From Washington D.C. to Hollywood, we have seen many high-profile scandals and misconduct involving family men in recent years. It’s a heartbreaking reality, especially when children are in the mix. We are still surrounded by good men and fathers, but sometimes it’s hard to recognize who they are. Sometimes we need a little reminder of what it means to be a good father in this day and age.
I grappled with that essential question of what it means to a good father throughout my literary journey. Many letters took years to write but the one that eluded me most was what it meant to be a good father.
The breakthrough came several months after my son was born. As I held him in my arms, “asking” him what was the secret to being a good father, his “answer” was my breakthrough — you had to be a good man first. How simple. How perfect. And here is what I wrote to my son that day that has since guided me as both a father and a man, and that I want to share with all fathers and fathers-to-be on this Father’s Day:
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“When do you become a man? You become a man when you first decide to put away the things of childhood, the talk of childhood, and the thoughts of childhood. You decide because you cannot be treated as both a man and a boy. Because you are either one or the other, but you are not both. And it doesn’t matter your age — you can be a child at fifteen or forty. Only when you as a boy decide you’re done waiting for the man you want to be and start being the man you want to become, do you begin to become a man.
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When do you become a man?
When you become your own man.
When other men trust you to do a man’s work. Trust you with their name, their reputation, their thoughts. Trust you to watch their backs and trust you with their lives.
To become a man is to carry out your word because you gave your word. And your word is you as a man.
You become a man the moment you understand that responsibility is a real and vital commitment to yourself and others, and not some lazy-dog, all-agreeing grunt.
Becoming a man means doing the right thing even though it may be hard or difficult. Boys do what is easiest. A man does what is right, whether easy or not.
When do you become a man?
You become a man when you marry not just for love but to be a partner with your wife. To be the best man you can be with her, and when you fall short, to admit your shortcomings and to constantly strive to be a great man to your wife.
You become a man when, in having children, you not only physically look after and protect them but also protect them with all the love and learning you have to give.
You become a man when you give your family the best of who you are. And ultimately by being the best man to yourself and to your wife, you are being the best man to your children. And that, my Son, is a great gift and responsibility.
And what type of man should you be, my Son?
A good man. Above all else, strive to be a good man.
A good man, in your papa’s book, is a great man. One who constantly strives to be the best of men, to himself and to others. Because the world can never have enough good men.
And what makes a good man, my Son.
A good man is being fair. In both your words and your actions.
When you admit being wrong. And then right that wrong.
A good man knows when he’s been humbled, and learns from his humility.
Being a good man means to speak with sincerity, and love with certainty.
A good man will try to act wisely by thinking first and then acting.
A good man tells the truth.
A good man lives for the joy in life and the happiness of being alive, not shackled to the wants of the future or the regrets of the past.
A good man defends those that cannot defend themselves.
And a good man knows the difficulty of being a man, knowing the fall from grace is always near at hand, and thus is always striving to make himself a better man.
And as I quickly grow older, my son, I see that the becoming a man and the being a man are eventually and truly one in the same, and the tests and the testing never end. I know in my father heart, and in all the other places I cannot go to at this moment, that I believe in you with all my love, even as time now disappears before me. And I know someday you will become a man to make your papa proud — your own man. Walking true to your own beliefs, carrying your name proudly, ever loyal to a valiant heart, and believing that being a good man in this life is a great endeavor. And on that day, I will somehow be with you. And somehow, I will have been your father. I love you.”
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Carew Papritz is one of the most innovative authorpreneurs of the 21st century, having been compared to the likes of Elon Musk in his approach to book marketing. With a background in Hollywood filmmaking, Papritz understands the art of drama and showmanship as seen through his numerous videos on “CarewTube.” Papritz promotes his award-winning inspirational book, The Legacy Letters, by creating numerous dynamic, attention-grabbing publicity stunts which are whimsical, fun, and most importantly, effective. From his unique series of “First Ever” book signings – on top of volcanoes, on horseback and in post-Castro Cuba – to his annual literacy-driven charity event, “The Great Book Balloon Launch,” Papritz is making an impact in his industry for being an advocate for literacy and teaching future generations about the importance of legacies.
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