to make sure that you're giving off the right signals. Know that the fact that you're a great husband and a great dad is incredibly attractive. When you sense that things are getting grey, remove yourself from the equation and keep pushing forward.
It's too much of a hassle to live one life at home and another out in the world. The best approach is to continue the good work that you’ve already started. Know that you're doing the right things and never let anyone take that away from you. We're the husbands and fathers that we're made to be, let's keep showing people how it's done.