Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

What it means to me to be a good man: patterns of responsibility

<st ideal world, a good man would possess the following qualities at all times: He would show respect towards all women, children and elderly. He would be a man of service, always seeking to help those who stand in need of it. A good man would lead by example, he would take the initiative to get the task done, while uplifting and encouraging those around him. Above all, a good man would be a family man. One who understands the significance of placing the family before any worldly success, and helping his wife nurture their children.
In the short time that I have spent on this earth, the men in my life whom I consider good and hope to emulate, have all spent their time in the service of their fellow human beings. To serve is to help someone in their hour of need, no matter how great or small that act of service may be—whether it is helping someone move into their home on a Saturday morning, or simply proof reading someone’s essay. Service allows one to forget one’s own perils, and at the same time learn and develop many attributes that assist in building the character of a good man. While serving those we love is easy, a good man will seek out the strangers and help them as well, thus treating everyone the same.

The manner in which we choose to treat the women in our lives—whether we show respect or the lack thereof—is highly indicative of what kind of a man we are and may become. A good man will always strive to be kind and understanding, be respectful when addressing others, and use clean language. While these actions may seem simple and old fashioned, they help build character. They help establish a pattern of stability, reliability, and surety. One becomes a dependable force, a source of strength and re-enforcement for others.

One of the most important aspects of being a good man is the role of parent. While most of us are in college and may not spend much time pondering this subject, I feel that it is a crucial component of who we become later on in our adult lives. The manner in which we currently choose to think about our abilities as fathers will affect our parenting capabilities. A good man understands the significance of placing family first. No success outside the home can compensate for failure in the home. The mark of a good man can be seen by the joy which he brings to his family.

Masculinity has a different connotation to each individual; to some it means power, to another wealth, to others dominion, and to some respect. Ultimately, I believe good manhood comes down to self control and the correct exercise of my agency. As a free agent I am always in control of my decisions, where or not I accept that responsibility. Thus, a good man does not allow his circumstances to determine the outcome.

This essay is part of an ongoing series established by Chase Kimball. If you would like to have your own reflections published, please respond to the question “What does it mean to you to be a good man?” in an essay of 400-800 words and e-mail it to [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *