Monday, June 21, 2010

The Superior Man

My husband has a saying that appears to have been one by Confucius, but may actually be a misquote. I wasn't able to confirm it, but this is the saying, "To the superior man, all things are possible." Confucius spent quite a bit of time teaching about how to be a "superior man". For example, Confucius taught, “The superior man wishes to be slow in his speech and earnest in his conduct. He is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions. In every action he considers righteousness to be essential. He performs it according to the rules of propriety. He executes it with humility. He completes it with sincerity. This is indeed the way of a superior man.”

So throughout our married life, we have often talked about the "superior man". Quite often we meet someone whom we refer to as "a superior man". I know a lot of good men, but I only know a few that I would consider superior. It takes a special person to make my "superior man list". My husband and I were talking about this last night as we were trying to go to sleep. We listed some of the people who we know that make the list. Now, maybe that sounds like judging, but I don't think one can be faulted for erring on the side of positive judgment. Granted, we don't live with them, so we really don't know them as well as their loved ones, but from our interactions with them, they have consistently measured up to our expectations. For those who are LDS, I consider Gordon B. Hinckley to have been a superior man. Of course, all of the prophets are great people, but to me there was an extra greatness about him.

As I was thinking about the people who have made my list, I identified several traits that made them stand out. One outstanding quality of most of these men has been their Christlike love. They are people who don't just act like they love others, but you can feel that it truly comes from their heart. Our Bishop is this kind of person, and is on my list. I've had many great bishops, but this one is a notch above. That doesn't diminish the goodness of the others, but he stands out because of his depth of love. When I think about the other great qualities, they are qualities of a great man, but Christlike love is the greatest, and the other traits pale in comparison.

My children sometimes make fun of us for rating people as a "superior man", but I hope they learn the lesson that there are very special people in this world, and that we should try to emulate their qualities. I don't qualify for my own list, but I have the desire to qualify. (superior woman? ;) But I always feel so blessed when I have a chance to know someone who truly is superior.


Looney said...

So much of our society teaches young men to have fun, but they are never taught to grow up to be a good example - or at least this is the impression I have.

Amber said...

good post!

Nene said...

I agree with Looney and think that maybe our society tries to teach young men to be "studly men" or "supermen" or "handsome men" or "great bodies men". I think an outstanding quality of a "superior man" is a person with compassion and understanding for his fellow men. I had several people come to my mind when I read your post and that quality is one that sticks out when I think of these men that I know. And I also agree with you that Gordon B. Hinckley is at the top of my list. In fact, he is the one I compare other men to - if other men I know remind me of his qualities. My old CES director is one man that is on my list. He always gave me the impression that he had all the time and patience in the world to sit and talk with me and that he was genuinely interested in what I had to say.

Delirious said...

It's interesting you say that Nene because my CES director (church education system), Geoff, is on my list too!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post. Thank you :)