These days as we watch the brave men of Ukraine
fight off the Russian invasion
and defend their homes and families,
their courage and relentless commitment astonishes us.
But the battlefield isn’t the only place men do admirable things.
Men do them every day, in their work and in their homes.
Yes, so do women, on all these fronts.
But today let us pause and speak to the men.
Many men have not heard any praise in a long time.
Link to: In praise of men
Link to: What is an admirable man?
I doubt if any of us–you, me, or any of our friends–
woke up this morning and said to ourselves:
“Today, I shall strive to be admirable!”
It sounds like something that a character in a novel
written a hundred years ago might declare.
Indeed, being admirable is an old fashioned goal,
though it was quite familiar to The Greatest Generation
—those who fought and won World War II.
Today, we focus on raising self esteem—
in ourselves, and especially in our children.
We believe that having a positive view of one’s self
is essential to well being and success.
We have chosen to focus on ourselves,
and how we think about ourselves.
Having self esteem is indeed important,
because if we begin with negativity it’s hard to be confident.
But becoming admirable goes well beyond developing self esteem.
It is a larger and a higher goal.
It means to become worthy of the esteem of others, not just yourself.
So, what does it mean to be admirable?
To be admirable is to be responsible.
To hold one’s self to high moral standards.
To be reliable, honest, trustworthy.
To be true.
To have a pure heart.
To be brave.
To be devoted to worthy endeavors.
We become admirable through doing things
that require courage and character.
That require us to grow our capability to do the right thing,
to step up when needed.
Much of our growth takes place in adversity:
when we face loss, defeat, pain, illness, poverty, isolation.
Coming through these times and remaining tender and strong is admirable.
Coming through and then sharing our gifts and strengths
to assist and build others is admirable.
All of us have the potential to become admirable.
Let’s build on our foundation of self esteem.
Let’s respect ourselves so much that we accept nothing less
than living an admirable life.