How do we measure a man? What are his goals? What is his vision for his future? What are his likes, his habits? What are his activities, and what is his personal constitution?
A man should have something to shoot for, something to accomplish, a goal such as Doctor, Lawyer, Athlete, mechanic, engineer, or something else. The real question is how would he accomplish the goal?
I am a believer in the repetitive method, repeating something over and over until it becomes known by rote drilling. I learned many a concept by the rote drilling method. So-called “Tiger Moms” is a concept made popular by Amy Chua who uses this method all the time.
Imagine saying or writing something over and over for hours. In time, you will have memorized the phrase. You may not know the meaning, but you will know the concept. We all learned nursery rhymes like Mary had a Little Lamb and the ABC’s by repetition, saying it over and over. I learned a complicated concept in the law, like the statue of frauds, the same way.
We don’t think twice about practicing a baseball swing or a foreign language over and over until we have it right. You learn by habit. If a man has a goal, has goal centered activities, and practices good habits aimed at accomplishing the goal, the goal can be accomplished.
Sometimes our goals are not honorable because they don’t reflect a good motive or goal. An example is David pursuing Bathsheba in the Bible (2 Samuel 11). David had a goal but Bathsheba’s husband was in the way. David, as King, saw her husband Uriah as someone to get rid of. This says something about David’s constitution. David would not be denied. He had a goal and envisioned himself with her. As a man after God’s own heart, she would be David’s weakness (his character).
I mention David’s character because we tend to measure men by external things, his clothes, his car, even what type of work he does. My father washed and polished cars all my life but he had good character. The kind of character that liberated his family out of the south and into the largest house on the block, four children, three with college degrees and no one in jail.
In her book, “The Bluest Eye,” award winning author, Toni Morrison, talks about the infamous “paper bag test.” This test was used to admit lighter skin people into parties, nightclubs or various places. At the door the owners would hold up a brown paper bag next to their skin. If they were not darker than the bag, they could get in, if you were darker than the bag, stay out, and go home.
My daddy could not get into the club, my mother could, how cruel. The measure of a man is not based on external factors but on internal ones; Thank God, I’m old enough to remember sayings that discriminated against darker brothers and sisters. Sayings like if you’re white you are all right, if you’re brown you can stick around, but if you’re black, step back. As I said above, that is not the measure of a man. I note here we blacks people used those sayings against each other more than any whites I’ve heard. What does that tell you?