One of my big revelations in life was that I don't have to be superman to everyone. There are actually only a few people who really need me to operate at that level. Everyone else falls in line behind them. Sorry. Not giving up every ounce of strength and spare minute for the leeches who suck the life out of me anymore. My wife and kids get the best of me from now on.
But, there's something inside us guys that craves the recognition of being a hero. Some of us are just naturally heroic types. Determined to do the right thing at all times. Some of us will gladly take credit for someone else's heroism. Jerks.
I met a career firefighter a while back. Great guy. Bad husband, but working on it. We had a conversation about 9/11 and the firefighters who lost their lives. He was upset about it. They had no business running into those burning buildings. They knew better. Someone should have stopped them. Their training told them that, at some point it was a lost cause. Get away. Save yourself. There's no logical reason to go in there. There's almost no chance you will survive and not much chance you will bring anyone else out. He got emotional about those guys and what they did. But confessed that, if he had been there, he probably would have done the same thing. He couldn't have just stood there and done nothing. He had a hero inside him that would never just sit still when there was a need so great. He couldn't just watch tragedy like that without trying to stop it. Those police officers and firefighters were heroes, no matter how anyone feels or what the training manual said. Tragic day. I will never forget it.
I have been thinking about that conversation and that man. His instinct was to quickly make a decision that could cost him his life. He was hard wired to consider another life more valuable than his own and do whatever it took to save them. But, this same man was unwilling to treat his own wife like she was that valuable. He was willing to give his life up completely and die for a stranger. He had a problem with giving up a degree of his life to save his wife from a stressful and frustrating life. Why? Why are we willing to just die when we see a great need but can't "die to ourself" for the needs of our family? What is the difference? I have a hard time accepting that we are capable of one but not the other. If there is anyone alive who deserves that kind of sacrifice, it would be our wife and our kids. Why do we have to always get our own way? Why do we have to be so important at home? Why do we make all the critical decisions for the family? Why is her opinion and need less important than ours? Not all guys have this issue, but plenty do. We will lay our life down for a stranger but not lay down the remote for our family.
Guys, we can do better than this. When Joel and Kathy started counseling me, I was that knucklehead, too. I had given up the best years of my life to all kinds of people. Jobs that didn't pay well, but demanded ridiculous hours. Churches that liked to throw everything on the guy who had a hard time saying no. Friends who always needed something stupid on the weekends. Yeah. I couldn't say no to all that, but I could to my family. It was almost like I was looking for excuses to stay away from them. They felt it, too. My middle daughter made a painful comment once, when she was about four. I was working for a big church. I regularly put in 70-80 a week there. My wife and daughter came to pick me up for lunch one day. Wen they pulled into the parking lot, my daughter said, "oh, we're going to daddy's house." She actually thought I lived there. Bad daddy. That was me. Jerk.
Just take some time this week and consider your life. How do you want to be remembered? Do you want random people to remember you as a really good guy, even if they forget your name? The selfish guy who always did whatever he wanted even when his family needed him. Or. Do you want you family to remember you as their hero? The guy who saw a little league game or dance recital as more important than a fishing trip. The guy who saw momma tired and stressed out and did something about it. The guy who was fully aware of the needs in his own home. The guy who took responsibility for the condition of his family. The guy who was willing to lay down his life for the ones who matter most. Your choice.