My frequency of article-posting has slipped lately. One of the reasons has been that my focus over the last few weeks has been more on soaking up some inspiring messages than on writing inspiring messages. Allow me to share some of my recent inspiration with you:
There are two major sources of my recent/present inspiration: an amazing book about the journey of masculinity called “The Way of the Wild Heart,” and the message shared by John Rosemond at a recent parent conference in Baton Rouge.
I wish every man on the planet would read “The Way of the Wild Heart” by John Eldredge (after you read the first book – “Wild at Heart”). I won’t try to give you the “Cliff Notes” version here, because it just wouldn’t be fair to you. I will simply say this. I have spent the last ten or fifteen years reading the best books I could find on authentic manhood, particularly from Christian authors. I’ve read some good stuff, and some not so good. When I read “Wild at Heart” a few years ago, I immediately knew I had read by far the best of the bunch – hands down. I am now just over halfway through “The Way of the Wild Heart,” which is a follow-up to “Wild at Heart.” Guys, this one is even better. Read it! For your sake. For your wife or fiance or girlfriend’s sake. For your children’s sake. For your church’s sake. Read it – and get ready to grow. You’ll be a man like you never thought possible. Read it.
On to John Rosemond. I have read a number of his books and newspaper columns on parenting, and have always thought this guy is right on with his “traditional” style of parenting. However, I hadn’t read much of his stuff since my son was born three years ago. Hearing Rosemond speak recently about “Assuming the Power of Parenthood” was so much more inspiring and meaningful now that I have a child of my own. His message is so simple – not a complicated system of techniques and behavior modification and sensitivity to the intricacies of the growing self-esteem of children. He simply says parents today have a point-of-view problem (a direct result of 50 years of misguided psychological propaganda focused on building self-esteem in children, rather than character and right behavior). The message to me as a father was very challenging, very simple, and very encouraging – STEP UP AND LEAD YOUR FAMILY WITH AUTHORITY! Be loving, be sensitive, be understanding, have a strong partnership with your wife, but, for Heaven’s sake – be authoritative!
I believe God has continued to raise up prophets throughout history, even long after the Bible as we know it was complete. I believe John Eldredge is God’s prophet to the men of our time. I believe John Rosemond is God’s prophet to the parents of our time. I don’t say this lightly. I mean exactly what I am saying about these men being prophets of God. I don’t believe they are perfect or right all the time – they are men with an active sin-nature in constant need of God’s grace, just as I am. But their messages are inspired. I hope with all my heart that you will pick up their books or listen to their cds or at least explore their websites, but that you will prepare yourself to be challenged and empowered – and get a hold of the inspired messages of these two great prophets of our time.
I will close with a poem by Rudyard Kipling (quoted in a chapter in “The Way of the Wild Heart”) that I think captures the message of these two men:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!