I like to do lists. They help organize my thinking and planning. Big-picture to do lists help me align my actions with my life-goals. Authors Kiselica and Englar-Carlson offer a framework for developing a positive, strength-based to do list. You can find a link to their article at the end of this blog.
To Do # 1: Collaborate with other men on a shared project or mission.
Scouts (formerly Boy Scouts of America), Habitat for Humanity, and other civic organizations, need men to bring their skills and strengths to build positive, pro-social communities.
The Pay Off: When men work with other men toward a common goal, they make a positive contribution to their communities. The personal payoff is the opportunity to develop lasting friendships with other men.
To Do # 2: Demonstrate your care and protection for your family and friends in practical ways.
The Pay Off: Men who back up their words with their actions feel a high sense of self-esteem. This is especially true if our actions require a commitment of time or money.
To Do # 3: Get your hands dirty being a great and noble dad.
The Pay Off: Men want to be more than a paycheck to their families. They want to play a positive, formative role in their children’s lives. This influence will lead to respect from your kids. And from your wife as well.
To Do # 4: Rely on yourself first; you’re quite capable of making good decisions and taking positive actions.
The Pay Off: Men judge themselves and other men by their ability to manage life’s challenges and trust their own resourcefulness. When we succeed, we grow in self-confidence. Self-confidence increases our willingness to push ourselves to take the next step, wherever that next step may take us.
To Do # 5: Take pride in your occupation. Excel in your work.
The Pay Off: There’s a reason that many men include a statement of their occupation when they introduce themselves. It’s a signal of his sense of identity and self-esteem.
To Do #6: Be courageous; push yourself; take sensible risks.
The Pay Off: Men grow by challenging themselves to reach for and achieve something bigger. For many men, the battle is “you against you.” Take appropriate risks to reach for your goals. It will give you a necessary sense of accomplishment.
To Do # 7: Find your band of brothers to work with toward a noble purpose.
The Pay Off: Community. When you work with other men to achieve a greater good, you demonstrate to your sons (and daughters), that men offer their best to make the world a better place.
To Do #8: Make it your priority to serve to others. Preferably, those less fortunate than yourself.
The Pay Off: Service to others demonstrates a man’s character. Providing for the common good in large and small ways is an honorable way of giving thanks for the blessings you’ve been given. To apply a quote – appropriate in this context – from Seth Godin, “People like us do things like this.”
To Do # 9: Laugh at life’s irony. Laugh a lot. Laugh with other men. But, never laugh at anyone.
The Pay Off: Laughter enables a man to take the long-view as he copes with stressful situations. Laughter with other men in our common strengths and weaknesses builds trust, affection and friendship.
To Do # 10: Aspire to be the hero in a noble cause.
The Pay Off: Legacy. You are an heir to the stories and sacrifices of noble men who have come before you. You are not only an heir, you are a steward in the common striving for things higher and greater than your seventy or eighty years. You won’t live to see the completion of this journey. But you will have made it your aim to play your own role to the best of your ability.
(An edited application of “Identifying, Affirming, and Building upon Male Strengths,” by Kiselica and Englar-Carlson)