First word

We all understand the importance of a sharp blade in the jobs we perform every day. There’s a remarkable difference in performance and efficiency when a freshly sharpened blade is slicing through grass, carving out a ditch or scraping a gravel road, versus an old, tired, dull blade.

Just like the iron tools that need to stay sharp, we as men need sharpening on a regular basis. A Proverb to which we can all relate tells us that “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” I have four important men in my life that I rely on to keep me sharp. My 82-year-old father has been the most influential. His 41-year career with the telephone company and 59-year marriage to my mother are great lessons in commitment, and his positive/don’t give up attitude while battling two forms of cancer is a remarkable example of faith and strength. My brother keeps me sharp with the unconditional love and support he has shown me. My first born son (now an 18-year-old young man!), keeps a razor thin, diamond coated edge on my blade. Just keeping up with him keeps me sharp, if you know what I mean!

Finally, my 8-year-old son is the 4th “man” who I am trying to sharpen. After learning the ropes and making those typical first born mistakes with my oldest son, my little guy is pretty awesome. He’s sweet and an absolute “pleaser” – I’ve learned clear instructions and expectations coupled with clear rewards and/or consequences work best. He’s also competitive, a trait that will serve him well in this tough world we live in.

Who sharpens you or who do you sharpen? We all need some iron men in our lives to make us better owners, leaders, dads or spouses. I’m thankful to the men in my family who continue to help sharpen me.