Each family has one man who seems to be the center figure of the group. Not just the father in the nuclear family, but a guy who is the figurehead of the extended family as well. At some point you may find yourself in that role, as I believe I have. Today I’ll explain what this role means, and how to be dependable without being taken advantage of.
While growing up there was one man in my family that was this figurehead and it was my grandfather. He was a natural leader, teacher, and protector of his own. I only got to have this man in my life for a short time before he passed but I remember him in all his glory. As all men have, I’m sure he had his faults, but all in all, from what I remember, and from what others told me, he was a great man.
Though since he passed, that was it. No one seemed to fill his shoes. Not my own father, uncle’s or anyone else. They all seemed too caught up in their own bullshit or just weren’t fit for the job.
I knew that something wasn’t right here. As I grew up, and especially once having my own kids, I remembered the things my grandfather taught me. I remembered how everyone looked to him for guidance and order.
Moving forward even more, at 30, I feel like I am now that figurehead. I plan family events and do my best to mend broken relationships. My family members come to me for advice. My in-laws rely on me to keep everything rolling smoothly. Even non-family friends seem to follow me a bit.
Let me say, that I am not without faults. I don’t claim to be the greatest man in the world, and there are things I can improve, but I do realize and take into consideration my conduct and actions, as they serve as guidelines on how to live to some of the people I care about most.
Also, being the figurehead of the family doesn’t mean being a doormat. Don’t let your loser cousin live on your couch. Don’t do all the heavy lifting or providing for family members. Your core nuclear family is the most important but you should always offer advice or an ear to your extended family. Even a helping hand here or there if it is needed. You’ll be able to tell and use your own judgement.
Just as I revered my grandfather, I have found myself in the role as the leader of my family. If you’re in this role, it can be a lot of fun but you have to know when to show tough love. Just keep being the best man you can, and naturally people will look to you as someone who demands respect.