“What we have a right to expect of the American boy is that he shall turn out to be a good American man.” — Theodore Roosevelt, The American Boy
What does it mean to be a man? Does it mean we down liters of ice-cold beer or that we drink just to enjoy the taste of beer (temperance)? How much thought is put into what kind of man we want to be — particularly when we enter our twenties? When I was in my twenties, I was more concerned with what I should major in than what kind of man I wanted to be in ten years.
There are many men throughout history who feel leading a virtuous life is the proper way to achieve manliness. Art of Manliness (AoM) is a modern guide of sorts for those aspiring to learn what it is to be yesterday’s man in today’s world. Brett McKay, founder of AoM, has this to say about virtue:
“When most people today hear the word “virtue,” they usually don’t think “manliness.”…However, virtue is far from being sissy or effeminate. The word “virtue” is actually rooted in “manliness.” “Virtue” comes from the Latin virtus, which in turn is derived from vir, Latin for “manliness.”’ ¹
Renaissance man Benjamin Franklin sought to achieve moral perfection as a young man in his twenties and eventually created a system of values to live by.
We will soon eclipse the horizon of 2014, introducing a new year and a multitude of well-intended Resolutions that will be forgotten or discarded like some old toy within a month or two.
This is one of those well-intended Resolutions and I hope it can avoid the bargain bin.
The truth is I’ve already started on it. It started a few weeks ago, and while it is a work in progress, I did not intend it as my New Year’s Resolution. It is more of a focus, a necessity.
A radio program I was listening to caught my attention discussing the effects of social media and smartphone devices on our attention span and brain development. That branched into reading and listening to a professor from Stanford University, Dr. Clifford Nass, who unfortunately passed away this year. (you can read here, and here, and listen here)
His research is incredible, foretelling, and frightening. Read more
I recently finished reading Philip Yancey’s What Good Is God? (in search of a faith that matters). I highly recommend reading it. He has a different perspective — one that challenges the way you think.
His book consists of several journeys all over the world in which he experiences tragedy and struggle firsthand, but also finding strength through those struggles. Yancey says that just as he’s feeling sorry for himself, he meets a nurse who runs an AIDS program in a society far-removed from our Western comforts, and it reminds him of the purpose of his book — searching for a faith that matters.
The following is an excerpt from his chapter, “Why I Wish I Was an Alcoholic”:
Several times in my writing I’ve referred to my alcoholic friend George, who happens to be here tonight. He told me that when he first stumbled into an A.A. meeting on a bitterly cold night … a group of total strangers welcomed him with open arms and told him “keep coming back.” George had hit bottom, his life was a mess, and since nobody else was telling him that in those days, he accepted their invitation.
George sometimes gets a different response from his church friends, “Aren’t you done with that issue yet?” they ask. And this is what George says: “I realize that for the rest of my life, I can go to A.A. meetings and nobody will ask me, ‘Aren’t you finished with all this talk about alcoholism?’ They will just say, ‘Keep coming back — glad you could make it.'”
May the church learn. Read more