Saturday, December 20, 2008

Woman, I Feel Like A Man!

One of my all time favorite movies is Cinderella Man. The best scene in the movie is where James Braddock (played by Russell Crowe) overhears his daughter asking for more dinner. His wife tells her that they need to save some for the boys. Braddock then sits down and tells his family that he dreamed of eating a big juicy steak the night before, and he is stuffed. He then gives his slice of bologna to his daughter, and leaves to find work. There isn't a real man on earth who wouldn't feel moved during that scene. That scene is the essence of what it is to be male. John Eldridge said it best: every man needs "A battle to fight, a beauty to rescue, and an adventure to live."

For the last couple of weeks, I have had the honor of assuming all three. I took a second job so that I could pay off some bills, save, and buy an outdoor play set for my kids. It has been rough working 80 hours a week. But despite being tired, I've never felt more alive. I feel alive because I'm working for a reason, and a self-respecting noble one at that. I have decided that I would BE THE MAN, and not let Visa or MasterCard be it for me. I decided to be James Braddock. It was time for me to give up my bologna and sleep, and head to the battlefield. This has become one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done.

Work, in itself, is NOT fulfilling. Work is like money. It is a means to something. It can be used to FIGHT a battle, or it can be used to ESCAPE one. Men like to be where they are respected. If we receive more respect from our co-workers than our wives, we don't mind stretching out our work day. :) We can spend extra time at work, to avoid battles at home. But we can also spend more time at home, to avoid financial ones. Men who spend their time avoiding battles are not fulfilled, and any work they do is just a narcotic to lesson the real pain. The pain of NOT acting male. We are not built to run, we are built to fight.

Real men go to battle, not avoid it by making minimum monthly payments. Not all "money" problems are caused by the lack of money. It could be "male" problems caused by the lack of being male. A real man takes on the "full" responsibility of the task set before him. Real men don't "outsource" their duties. Even if my wife had a degree in finance, she would NOT be allowed to pay the bills or handle the finances. If our roles were reversed and she worked, she still would not handle the finances. It has nothing to do with control, or who has the better math skills. It's all about me needing to be accountable for the things I'm responsible for. Would a soldier reload, carry, and clean his weapon, but then let someone else fire it? Not only does it make NO sense, but it is NOT efficient and can be dangerous. By being responsible for making the money AND budgeting for expenses, I am the first one to know when I don't have enough. And that burden and stress will be on ME and not on someone else. Would James Braddock ask his wife to shift some money around and make it work? NO, James Braddock would shift his ass into gear and get to fighting. Real men wield their own weapons.