#37: Good?

#37: Good?
I’m good right?  Please validate me … please? What makes us ‘good’ at something? What makes us rise above the rest and exemplify the best behaviours and best actions?  What makes me a person to look up to; a role model if you will?  I hardly think that I’m qualified enough to be considered a role model, yet here I am.  Helping to raise two children who, through sheer luck, divine intervention or just some really shitty cosmic lottery, have landed on having me as their Dad. Poor kids.
The last few weeks I’ve had people tell me that I’m really good or great at something. I’ve been told I’m one of the best Trainers so and so has ever had. I’ve been told that I’m a great listener. I’ve been told I’m a good Dad.  All flattering really … but I still feel that these claims are unfounded; baseless even. What grounds are these compliments being measured against? I would assume in some cases past personal experiences. But how is that ‘quality of character’ measured?

I always tell people that I don’t consider myself a Great Trainer (even though I have the awards and recognition to validate that I am). Rather, I tell them that I am a Good Trainer because the minute I believe I am great, I stop growing in my profession; I peak. I’m too damned young to peak.  I often wonder if I should apply that same philosophy to my Parenting and my Husbanding (is that a word?  Husbanding? I don’t know. Fuck it. It is now).

Not to undersell myself but if I think that I’m a Great Parent or Husband, will I become sloth-like?  Complacent even and stop working towards always getting better? I’ve worked too long and too hard in this life to simply accept that I can’t be better than this.  Besides, my wife would murder me if I just settled for a working in a new butt grove on the couch while breaking the world record for seeing how many cheesies I could stuff in my mouth at once. No no. I’m bound and determined to always work towards the stature of being “great” in my personal and professional life with the full knowledge that I may never reach that goal.

My greatest fear is that one day someone will call me out as a fake; an unqualified, you have no clue what you’re doing F-A-K-E and I’ll not be able to prove them otherwise. Anyone with kids knows what I’m talking about.  There will come a day when your child realizes that a large portion of what you said to them was pure and simple bullshit.  And you will stand there with a made-up grin and simply say “I’m sorry.” A Great Dad would have his apology speech all planned out. Screw you Ward Cleaver!  Screw you. But for the rest of us schlubs…errrr….I mean Good Dads, we can only hope that our kids will accept ice cream as a form of apology. Or at least be smaller than us so we can still beat their asses for being disrespectful!  Kidding….Children’s Aid….kidding.I’d like to think that I’m doing a good job so far when it comes to raising the monsters children and entertaining the wife.  I mean, the kids aren’t out lighting fires and robbing banks….yet. And my wife still seems relatively happy with my antics. I mean, I cook, I clean, I worship the ground she walks on. I really don’t expect much except for the occasional slap and tickle, so I’m pretty low maintenance.  But there’s always that nagging little voice in my head that keeps saying “I’m good right?  Please validate me……please?”

I’m not really sure I can answer what exactly makes a person great at what they do or who they are. I suppose if you’re not in jail, driving a big ol’ van with Free Candy written on the sides or using your children as monkeys in an organ grinder show, then you’re well on your way to being a “Good” person. If you said “Well…there was that one time….” seek professional help and then reassess your life. For those of us that question our worth day in and day out, don’t listen to the voices in your head. Realize that the difference between good and great is marginal and subjective. If the people in your life love you for you and what you do, then congratulations….keep up the good/great work!

Originally appeared at The Can-eh-dian Kid.

—Photo Shimmer Dog/Flickr


#36: Poet << 100 Acts of Male Goodness >> #38: Nightmares

About Cale Helmer

A devoted yet exhausted father to a beautiful daughter and an amazing boy with Asperger's Syndrome. Married to the most tolerant woman in the world who just so happens to be my best friend and my secret crush. I talk a lot and usually eat even more than I talk. Deep down though, I'm a gentle giant


  1. I too used to fear that some day I’d be exposed as a fraud, at my work, in my life, at everything I was doing.

    I have thankfully reached a point where I know I’m doing my best, I have a clear conscience, and I get enough positive feedback from my kids, coworkers and friends to keep that fear at bay. But I’m still always striving to be better at life.

    I also think that, in a sense, we’re all frauds, in that life did not come with an instruction manual, so we’re all making it up as we go along. And, to me, in a very zen way, that is the nature of the universe.


    • Jim,

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I think grown-ups on the whole; at least the ones with any sense of selfworth, spend incremental amounts of time pondering whether they’re cutting the mustard so to speak.

      My hope is that these people have access to the same support network of loved ones and peers that help to formally and informally validate them whenever the chance arises. Sounds like you do.




  1. […] #37: Good? << 100 Acts of Male Goodness >> #39: The Music Man /* Filed Under: 100 Acts of Male Goodness, The Good Life Tagged With: 100 acts of male goodness, apartment, fear, nightmares, sleep, The Good Life About Tom MatlackTom Matlack is the co-founder of The Good Men Project. He has a 18-year-old daughter and 16- and 7-year-old sons. His wife, Elena, is the love of his life. […]

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