When I was about to get married, one of the marriage counseling things was giving this questionnaire to your aces to help you understand your strengths and weaknesses. The theory being, the people who love you unconditionally both know you the best and you know their critiques of you come from a good place.
I’m paraphrasing here, but one of my aces critiques of me was essentially, he had no doubt I’d be a great husband and father, but when you fully transition into that ‘head of the household’ role, they’re aren’t any more off days when you can just go off and do whatever you want. Your wife will always be dependent on you in certain ways, your children will be watching you 24/7/365 as the example of what they’re supposed to be (or not be). So while it was admirable in a way I didn’t project myself as a ‘leader’ to stroke my own ego, the responsibility of that role was something I would have to fully embrace in my next chapter.
Needless to say, I had never been so insulted in my life, and I never talked to that dude again.
I never wanted to be a minister. Not because of a lack of faith or understanding of what I was reading, I’ve always felt fairly confident in those things. It was something else. When people would argue that religious leaders take advantage of people with low self esteem and use them for personal gain, it was hard for me to call that an outright lie. In my adulthood, I’ve found few things that draw my disdain more than hearing about some embezzlement, or sexual abuse, or a suicide bomber story that has the money quote, ‘He/she went to these people for guidance…’
Even if ‘religion’ is naturally flawed because it’s man made, that doesn’t mean the world isn’t filled with plenty of good pastors, rabbis, imams, nuns, priests, monks and other good leaders who don’t fall under any easily crafted label but who work for the betterment of mankind. Long before this election cycle became a circus, I fully embraced my own voice and role as a People’s Champion. (And the longer you’ve known me, the more you know it’s been a journey.) I’m not remotely this calculating, but like my hero pictured above, I’ve had a full life being ‘out there’, doing things a part of me knew I shouldn’t be doing in the first place, and I don’t run from my past. Now though, I represent so many things, sometimes multiple things at once. I fully embrace the responsibility that comes with being ‘on’ all the time, to suck it up on the bad days and push forward, to present myself as someone people can point to and say ‘that’s one of the guys we can take pride in.’ To carry myself as if the whole world is watching.
In 2016, you never know…