Centuries ago, King Solomon wisely said, "There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death." Sage words indeed from a man who, when given the option to ask God for wisdom or wealth, chose the former.
I have reflected on these words often over the past few weeks as more details of the tragic death of NFL star Steve McNair came to light. The Nashville police have officially ruled the death a murder-suicide and named his "girlfriend" Sahel Kazemi, who was found dead with him, the killer. No one will ever know Miss Kazemi's motive, but it appears she suspected Mr. McNair, a married father, was having an "extra" extramarital affair with another woman. As English playwright William Congreve put it, "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."
The McNair situation is a troubling tale, especially when it is viewed through the lens of the legacy that his death will leave for his children, most notably his youngest sons, ages 11 and 6. Although children can be resilient, they generally have a difficult time dealing with the death of a parent, especially when it occurs in such a violent and public manner.
As fathers, we always must be mindful of two key things. First, we are called and privileged to be the guardians of the values of the next generation. Therefore, we must be vigilant to consistently model the values that are in the best interests of our community, our family and most importantly, our children. Mr. McNair seemed to understand this perspective as it pertained to his work in the community, but had a glaring blind spot when it came to his home life — and it cost him his life.
Unfortunately, this situation may be what his children remember most about their father, and I suspect there could be much pain for them as a result.
Second, one of the most important values any father can model for his children is self-control. In short, this is the ability to say yes to the right things and no to the wrong things. Indeed, King Solomon, who majored in wisdom, would agree that wisdom is knowing what is right and doing it.
As an All-Pro NFL quarterback, Mr. McNair consistently displayed wisdom while calling plays and passing the ball, but again seemed to not carry this playbook of wisdom to the home field, where it was needed the most. Granted, as a rich and famous married father, temptations are great and it can be easy to be deceived into believing the turf is always greener in someone else's stadium. Until you find out it's Astroturf, that is.
Of note, my pastor is fond of saying that the turf is always greener where you water it. As dads and husbands — despite the challenges and temptations — we have to be committed to watering the right places in the best interests of our children.
Finally, King Solomon also said, "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity … a time to embrace and a time to refrain." In Mr. McNair's case, unfortunately, he embraced a lifestyle — and a woman — that ended his season too early, and that is a real tragedy. Let us have the wisdom to learn a lesson from it.
• Roland C. Warren is the married father of two sons and president of the National Fatherhood Initiative (www.fatherhood.org). He can be reached at email@example.com.