With May being National Foster Care Month, I can’t help thinking about Rudy, my foster father who passed away in 2015. Although he is gone, the memorable moments during my time living with him will forever remain. His faithful influence dramatically changed my life-path and shaped the man I am today. The love and gratitude I have for him are indescribable. His wife Marian, my foster mother, passed away a few years ago. Their lives and love made a difference in at least 14 foster children like me.
Our world desperately needs more men whose lives make a difference, like Rudy’s.
So how do you live a life that leaves a legacy like this? First and foremost, you need to live according to your beliefs—healthy beliefs that encompass your faith, your family, and your friends. Consistently and persistently, you hold yourself accountable to being a man of your word, no matter what.
What does a life like that look like? Here are 25 examples I’ve adapted from “Quest for Authentic Manhood” of what it means to live your life according to your beliefs:
- A healthy man includes his wife in envisioning the future.
- A healthy man accepts spiritual responsibilities for his family.
- A healthy man is willing to say, “I’m sorry” and “forgive me” to his family.
- A healthy man discusses household responsibilities with his wife and makes sure they are fairly distributed.
- A healthy man seeks the consultation of his wife for all major financial decisions.
- A healthy man follows through with commitments he has made to his wife.
- A healthy man anticipates the different seasons his marriage will pass through.
- A healthy man anticipates the different stages his children will pass through.
- A healthy man frequently tells his wife what he likes about her.
- A healthy man provides financially for his family’s necessary living expenses.
- A healthy man deals with distractions so he can talk with his wife and family.
- A healthy man whose faith is essential prays with his wife regularly.
- A healthy man initiates meaningful family traditions.
- A healthy man plans fun outings for his family regularly.
- A healthy man takes time to give his children practical instruction about life, which in turn gives them confidence with their peers.
- A healthy man manages the schedule of the home and anticipates any pressure points.
- A healthy man keeps his family financially sound and out of harmful debt.
- A healthy man makes sure he and his wife have drawn up a will and arranged for a well-conceived plan for their children in case of death.
- A healthy man lets his wife and children into the interior of his life.
- A healthy man honors his wife often in public.
- A healthy man explains sex to each child in a way that gives them a wholesome perspective.
- A healthy man encourages his wife to grow as an individual.
- A healthy man takes the lead with his wife in establishing sound, supportable family values in line with his beliefs.
- A healthy man joins a small group of men who are dedicated to improving their skills as men, husbands, and fathers.
- A healthy man provides time for his wife to pursue her own personal interests.
I know this list will seem overwhelming, especially if you haven’t been living life according to your beliefs. Perhaps you haven’t yet established any real firm beliefs about faith, family, or friends. Now would be a good time to start, and I’d suggest choosing just one item from above as you begin. (I’ll coach you more about that in my upcoming blogs.)
Rudy consistently and persistently lived his life according to his beliefs—every day. What I saw him do influenced me more than anything he said. But it was his day-to-day life that showed me that I could also trust his words.
I am a living legacy of Rudy’s life. His influence continues to this day, as members of my family are now foster parents and working with foster care agencies. The world needs more men like Rudy. That’s why it needs healthy men like you and me. So let’s get on with it.
Randell Turner, Ph.D. is an author, counselor, and a pioneer in the men’s & fatherhood movement. Specializing in healthy masculine intimacy, he has dedicated over 20 years in working with men who feel broken, rejected, isolated, and lonely because of their struggles with “intimacy ignorance.” His personal and professional experience inspired the creation of “Rescuing the Rogue,” designed to equip men in forging intimate relationships to last a lifetime. He lives in Wisconsin and has two daughters and seven grandchildren. For more information, check out his website: TransformingFamilies.org.