A few months ago, I decided to look at all of the official websites of this year’s presidential candidates. On one of the candidate’s (and it really doesn’t matter which one) biography it described him as a self-made man, a term I have always ridiculed. Who among us, walking on planet earth, is a self-made man? Has any man wished himself into existence, fed and nurtured himself since his miraculous self-birthing, and educated himself in the ways of the world? I don’t think so.
All of us are influenced by our parents or guardians, siblings, other relatives, spouses, teachers, acquaintances, friends, coworkers, and the media we choose to view or listen to. Our physical surroundings play a role in molding our opinions, our choices, and our interests. To deny that fact is to admit a lack of understanding and sincerity in our character. That is why I always wonder about individuals who claim to be a self-made man or woman. What motivates them to make such a ridiculous claim? And is there a reason why such outrageous claims usually go unchallenged?
The movie screen cowboy who never loses a fight, the millionaire who just seems to accumulate money without effort, and the politician who has never tasted the civilian life; these are just some examples of where that slogan of “self-made man” seems most prevalent. Declaring “self-made” status lifts a mere mortal up a few rungs on the ladder of success. Not only are these heroes of life successful, they didn’t need anyone’s help to do it, and that makes success that much more dramatic and superhuman.
Proverbs 16:18 (NIV) teaches that, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” When men or women become too proud or self-confident, it is usually only a short time before a reality check shows up on their doorstep. When people refuse to give credit where credit is due, they are acting in a rude manner, rejecting and ridiculing the sacrifices of others that surround them. To deny those that inspire us, create a safe environment for us, and nurture our character the credit they deserve is to make a grave error in the way we define our lives. God has put in our lives the people that surround us, inspire us, and offer support. We cannot forget to thank our Creator for putting those people in our lives.
I would never label myself a self-made man no matter what level of success I reach in my life. My God and the people he has surrounded me with have provided me with guidance, opportunity, and support that I can never rebuff. Respect the people who help you become a better you by giving them the credit they deserve, and avoid claiming the title “self-made” anything.
The topic is always timely and I certainly agree with the theme. What I noticed (and didn't really care for, as a writer) was the tempo of the article made the message seem condemning and I don't think that is what you meant to do, not at all. I've read similar pieces, not on topic, but the overall tempo, or "feel" of the article was that the writer was able to deliver a "one-two punch" but with a velvet glove. You were close to that in your intent, in my opinion, but I get the impression that you may have rushed it a bit, although you may have had more to say.