Originally Published: August 5, 2017 6:05 a.m.
(Editor’s note: The Father’s Day, June 18 Courier featured a column by Richard Haddad called, “Such a Man is Needed Today.” In it, he admonished absent fathers to step back up and take their place in their children’s lives. That column ran with a photo, which is republished here to tell an unseen part of the story.)
A few years ago I was feeling somewhat testosterone-deficient as I sat in the bleachers of a rodeo event surrounded by a crowd of larger, stronger men of the cowboy persuasion.
I am not a big man; neither am I an athletic man. I have always been a thinker and a creative person and there have been times when I wondered if I did my four sons justice in providing an example of a real man.
With boots and broad shoulders the men around me cheered at the announcement of the final event, the bull riding competition, for which they had waited anxiously.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man sitting with his little girl as she clutched two baby dolls. She tugged on her father’s jacket and declared, “I need to go potty.” I watched as the man turned his attention to this small child and carried her down the steps. My vision of a real man was sharpened.
When he put her down I couldn’t help but turn my camera to capture this subtle moment as he held her hand and led her toward the restrooms. The crowd cheered for the cowboy in the arena, but I saw a real man quietly walking behind the bleachers.
This man knew where his priorities fell, and that made him strong in my eyes.
Here are 11 character traits all of us, as men, should strive to possess:
Honesty: endeavors to tell the truth; is sincere; does not mislead or withhold key information in a relationship of trust.
Integrity: stands up for what is right and tries to be his best self.
Keeps promises: especially promises to his wife and children; honors commitments; pays his debts.
Loyalty: recognizes that loyalty to his own family should come before loyalty to his friends, or loyalty to a team or a sport.
Responsibility: thinks before he acts; considers consequences and is accountable; not too proud to offer an apology.
Diligence: pursues excellence and is not considered lazy or a quitter.
Kindness/Caring: shows he cares through his actions, never striking or threatening a woman or child in anger, or ruling anyone with fear.
Respectful: understands common courtesy; is tolerant, appreciative, and accepting of differences.
Fairness: treats people fairly; keeps an open mind and listens to others.
Good citizenship: obeys the laws of the land; respects authority and, through his example, teaches his children to do the same.
Forgiving: A man who truly loves his wife, children or friends will be quick to forgive. I heard it said once that a happy marriage is the union of two great forgivers.
To the women reading this column — you owe it to yourself and your sons or daughters to expect that the men in your life are striving to be such men. We will fall short at times, but there should be no doubt that our heading is sure.
Richard Haddad is Director of News & Digital Content for Western News&Info, Inc., the parent company of The Daily Courier. This column originally appeared as a blog entry on dCourier.com.