Today physical violence doesn’t involve a fist, but a knife or a gun wielded by a coward too weak to stand and fight on his own. He didn’t have a father to teach him how to do so, or to scold him for acting with weakness. Or, he had a father, but that father is a coward as well, and is too absent in his sons life to realize the coward he’s raising.
My dad wasn’t so disappointed by my mistakes as by was how I reacted to them if that reaction wasn’t honorable. He understood that mistakes are what a boy will make, and how he will learn. But if I made a mistake, I had to own up to it, confess it, be a man about it. If I lied, passed the blame to another, or looked for the easy way out, that would bring about his greatest disappointment, and there’s nothing a son wouldn’t want to do more than disappoint his old man. As a result, I made plenty of mistakes, but I always owned up to them.
Cowards Are Nothing New, But When Did They Become The Norm?
There have always been cowards, men of honor have always been the minority, but in years past we were given more opportunity to develop honor because of the harshness of the times they developed in.
Today we breed cowards because we encourage weakness. The life expectancy has never been greater, the ease at which we can live has never been more accessible, conflict has never been so hidden and cunning and devious. We tear one another down with gossip, we fight back in the same manner.
The world sits idly by as the innocent are being slaughtered. As innocence is being taken from our youth far too early, far too often, men like Sam Childers are in incredibly short supply. We don’t defend the weak, because most men are weak.
Our society helps develop weakness through bail-outs where we fail, but we’re not allowed to feel the sting of that failure. We’re not allowed to develop the internal calluses and toughness that come only from learning how not to do things. Our society develops weakness by removing the physicality from our childhood’s, from our sports, and from our wars.
There’s a reason why sports like boxing are used to teach kids discipline, to get them off the streets, to teach them honor and hard work and sacrifice, but also to let them experience pain, defeat, and a physical consequence for their mistakes. As a kid, Mike Tyson used to rob old women in daylight. He’d faced gunfire, knife attacks, you name it. But the scariest thing he’d ever faced was another trained fighter standing across from him in the ring. There were no weapons, there was no escape. He had to man up and fight, and risk getting beaten up, for the first time in his life.
Young men need competition to develop honor. Knowing what’s right and what’s wrong isn’t enough, it has to be tested in situations where cheating, lying, and steeling may even be rewarded with victory. In the end, those who live with honor leave a legacy, those who lie, cheat, and flop to get ahead, don’t.
The excuse, well his heart is good, or, you know he’s a good person deep down, is used far too often. Good intensions are nothing, they’re useless. Good actions are all that matters. There’s no such thing as a ‘good person’ who doesn’t act as such, even if his heart is in the right place. Actions matter. Intentions don’t.
Honor Is Developed In Pain
Values like honor, courage, and valor can’t be developed by someone who lives an easy life. They’re only forged in pain and struggle and failure. There are two groups that can never be true warriors, nor real men:
- Those that never extend themselves beyond their comfort zones, or move towards their greatest fears.
- Those that never accept responsibility for their own actions, their own success in life, and their own happiness.
Honor is something that has to be branded on our souls if we’re truly going to live by it at all times. It can’t be a temporary tattoo, it has to be a permanent one. The only way we can be men of honor is to extend ourselves beyond what we can currently accomplish. We have to put ourselves through a great degree of discomfort as we face our fears in life, in business, even socially and physically. We have to be put in to – or place ourselves in – situations where there is an easy way out, one that most take, but to be a man of true honor, we have to take the hard road, the honorable road.
We can’t be “the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better.” We must be “the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worth cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”
Defeat isn’t the enemy. Cowardly defeat is, just like a cowardly win is. Defeat can be a great teacher. Losing honorably builds character, much like winning honorably does the same. But we have to be in the arena to develop honor and courage and character. No man can be a warrior giving orders from the sideline, if the giving of those orders weren’t first earned in the battlefield. No man can be a leader, if his leadership wasn’t first earned in the face of tribulation, in the conquering of his fears.
It’s in facing our fears, stepping out from our comfort zone, and taking responsibility for our actions – good or bad – and for our lives that we develop and live with honor. Almost any bad deed is forgivable if we make an effort to change, and own up to the mistake we made.
Be a man of honor, we need you to be. Teach your sons to be the same. The world is a hard place, somehow it’s being run and populated by more and more weak men, let’s change that. Let’s make success something that must be attained with honor, by not applauding those who do so otherwise. Let’s hold ourselves accountable, first, but others as well. The world needs more men with grit, more hard, honorable men. Stand up. Rise up. Be one of the few. Be Legendary.