“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”
If you’ve ever seen the movie, Gladiator, then you’ve probably got goosebumps. The film pulls at something deep inside us as men; call it what you will — our warrior spirit, our masculine heart.
There’s another famous line from that movie, that you’ll probably find quoted in every yearbook dating back to the year of the movie’s release.
“What we do in life, echoes throughout eternity.”
It’s true– what we do has a lasting effect, but not in the way we might think. We think it’s our reputation, our accomplishments– but is that what echoes throughout eternity?
My grandfather passed away a few years ago. By all accounts, he was not a good father to my dad and his five siblings. A small but telling example — my dad played baseball as a boy up until he was about 21 years old. My grandfather never saw a single game.
My dad had every excuse to mature into a complete jerk. He had no model to follow of what it meant to be a father, a husband, or even a man. Not to mention a follower of Christ. And, he could have raised me how he was raised– who could blame him, that’s all he knew. But, he didn’t.
I have an amazing dad.
Our sins can have devastating effects on not only our lives and the lives of those around us, but also on generations to come. The fallout from an absent or abusive father can throw off an entire family tree.
But, the opposite is also true. As men, we have the ability to significantly impact our bloodline– for bad, but also for good. The lives of generations to come can be made better by our decisions – by one man’s decisions. I am the man I am in large part because of my dad. I am the husband and father I am because of him. Because of his actions, my life is different. My children’s lives are different– they too feel those effects. Our entire family tree is on a different course because of one man’s choice to make a change.
We all face challenges and difficulties in our lives, but we cannot let them decide who we will become. Today I, like you, have to choose the man I am going to be. I could undo everything my father did. Or, I could build on it.
And, it is how we answer that question — what kind of men do we want to be — and how we live it, that will echo throughout eternity.
Mark Quaranta is the Head of Marketing at Exodus. He lives in Coopersburg, PA with his wife Meg and their four young children.
The What a Dad Series highlights the best of true Christian fatherhood and the generational impact of men rising up and taking their Vocation as fathers seriously.