All Good Men Rise

All Good Men Rise June 17, 2012

Maria Shriver took to Twitter and her blog this week to ask a question: What makes a good man?  She asked the question because her brother Mark has written a book about their dad — Sarge Shriver.  The book’s title — A Good Man — conveys the tension that Mark felt growing up as part of the Kennedy family. That drive. That ambition. That desire for greatness.

“I think when you’re surrounded by that culture, where you’re trying to change the world, or putting a man on the moon, or trying to defeat Communism,” Mark says, “for a kid that can be confusing because you can think, ‘Wow, I’ve got to do something like that as well,’ and I definitely had those thoughts.”

Watching his father taught Mark that it’s often harder to be good than to be great. “And that’s what my dad did incredibly well.”

Sarge Shriver, says his children, was a good man.

All my life I’ve been surrounded by good men like Sarge Shriver.

My father. Though Vietnam took him from me way too young, I’ve remembered enough of his goodness to last me a lifetime.

My brother.

My husband.

My son. Stephan.

My father-in-law. The Missionary.

My sons-in-laws. Zack. Jon.

My brothers-in-laws. Uncle Buck. Uncle Mark. Uncle Bill.

My friends.

The veterans who served with my father

And those who didn’t but honor him, and our family, anyway: Gordon. Charlie. Red. Rick. Mike. Ron. Doug. Pablo. Tom.

Preacher Smitty

Preacher Anderson

Preacher Paul

Preacher Hugh

Preacher Layne

Preacher Bert

Professors Ferngren, Tinsley, Doler, Venn

and so many others whose names I can’t even recall.





Flannery O’ Connor had it wrong: Good men aren’t hard to find.

You just have to know what to look for.

The problem with women who complain they can’t find any good men these days is that they aren’t looking for a good man. They are looking for eye candy. Or a meal ticket. Or friends with benefits. The only Christian man many women want is the one depicted in Fifty Shades of Grey.

All the good men in my life share a common trait — integrity.

adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

That’s not to say that the good men I know have been perfect.

They have not, but they have always been perfectly honest about that.

They don’t practice the brashness that passes for honesty these days.

They practice the sort of honesty borne of responsibility and respect for others.

The men in my life aren’t famous. They haven’t made the Forbes richest list. They don’t care about branding themselves, or expanding their sphere of influence.

They do not pursue greatness at all costs.

They intentionally live to serve

Mindful of the Creator who made them for that very purpose.

What about you?

Are there good men you have known and admired?






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  • Indeed, miss Karen, and you make a great point about knowing what to look for.

    And this Father’s Day I’m sending a cyber hug to you, my sister-in-Christ, my friend.


  • A65roger

    Karen: You asked if there were good men we have known and admired. I’d have thought the post would be flooded with tributes. I could tell stories of my two older brothers and my Dad, their hard work, their integrity, the role they played in imparting wisdom, discipline, guidance and accountability to me, the baby of the family.

    But there is a whole fraternity of men that I have known and admired and value more each day: my college fraternity brothers. Today I’m more humbled than ever to think that they invited me to join them, a college freshman from a farm and very small school. Ask most people what they think of a college social fraternity and you will get one word: party.

    But there is this one very unique band of brothers that has had a national policy of drug and alcohol-free chapter houses since its founding a century ago. Its motto? “Builder of Men”.
    The very nature and character of that organization seems almost impossibly retro, decidedly archaic in today’s culture. Yet the organization is alive, well and still doing its formative work among 18-21 year-old college men today.

    Think for a minute what might occur if every gathering of pastors and priests, every conference of stock traders and bankers, every session and committee meeting of Congress and state legislatures shared a pledge similar to the one my brothers have shared before every chapter meeting for over 100 years:

    “The object of our fraternity is to promote good fellowship, to encourage studiousness, and to inspire its members in seeking the best in their chosen lines of study as well as in life. Progress shall mark our every step; the spirit of congeniality shall reign at all times; and every member shall be honest with himself as with his brothers. Men elected to our membership are considered to be of good moral character, to be high in scholarship, to have the capacity for meeting and making friends, and to give promise of service to their fellowmen and to the world. To be and become such may at times require a sacrifice of time, pleasures and comforts.”

    Idealism is worthless unless matched by accountability. My brothers did that well back in the 60’s and still do today. Yes, I admire them greatly. Good men don’t just happen. They get built.

  • holly

    I have had many, many good men in my life. Not perfect, for sure. But good, good men. Thanks for the post.