The first thing that comes to mind when I think about what it means to be a man is responsibility. We have a responsibility as men to be leaders, role models, mentors, teachers, advisors and world changers. Anytime I see men playing any other role I simply think to myself that they haven’t yet tapped into their true power and haven’t found their purpose. I believe that when you serve a purpose greater than yourself, you’ll become stronger, richer, and wiser because that’s what it takes to lead. It builds your character in a way that would be impossible when you have no one and nothing holding you accountable.
My son Ethan is a blessing to me because he’s someone who holds me accountable no matter what. He doesn’t know what rent is, what bills are, or what it means to be in debt. All he knows is that he’s a child, I’m his father and he wants the world. I remember one time Ethan wanted to buy something and I told him that I didn’t have any cash on me. His reply was, “You know what Daddy? I think we should go to the ATM”. I couldn’t help but laugh because he really does think money grows on trees. Lol
I love his innocent and I try my best to protect it by not informing of the harsh realities of the world just yet. I say things like “We’ll see…” or “If you’re a good boy…” or “We have to save in order to get that…” I don’t let him know “Son, I just paid the rent, phone bill, went grocery shopping, and bought you new clothes so I can’t afford anything else right now”. No, I simply let him know what we have to do in order to have the things that we want in the future. I’m a believer that you can have anything you want in life if you plan and work hard to get it.
I don’t want to put any doubt in my sons mind about my ability or his ability to achieve his goals because fear and doubt is hazardous to your success. Instead I enforce the notion of valuing a dollar and not buying on impulse simply because it’s there. I do this by encouraging my son to use his own money to buy the things that he wants. Thankfully, this hasn’t backfired on me; I’m aware that with $5, Ethan can buy 20 gumballs for $25 and say “What? I used my own money”. Lol I show him how to manage the money that he’s been given by not spending it all at once.
Money management is only one of my many responsibilities as a man and as a father. I use my son as an example because who knows what my life would be like without him. I spend my weekends doing activities with my son, and those moments are priceless. If he weren’t in the picture there’s no telling what my weekends would consist of. Now that I have a son, I think about my future, our future, I plan ahead because now I’m responsible not only for myself, but also for him.
There’s tuition for school, medical, food, clothes, birthdays, Christmas and many other miscellaneous expenses associated with having a child and it’s all worth it. It gives me a reason to wake up and work hard every day so that I can rest knowing he’s taken care of. It gives me great pleasure knowing that my son can sleep worry free at night with a roof over his head and food on his table. It’s hard enough being a kid, learning the ways of the world, and fitting in with society, the last thing I need is my son worrying about the stability of his home. And it gives your child a sense of pride knowing that their father is out there working hard, being responsible and taking care of his business.
Stepping out on faith and crossing over into a new venture sometimes can be scary, but it’s time to overcome your fears. I know countless men who are living with women not because they love her and are interested in building a future with her, but because the rent is free. They’re too afraid to go out, get a job, save up money and invest in a home of their own. The woman is their security net and they’ve fallen back on it with no plans of ever leaving. Not only is this unfair to the woman, but it’s crippling to you as a man.
Being responsible means that you are taking responsibility, not being given it. You are volunteering to go out and apply for a job each and everyday until you get one. You are spending less and saving more so that you can afford your own apartment. You are buying more groceries and cooking instead of eating out because it saves you money that you can’t afford to spend. You are actively looking for an apartment so that you can move out on your own.
Being responsible requires you to make change in your life that will impact your life and the lives of those around you. That means you have to be on time, you have to return things that you’ve borrowed, you have pay debts, and you have to follow through with the promises you’ve made. Your word needs to count for something, and your actions need to count for more. When you are responsible, people will see it, and will trust you with their time and valued possessions for it. When you prove to be irresponsible, you will burn bridges that you need to walk over in order to build relationships and be successful.
I’ve learned over time to say yes to the right people and say no to the wrong people. To me it doesn’t matter how long we’ve known each other, whether or not we’re related by blood, etc. If you have a track record of being irresponsible, then I’m not going to trust you with things that are of value to me. You have to work to build that trust, and until you do, the answer to your request will be no. I’d much rather give a family member $20 than to sit there and listen to them ask to borrow $20. We both know that you can’t be trusted, are terrible with money, and have absolutely no way of getting the money back.
But when you’ve proven that you are someone who is considerate of others, good with money and trustworthy, getting a loan is no problem at all. You see, the power of being responsible goes far beyond your own personal benefit. It trickles down to relationship with other people, other businesses and other brands. People want to know that you value your own time and money and that you manage it well. Then and only then will they be willing to sacrifice their own. This is something that you will experience when you apply for a job, a house or a car.
People who are irresponsible, manage money poorly, and don’t aren’t good with time management often complain about standards. How could they possibly understand standards? All their lives they’ve skated by, cut corners and cheated the system. Those people are in for a rude awakening and for them I say, “Welcome to the real world”. A world where there are background checks, credit checks and oh yes we need references. We want to know who in their right mind will vouch for your mess.
Standards are something that’s extremely important to me, and when I’m dating I go through a series of questions that reveal a woman’s character and position in life. I want to know their age, educational background, career, number of children, marital status, current living situation, and what went wrong in their last relationship. The answer to these questions will give me all the information I need as to whether or not I feel a woman is deserving of my time. No matter how beautiful a woman may be, it’s important to me that she has substance and depth to her.
I need to know that she is educated, career oriented, financial secure, emotionally available and prepared to grow in a relationship. If she’s not then there’s no sense in dating her because if she’s not taking good care of herself, how could she take good care of me? Women look at men the same way; they want to know that you are capable of taking care of yourself and your responsibilities. If you can’t take care of your own responsibilities, how could you take care of her? The same applies to a successful company going through a hiring process.
How can they trust a man who is always late, never pays his bills, has no major accomplishments in his life, and no goals with a Fortune 500 company? That’s not to say that you won’t get lucky and find a woman or a job who will take a chance on you, but your chances will be greater when you take responsibility for your actions. If you are an able bodied man, you can do anything you put your mind to, and that’s exactly what people want to see. They want to see you be a great father, great husband, great worker, great leader so that they can feel more comfortable about including you in their lives. They want to see you achieve your goals and serve as motivation to help them reach theirs.
You’ll feel so much better about yourself when you’ve taken those first few steps and overcome your fears. Feel good knowing that you worked hard for the job you have, the house you bought, the child you raised, or the wife you pleased. As a man you are expected to set goals, break barriers, and lead others into prosperity, but you first need to know how to get there yourself. Take pride in holding yourself accountable for your obligation to this world. Don’t be afraid to take action, be prepared to take action.
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Life & Relationship Coach