I’ve been going through a lot of stressful circumstances this past year and it has been causing me to think about what it looks like to go from being a boy to being a man. I suppose I’ve just been feeling like I’ve had a good deal of responsibility suddenly placed upon me. I have a lot of thoughts on the subject, so I’ve decided that for the first time I shall do a series.
I’ve been musing about responsibility and excuses for quite some time now, I’ve just been having a hard time of putting it into a blog. Though I figured it was about time to take another go at it, seeing that it’s a topic I view as particularly relevant. Our culture is filled with 40-year-old boys and I am sick of it. I’ve grown weary of guys justifying their failures and giving me their lists of reasons why the rules don’t apply to them. Honestly, I’m tired of dodging responsibility and hiding behind excuses in my own life.
Something that hit me recently is that no matter how great your excuses are for not succeeding at something, at the end of the day, all that remains is that you did not succeed. This occured to me after I did terribly on an Economics test. I had a list of what I considered to be valid reasons and circumstances as to why I did not succeed. If I had explained my circumstances to someone I could probably convince them that it wasn’t really my fault that I failed. But then it struck me that no matter how well I justified it to myself, the fact of the matter is that I still wound up with a 59%. My list of excuses simply will not change my grade.
I’ve been coming to realize that there are two fundamental ways of looking at challenges. You can either see obstacles as an excuse for failure and a reason for not trying your best, or you can see them as opportunities that will make you into the person that God intended you to be. One of the fundamental differences between men and boys is that boys present excuses, but men present accomplishments.
As a writer, one of my habits seems to be a tendency to sit back and observe people. I do this with strangers, friends, family, and anyone that strikes me as interesting. One of the things I’ve noticed is that some people have a pattern of failure and others have a pattern of success. So many of the men that I respect the most have a lifestyle of victory in common. They don’t complain, they just face what life throws at them, regardless of whether or not it is their fault.
Unfortunately, these men are not the norm. I’ve come to find that we live in a culture of excuses and negativity. In other words: we live in a culture defined by 40-year-old boys instead of men. I am growing so weary of guys that dodge responsibility and that are content with mediocrity. It is too common to see guys refuse to give something their best effort because they know that it is difficult.
I’ve noticed that every guy fancies himself the exception to the rules. It is not at all uncommon to see guys with a list of reaons why a particular Bible verse doesn’t apply to them, or how their actions were actually okay because of their unique circumstances. My mind turns to a friend of mine that has frequent academic struggles. He always has a list of reasons for why he didn’t pass his classes, numerous excuses like: “Well, that teacher hated me!”, or “That was just a hard time in my life.” etc, etc. Whereas, some of his excuses were indeed legitimate, the result is still the same: he did not pass.
Just as an example: in that situation, a boy will roll over and give up because the teacher didn’t like him, but a man will be motivated to try harder to succeed even inspite of the teacher. A boy uses unfortunate circumstances to hide his failure. A man uses unfortunate circumstances to motivate him to work harder.
I guess the point of this rant is just this: guys, it’s time to stand up and be men. Take responsibility with your jobs, with your relationships, with everything you set your hand to. Do not pass the blame to someone else. Do not try to dodge the consequences of your actions. Roll with the punches and deal with opposition, even when you don’t deserve it. Please understand I’m preaching at myself just as much as I am preaching at you, probably more so, in fact. I don’t mean to insult or attack you, but I do want to tell you to stop being boys. The world will not be changed by dudes. The world will be changed by men that are willing to take responsibility and do what it is that God has called them to do.