Saturday, 6 June 2015

The Measure of a Man

I once read that the measure of a man is his children. I have searched for its author. Many attribute the phrase to Sidney Poitier but he, in fact, said that his father taught his sons that 'The measure of a man is how well he provides for his children.” While that certainly is an important element of being a good parent, I think my misrepresentation of the quote is a more accurate statement.

We had a wonderful visit yesterday with a dear friend. This friend is at a critical juncture in his life. He is questioning the choices he has made, wondering what to do next, unsure as to whether any of what he has done in life has been good enough. In essence, he is doubting his own worth. While it is not unusual for us to do that when we hit certain landmarks in our lives, it is an overwhelming feeling and often we cannot move beyond it to see in ourselves what others see.

This is what I saw yesterday. I saw a man who is a collector. Yes, he collects things, but he also collects people, he collects memories. There are pictures pinned throughout his workshop, marking the importance of those friends and those memories. I saw a man who is incredibly skilled and talented. He creates, he problem solves and he turns the battered and plain into the beautiful. He has done it in my home and he is doing it in his home. I saw a man connected to the land, a man who honours nature, and who is proud of the traditions and history he shares with it. But most importantly, I saw a man who values his family above all else. How do I know this? Well, because of his son.

His son joined us for the afternoon. Of an age where he should have no interest in spending time with his parents and their friends, he toured the property with us, his pride and pleasure equal to his father’s. He laughed at his father’s jokes, he listened attentively when his mother spoke and he contributed meaningfully to discussions that ranged from renovations to the state of society today. His sense of humour and his innate goodness were evident and it was an absolute pleasure to look beyond the child I knew and see the man he has become.

So, my friend, as you read this I hope you see that, while you have some hard decisions to make, you should never doubt your worth. And, if you ever do, look into the eyes of your son. There lies your measure.


  1. The measure of the man is through his children or others' children he came in contact with. While childless, my husband has touched hundreds of kids. Lovely post, Rose.

  2. Very true, Zan Marie. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. I agree with Zan Marie, that's a lovely post, Rose. You remind us, once again, of the small things in life that count and that, unnoticed by most of us, are of true importance. Spending time with family and friends, the people who shape us and who we shape in turn, is something we often overlook because we're too busy, so we postpone it until "later", forgetting that sometimes, there is no "later". What I take from you post is that everyone should have parents, friends or mentors like teachers in their lives, because we truly need them in a society like ours these days. Thanks for giving this student teacher food for thought!