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Being A Better Man - Alf Herigstad 29th August 2016
094 – Being A Better Son
00:00:00 00:11:35

094 – Being A Better Son



Today’s topic, like the title implies, is about being a better son.  Regardless of what age you are, regardless of what your family circumstances are, if you are a guy, then you are also somebodies son.

So why am I talking about this?  What does being a better son have to do with being a better man?  Well…think about it;  if you are a rotten, horrible son or even a mediocre son, then it would be difficult to be a better man at the same time wouldn’t it? 

Being a son is part of the equation, it’s part of being a man because all men are sons.  Therefore being a better son, is part of being a better man.

Maybe your parents are dead…you can still be a better son and I’ll explain how and why. 

Maybe your parents are horrible people that don’t deserve a better son…that’s unfortunate but it doesn’t matter, you should still be a better son, I’ll tell you why in a minute.

Maybe you and your parents are estranged, you haven’t talked to them in years for whatever reason and they aren’t a part of your life anymore…I believe there is still a valid cause to be a better son in that case as well.

Maybe you never even knew your parents.  Someone raised you though; your grand-parents, an Uncle, or even foster parents…In all of these relationships, you are the son to these people who gave you a life.

I believe the vast majority of you however, have good decent parents that you love…and you take them for granted.  You think more about what your parents will do for you than what you can do for them.  I’m talking to you guys too.

As you can see there are many different types of situations in which you can be a son.  one mans experience of being a son will be totally different than another mans. 

But, there are also some common factors.  Like when all of you were born, it was a big deal.  On that day, regardless of your circumstance it was all about you.  The proof of that, is that you are still alive.  You were helpless and weak and pathetic, but somebody fed you.  Somebody kept you warm and dressed you in clothes.  Somebody helped you live and without them you wouldn’t be here.  That somebody is more than likely one or both of your parents, or in some cases your grandparents or someone else…that doesn’t matter so much, what matters is that you were given a life.

So, one reason to be a better son is simply to honor the life you are living, because that was a gift.  Regardless of how crappy it may have gotten after you were born you are standing on the earth breathing, and that has value, it should be respected and honored.

We’ve all heard the phrase;  “Two wrongs don’t make a right”.  That phrase is actually very, very true, especially when it comes to being a son.  Think about it…whatever injustice you suffered as a child, whatever crappy thing happened that you didn’t agree with, whatever immoral or dangerous lifestyle you were subjected to…you responding to that with hate or violence or indifference doesn’t fix it, it doesn’t make what happened to you better, or right…it only make your life suck more than it has to.

The only thing that can fix the situation is you, rising above it and being a bigger person in spite of it.  You, living a good life, being a better man and prevailing in spite of whatever happened in your past. 

You, deciding to be a better son to whomever raised you is one way that rising above it all manifests itself.  If you aren’t able or willing to do this, then your entire past will remain an invalid excuse.  You will blame everything that goes wrong on that, instead of just being a bigger person and going forward. 

In which scenario do you think you will wind up more happy and healthy?  The scenario in which you carry a grudge against your parents and childhood your entire life, blaming it for everything?  Or the scenario in which you become a better son in spite of it all, and in doing so learn to focus on the present?  It’s a rhetorical question.

Ok so what does being a better son look like?  Not everyone had a horrible childhood in fact like I said, most people had decent parents if not good loving parents. 

For you guys who’s parents are dead, you can honor their memory in many ways.  Never speak ill of them.  Let go of regret, and sorrow, leave all that behind and live in the present, being a better man than you were the day before.  In doing so you have protected their legacy, and you are being a better son.

If your parent was criminally abusive, if they harmed you, I would never suggest that you maintain relationship with someone like that.  But I would suggest that you figure out who else had the most impact on your life.  Someone raised the kind of person that chose to listen to a podcast called Being A Better Man, someone helped you and made it possible to live the life you are living now.  Be a better son to that person by demonstrating gratitude, being in communication and cultivating that relationship.  If you do that, you are being a better son.

If you aren’t on speaking terms with your parents be the bigger person and reach out to them anyway, expecting nothing in return.  Tell them you love them.  Speak kindly of them and send them birthday cards.  If they don’t reciprocate that’s ok, what matters is that you are being a better son.  It’s possible that they could become a victim of your kindness and love, and become open to having a relationship with you again and that would be great…but the most important thing is that you are making a conscious effort to be a better son in spite of everything else.  In doing so you will become a better man, and be able to live your life with one less regret.

For those who take their parents for granted, those who never visit, who never call, who never contact your parents unless you need something.  You turn down invitations and sometimes you even avoid your parents because they just aren’t interesting enough for you.  I hope this makes you think a little bit, I hope you get a twinge of shame at the way you have returned the gift they gave you.  For you being a better son will be easy…just be kind to them.  Call them unexpectedly, let them know you appreciate them.  Anything you do with regard to being more related to your parents will make you a better son.  But don’t just go through the motions…really get to know them, they’re people after all, find out who they are…learn to enjoy them.

For the rest of us…people like me who have a good relationship with their parents.  We aren’t off the hook.  Just like you can always be a better man, you can always find ways to be a better son.  For me that will be finding ways to spend more time with my dad, and then making that time.  It will be not getting irritated when he doesn’t hear me the first time, it will be doing little things for him just so he doesn’t have to. 

So you see, this whole idea of being a better son is not  completely selfless…There are benefits to us, as well as the the people we are a son to. 

It helps us by making us more accountable for our actions instead of blaming someone else. 

It gives us the knowledge and satisfaction that we are doing something right and good, and that will boost our own self respect which leads to a ton of other benefits. 

As we become more related it can lead to a whole new understanding of who we are, by understanding the people we came from. 

We will become an even better example to the people around us…particularly our own sons…and that can’t hurt.

Lastly, what we will get out of it is that it will make us a better man today than we were yesterday.

Thats it for today guys, now head out into the world wherever you are, and be a better son, than you were yesterday.

If you have any questions or comments I invite you to send me an email, I return all the emails I get!

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