Challenge 7 – Being a Role Model
On the last Fathers Day I started to think of my own father. On the day after Christmas in 1977, my father died suddenly at the young age of 57. I was just 21, newly married and still finding my way in life. He had been a good man, a good father, a good example to me as a grew up but he was suddenly gone. And with his sudden death, I was left without any male mentor. My then wife had lost her father when she was 9 years old, so we were both suddenly fatherless. The only males around was an older brother and my peers in the Police Force and the various sporting clubs I belonged to. There is an old saying in the Bible when Jesus taught about “the blind leading the blind fall into the ditch”. Wisdom and good advice was lacking or if it was there, I ignored it. Looking back over the forty years since my father died, there were many times in my life that having his advice, wisdom and counsel would have made so much difference. Part of the problem I recognise now was the need to “know it all”, to be the “man of the house” and hence have all the answers, provide the leadership, know what has to be done. Yet inside, I didn’t know the answers … and my Dad wasn’t there. I maintained the bravado of self sufficiency without any substance to back it up and I made many mistakes, allowed wrong attitudes to prevail, made bad life choices. I am sure I am not alone in this.
Whilst my life didn’t go down the path of crime or violence or drugs. I know that I could have been a better man. There will be many who read this and have their own “absent father” experience. Whether it be because of death (like me) or divorce or a father who was emotionally absent and uninvolved in their lives, the result is the same. I felt like I was on my own.
So that’s why Challenge 7 – Being the Role Model is so important. As fathers or grand fathers or a relative or just a friend. We can all make a difference in some young man’s life by being a role model to them.
That then brings us back to the Values question in Challenge 1. What are your values? What is the foundation of those values? Do they stand the test of time? Are your values you want your son, someone else’s son to follow and imitate?
We will explore this some more in the next post.