Last night I opened what I consider to be one my great guilty pleasures in life, a bag of Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds. If you’ve never had a Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almond, you are missing out my friend. In fact, they are so tasty that they were the one food I chose to bring with me to the hospital for the birth of my daughter. I’d heard horror stories of wives laboring for 12, 15, or 20 hours with very little time between contractions for their poor husbands to leave the room to replenish their empty man stomachs. Although I now admit that I was probably a bit overly concerned about the struggle against hunger that I might face if my wife’s labor left me unable to leave her side for 12-20 hours, I will say that my snack food of choice (if it had been the only thing available to sustain and nourish me) would not have let me down. Those little bite-sized bits of delicious salty almond goodness came through for me in a big way last September.
Understandably, when I think about A) how delicious those almonds are to begin with and B) how I now associate them with one of the most joyful and meaningful experiences of my life, it’s no wonder I harbor such a strong affinity to them these days. The problem is that once I start going on those bad boys, I find my own personal willpower and restraint begins to wane. Continue reading The Rest of My N.U.T.s
Editor’s Note: If you are just now catching Michael’s Man Cave series on N.U.T.s, please note the guide to all previous posts at the bottom of this essay ~ Thanks.
What does it mean for a man to be involved in the life of his children? A book I’m reading right now called, “The Heart of a Father,” by Ken Canfield offers a pretty good description:
My friend Paul is an involved father. He works forty hours each week, and in fact chose a job that allows him to be home each night and each weekend. At home, he likes spending time with his daughter Susan. They play Chutes and Ladders on the living room floor, and he reads her a story before bed. Cindy is a bit older. With her, involvement means driving her to gymnastics and cheering at her meets. It means sitting down next to her at the kitchen table when she lays out her math homework.
Sometimes Paul has his own work to do, his own errands to run. “I’m going to the hardware store,” he announces. “Anyone want to come along?” Occasionally Cindy or Susan will join him. The youngest child is Jacob. Among all the things that involvement means for this toddler, it also means changing diapers. Paul participates in the daily activities of his kids.
Call me boring, but I read those two paragraphs and I can’t wait to be able to play Chutes and Ladders on the living room floor with my little Izzy in a few years. Continue reading N.U.T. #4 – I’m involved in the life of my children
In the not too distant past, there used to be a fairly tried, true, and tested piece of advice for financial stability. If you wanted to be financial stable, all you had to do was live within your means. Or, as my favorite double negative phrase of all time says, “DON’T BUY CRAP YOU DON’T NEED WITH MONEY YOU DON’T HAVE!”
Just a few short years ago, this timeless piece of advice was enough to keep just about anyone in just about any financial situation above water if they were willing to put it into practice. Sure, sure… there were and still are other more sophisticated financial axioms for people who really wanted to get ahead, but if you just wanted to be financially responsible, all you had to do was live within your means.
And up until sometime in late 2008, that was good enough. But then the markets crashed here in the U.S. and around the globe, and like most pieces of conventional financial wisdom, the idea of living within your means went from being a great financial axiom to being not quite enough. In fact, after 2008, most people (myself included) stopped believing in the idea of financial stability completely.
With the events of the last few years as context, I (likely along with millions of other people around the world) started reevaluating my finances a little over a year ago. Continue reading N.U.T. #3 – I live below my means.
This one was at the top of the list of examples I provided in my intro to this post and I have chosen to put it first on my list because of how important I think it is.
Obviously being faithful to my wife means not getting involved romantically with any other woman, but it means so much more than that. It means being faithful to her with my heart and mind as well as my body. It means not staring at other women. It means not flirting with other women. It means not thinking about other women. It means not putting myself into situations where there might even be an appearance of unfaithfulness. It means not looking at pornography. It means not betraying her confidence to other people. It means always taking her side when other people are involved. It means always sticking up for her and watching out for her best interests. And it means doing all of these things and so much more NO MATTER WHAT.
In many ways, this N.U.T. doesn’t have anything to do with my wife at all. Sure it affects her, but my being faithful to my wife is really about me. It’s about who I am as a man and the content of my character. It’s about me placing a high premium on the value of fidelity.
I’m confident that a lot (not all, but a lot) of the problems in our world today could be greatly minimized (if not eradicated entirely) if men would simply honor their commitments to be faithful to their wives. Think of how many divorces, broken homes, and kids growing up without a dad could be prevented if men everywhere made this one of their non-negotiable, unalterable terms.
To read more about N.U.T.s from Michael, please visit:
Introduction / N.U.T. #2
A lot of the blogs I read have written recently about the need for men to have a firm grasp on their non-negotiable, unalterable terms or as Wayne Levine (the man who coined the term) calls them, our N.U.T.s.
To quote Levine:
To be the man, father, husband or leader you want to be, you must develop and maintain a firm grasp of your N.U.T.s
N.U.T.s – non-negotiable, unalterable terms—are the things that define you as a man. They’re what a man is committed to. And when these N.U.T.s are compromised, men become angry, unhappy, frustrated, depressed. They would rather blame others than take responsibility for their own actions. They’ll play the victim as they take out their negative feelings on those they love. They’re also the guys who will try to drown their sorrows in alcohol, drugs, porn, and a slew of other equally destructive behaviors.
I’ve borrowed a list of a few examples of N.U.T.s from Levine’s website and have listed them below:
* I am faithful to my wife.
* Compassion for my family trumps my need to be right.
* I am a risk taker.
* I do what I believe is in the best interest of my children, even if they disagree.
* I do not ask for permission.
* I do not indulge my addictions.
* I take my problems to men, not to women.
* I do whatever it takes to keep my family in our home.
* I honor my daily spiritual practice.
* I do not sell out who I am to please others.
Although I suspect I have an unspoken list of N.U.T.s, I don’t think I’ve ever actually voiced many of them to myself or anyone else. In the coming weeks, I’m going to spend some time thinking about my non-negotiable unalterable terms and will be posting them here on the RDC as a permanent reminder to myself of those things that I will hold to no matter what. Some of mine will be fairly similar to the ones above and some will be quite different. Either way, I’m looking forward to the process of considering, defining, and listing my own N.U.T.s.
What are your N.U.T.s?