A good man
Takes responsibility for his actions.
Protects loved ones.
Is healthy in mind and body.
Plays the long game.
Plays by the rules.
Recognizes and corrects his failures.
Is loyal, virtuous and moral.
Is a man of his word.
Treats everyone with respect.
Doesn’t believe stereotypes.
Makes you feel beautiful and safe.
Is always improving himself.
Walks the walk.
Is honest with himself and others.
Stands up for injustice.
Looks you in the eye.
Lots of men behaving badly out there: councilmen, mayors, teachers, police officers, congressmen, ex-presidents… it’s tough to go through a daily news cycle and not see another story, another victim, another tragedy.
Just finished Hunter Biden’s book and, wow, kinda amazing to think that he was scoring crack at a homeless encampment with a gun in his face while his dad was three blocks away in the White House being vice president. I wonder how happy the people at Burisma were to read that the $50K/month consulting fee was going up in smoke, “a hit every 15 minutes”. Yikes.
He was a man behaving badly but thankfully he recognized it, corrected his failures (and met a better “bell ringer” than the crack pipe) and lived to write about it. The book is also a tragic love story for his brother Beau and it’s great that instead of denying and hiding from problems, Hunter tells all and writes a best seller. Proving once again that America is the land of amazing opportunity, especially if you are famous, wealthy and white.
But Hunter came out OK, he’s now remarried and painting strange watercolors in New York with a new child and new direction. And if Hunter can do it, we all can do it (The “be a good man” part, not the crack addiction part).
“The measure of a man is what he does with power.” -Plato.
OK, enough quotes. Want the “how to be a good man” for dummies version? Four words: Don’t be an asshole. Simple. From the time you rise in the morning to when you fall asleep at night, treat people places and things the way you want to be treated. Because that’s really it, we know what’s right, we just sometimes forget, or choose to forget.
My Geometry class is designing the James Edwin Pendergast memorial pedestrian bridge, because bridges are cool and I will forever have Mr. Pendergast’s face seared into my brain. See, a couple of Monday’s ago I was riding to work, about to turn left on the bike path when an older gentleman with a hat and a look of confusion reared back as I approached. I rolled along on my merry little way while apparently the gentlemen tried to walk across 4 lanes of traffic, was struck by a car and died. I heard the sirens as I rode on and thought, “Hope nobody is hurt”.
Course it’s not my fault but if I were a better man and had prioritized that confused gentleman over rushing to my next Zoom meeting, he might still be alive. If I had taken a moment and said, “Can I help you with anything?” then walked him to the corner where he could cross safely, he might still be alive. But I didn’t and he’s not.
All men can be good men all the time if we just think a little bit more, pay a little better attention, and intervene whenever a situation arises. Make your own list like I did above then put it on a post-it on your wall then pay attention when you do something that makes you feel like an asshole and don’t do it again.
And if you see a wrong, right it. If someone tells you something that seems off, ask more questions and help. We all have that Spidey sense that makes you go Hmmm when things seem not quite right and we need to listen to it. I’m not saying cancel everyone, just try and cancel the bad people.
Plus, if you feel like one of the bad people there is no better time than after a 1-year hiatus to reinvent yourself and become good. Make your amends, vow to do better and move on, it worked for Hunter and it can work for all men.