Shawn Maxam explains while on his quest to being a good man why he will still make the occasional bad decision.
The word “good” has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.
-Gilbert K. Chesterton
Progressive minded individuals such as myself have a tendency to over-romanticize certain character ideals. I have learned in recent years to take a more pragmatic and realistic approach to my own expectations about the kind of man I can actually be. Being a good man and a perfect man are not and can never be the same thing. Self-actualization is cyclical and consists of many steps backwards before we eventually reach our goal of being the best person we can be.
A perfect example of a step backwards occurred to me yesterday. I got into an arguement with my wife and I lose control of my temper. I yelled at my wife until she cried. Now reading my blog posts a person would assume that I never engage in such immature behaviors but occasionally I do. I do not condone such behavior because it was a power play on my part. Yet I believe not only do I have to hold myself accountable to my wife but to the community of men here on The Good Men Project and those in the larger public sphere who are attempting to do the work to become good men.
If we can not admit our mistakes then how do we ever learn from them and grow as human beings? A good man does many things wrong. Just like a good president can make bad decisions (I am looking at you Pres. Obama.) or even a good father or a good husband men can make bad choices. Our society has become obessesed with defining the total character of individuals based upon their worst choices. This is how we have become a nation where we lock-up men for decades. We have become a society where we speak of second chances but rarely give them. Where are our expectations for infallible behavior is so high that we become disappionted and apathic whenever someone commits an error in judgement.
Whether it be the basball player Josh Hamilton having a momentary relapse to my own brother getting arrested due to his own addiction and substance abuse issues we see men who are trying to do the right thing everyday but have minor and major hiccups along the way. We have to remember even along our own journeys to being good men to not confuse goodness with perfection. That is a burden too heavy for one man or all men to carry.
Please share this with friends, enemies and temporary allies alike.
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