Sunday is the day set aside to honor fathers. I know sometimes fathers can get a bad rap. In this article, I am writing words of encouragement to men everywhere on the importance of making a positive impact in the lives of their children and future generations.
As I think about what it means to be a man, husband, and father, I can’t help but think about the major role my father had in my life. This will mark the eleventh Father’s Day that I have been without my father. It seems like yesterday that we were hanging out and laughing. I miss him dearly, but I appreciate the times that we shared together as father and son. The words of wisdom that he poured into me still resonate in my life.
Are you living the life you were designed to live? I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on my current life and what I want my legacy to be. I have allowed myself to envision a better present and a greater future without constraint. I know who I am purposed to. At the beginning of this year, I asked myself, “What can I do to position myself to live a better life that impacts those connected to me in a positive and effective way?”
A time of reflection
Recently, I was reflecting on how quickly time passes and couldn’t help but think about the life of my father. It has been over eleven years since I suddenly lost my father. I was reflecting on some of the good times we shared together as father and son. That moment of reflection brought tears to my eyes because I truly miss my father and it also reminded me how precious each moment of life is.
As I thought about the life of my father, I couldn’t help but smile. He impacted so many lives with his uncanny ability to never meet a stranger. It did not matter the color of your skin, how much money you had or didn’t have or what side of the tracks you came from, he would converse with anyone.
To this day, I have people tell me what a positive effect my father had on their lives. He lived life to the fullest. Even in times of struggle and challenges that left him frustrated and discouraged, I never saw him quit. He lived his life between the dash.
What is the dash
The dash is the mark on a gravestone that separates a person’s beginning date from their ending date. The dash is small in size and looks somewhat insignificant, but in actuality, it represents great significance because it indicates the life that was lived.
When I think about my father, I am proud to say that he lived life to the fullest between his dates. He did not have everything he wanted nor did he accomplish everything he desired, but he approached life with a vibrant attitude. He left a legacy of living life the best you can with the resources you have.
The choice is yours
Everything we do in this present life will be passed on to our future generations. So what are you leaving behind?
You choose how you live between your dates by the actions you take today, tomorrow and the years to come. Every day is a new canvas to paint the picture of how you want to be remembered in your dash. When you get to the end of your life what story will your dash tell?
You can start today by stepping out in faith and follow the vision that is your heart. Every second, minute, hour and day that you live in your dash is an opportunity to sow seeds of hope for today and future generations.
I am excited that I am the father of two wonderful young men who I can spend quality time with and share words of wisdom. I am appreciative of the awesome responsibility that I have to train them to become responsible and productive men. I do not take it lightly.
As I think about how I am going to live my dash more effectively, I want to share with you, forty-five insights I learned from my father on how to live your dash at maximum capacity.
1. You will never become the man you were destined to be if you are always looking at who you use to be.
2. Don’t let someone’s negative opinion of you become your reality.
3. Whenever you find yourself doubting if you will make it, always remember how far God has brought you.
4. Be very careful who you allow to speak into your life.
5. Don’t let others set the bar for your life because more than likely they will set it too low.
6. Never let your dream die because others don’t see it.
7. Sometimes you have to laugh at yourself.
8. Don’t let the fear of what could happen stop you from pursuing what is possible.
9. Having a dream changes nothing, but taking action can change everything.
10. Achieving anything worthwhile in life takes effort.
11. If you are still holding onto what you did yesterday then you will miss what you can do today.
12. Don’t borrow tomorrow’s trouble because today has more than enough to handle.
13. Don’t listen to what people say, watch what they do.
14. When you take action on your vision, people will show up who want to help you succeed and who want to hinder your progress.
16. Because you have a past with someone, doesn’t mean you should have a future with them.
17. Don’t base living your life on other people’s opinions.
18. The real tragedy in life is not death, but to let your vision die inside of you while you still live.
19. It is okay to say ‘no’.
20. If you keep waiting for the perfect circumstances, you may look around and find time has passed you by.
21. Life will give you lessons you only get by living.
22. A good name is to be more desired than great wealth.
23. If you are tired of where you are then do something about it.
24. We all have 24 hours a day and 168 hours a week, no more or no less. What are you going to do with your time?
25. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
26. Education is more than taking classes and getting degrees.
27. Watch and pray.
28. If you want to live the life you were created to live, you must walk by faith and not by sight.
29. It is okay to ask for help.
30. Excuses will hold you hostage from living at maximum capacity.
31. You were created to stand out, not blend in.
32. Life is too short and unpredictable for you to keep putting your dreams on hold.
33. Don’t hold onto people whose season is over in your life.
34. If you don’t learn from your failures, you are prone to repeat them.
35. You have a gift to extend to the world that only you can give.
36. Worrying does not add to your life it only subtracts.
37. Do not let past mistakes, failures or successes prevent you from reaching your future potential for success.
38. Stop waiting for the right person to endorse your vision because they may never show up.
39. You cannot change what you are unwilling to confront.
40. Failure is only final if you don’t pick yourself up and try again.
41. Don’t let greed, jealousy or ego get the best of you.
42. All work and no play will set you up for frustration and failure.
43. Champions are not made in the classroom, but on the field of play.
44. You only get one shot at life so you might as well make that shot count.
45. Trying to run someone else’s race will guarantee you defeat in your race.
These are just forty-five insights I am sharing with you of what I learned from my father on becoming a better man. I have more to share on a later date, but for now, let these forty-five insights marinate in your mind.
“A wise man will hear and increase in learning and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” Proverbs 1:5
Question: What insight(s) inspired you to become a better man? Leave a comment below or submit your personal story for pubilcation on The Good Men Project.
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