Pope St. John Paul the Great (JP2) was “A Pope for the World.” He helped bring peace to the world by fighting the Nazi’s, communism, and the tyranny of the Cold War. He traveled the world like no previous Pope in history (obviously, modern technology and transportation-accessibility helped that) and was embraced as a man of peace. The way in which he challenged the world to become united was incredible, and although there were always those who disagreed, he was instrumental in peace-filled actions (too numerous to mention) all around the world. For these reasons, and others, he was a Pope for the world.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was “A Pope for the Church.” Even before his time as Pope, and certainly during and after, he worked to solidify the liturgy and to make certain that orthodoxy within the Church was upheld. His work dating back to Vatican II is incredible, and the Church is better because of it. Pope Benedict worked to unite the Church and to strengthen Her from within. For these reasons, and others, he was a Pope for the Church.
I believe that Pope Francis is “A Pope for the Others.” Pope Francis – due majorly in part to the media – has had a huge impact on the lives of “the others.” What do I mean by “others”? Well, those who are outside of the Church for whatever reason. Francis takes the age-old approach of, as I’ve mentioned before, “The Good Shepherd.” Francis knows that the sheep have been dispersed, attacked, and lost, but he desires for even that 1 lost sheep to be brought back into the fold. Much debate about his ways, his tactics, and his methods have been scrutinized and brought into question. For the millionth time… what he is doing is good, faithful, and amazing! Catholics who are opposed to him need to seriously check their pride, egos, and motives because you’re missing the big picture. Maybe, just maybe, not everything in life is all about you.
See, Pope Francis is an evangelist. I and others know this because I see him and his methods, and I too prescribe to this form of ministry. I too am an evangelist and believe that his approach to ministry is absolutely effective and working. Just look at posts and comments from atheists, agnostics, anti-Catholics, and especially from fallen-away-Catholics… they are drawn to him and his heart. One small example! They see his authenticity and genuine care for others and that causes them pause and urges them to consider not only what he does but what he says. This speaks volumes. Beating people into submission doesn’t work. Forcing, coercing, bribing, and/or guilting people into a set of beliefs doesn’t work. Telling people how bad they are, casting them out further, and alienating them doesn’t work. What works is love, and no matter how counter-cultural it is, we must begin to believe that love is the answer to all things. For these reasons, and others, Pope Francis is a Pope for the “others.”
Perhaps you’re an “other” and happen to be reading this. Thanks for stopping by, I’m glad you’re here. I hope that my site is a place that encourages you to consider what authentic masculinity really is, and hopefully will inspire a response towards living as an authentic person. If you’re a man, the challenge is simple – live by following the example of Jesus Christ, the One True God and True Man; virtue, virtue, virtue. (Check out my resources tab above and click on the “Guide to Virtue” for more.)
Men, I hope that as you read this, you realize that there are many in our midst that are opposed to the Catholic Church. They are opposed to the ideas of TrueManhood, they are opposed to religion, they are opposed to faith-based-anything. They have bought the lie of the world (cultural manliness) and as far as they are concerned, that’s fine, fun, and good for them. What they are missing is the alternative… a life as God intended it, serving one another, loving one another, and preaching the Good News. Pope Francis does this naturally, and is really spectacular at it. Take heed and learn from him. He’s prompting you to do the same, in your unique way, so that others can see the light of Christ through you.
News came out recently about Pope Francis’ changes to the annulment process. Many have questions, and some have bashed the Pope for these changes, saying he’s now, essentially, allowing divorce and remarriage. The critiques come from, I believe, a ‘fundamentalist’ approach to the Scriptural beliefs of marriage, divorce, and remarriage (see Mark 10, for instance.) However, Pope Francis isn’t just “okaying” divorce and remarriage – he is (in my humble opinion) making a pastoral move. This move, as it were, is taking into account various aspects. (Note: annulment is not divorce. For more, read this post on Catholic.com.) For TrueManhood, these aspects pertain to male leadership and faithfulness in general and I think they are worthy of discussion here.
The various aspects I see in this new decree:
- Marriage has trended strongly towards being merely a civil agreement, not a sacramental union imaging the Most Holy Trinity. When we reduce the Sacrament of Matrimony down to a civil contract, we are unable to freely give ourselves to our spouses, and it’s much “easier” to simply walk away. Men – it is common for people to say that “men are afraid of commitment.” I have witnessed this in some males, but not everyone. For a marriage to work and work well, it is my belief that a man must absolute commit to TrueManhood each and every day. If you screwed up yesterday, today is a new day.
- Marriage preparation, in many cases, is a laughable waste of time. This sounds harsh, but the facts are the facts. I hear story after story of people having terrible experiences in marriage prep, engaged encounters, and so forth. This isn’t to say that they are all bad – I’m aware of many good programs and approaches – but it’s something the Church must remedy. Priests (often whose hands are tied for various reasons) consent to marry uncatechized persons who are regularly breaking many of the Church’s basic requirements (ie: not actively involved in the life of the Church, cohabitating, engaged in pre-or-extramarital relations, contracepting, and so on) and thus bringing into question the validity of the sacrament from the very beginning.
- Marriages are ending in divorce at a staggering rate, and those involved need salvation too. Pope Francis has proven time and again that he takes the pastoral approach (that of the Good Shepherd… think “leave the 99 for the 1 lost sheep”) because people need love, care, and relationship before they will ever follow a set of rules. This is really the heart of true evangelization. Because of #’s 1&2 above, this group of individuals (again, uncatechized – meaning that they don’t know the teachings of the Church, thus are unable to apply them to their marriage and unevangelized – meaning that they don’t know the person of Jesus Christ in an intimate relationship) believe that they are unable to now be a part of the life of the Church (which is the means that Christ gave us to be united with Him in Heaven) and therefore leave. Pope Francis wants to minister to these people, and allow the faithful to do the same.
- The process for annulments has been extremely time consuming and costly. Although we don’t wish annulment on anyone, when valid, it is the right thing to do and to be granted by the Church. For some dioceses, the process takes years and costs hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. Pastorally, this isn’t helping the families in need of annulment, but making it much more difficult. Pope Francis’ plan is to streamline the process, cutting the Tribunals down from 2 to 1, and giving the judges more decision-making abilities. Some take this as lessening the process so as to be able to give annulments out like candy… but that’s not what this is at all. The entire process of annulment will still take place, but should be much more cost effective (Pope Francis wants them to be free, if at all possible) and be a much quicker process.
- The legal nature of annulments has likely turned some away from Catholicism towards other denominations. Because of the above mentioned issues, and the stigma that “a divorced person isn’t welcome in the Catholic Church”, this legalese is driving a wedge between baptized persons and a community which would support and build them up. The Church’s mission is for the salvation of all, not just a select group of people who are sinless. Because we all sin, we all need salvation!
I’m very well aware of the struggles of marriage… it’s really stinkin’ hard! Sometimes, annulments are what is right and good. When this is the case, they should be granted. When it’s not, then they shouldn’t. Whatever your current status (single, married, divorced, annuled, widowed, etc.) I suggest that you look up the Church’s teaching on marriage, why She says that marriage is so important, why She teaches that marriages are indissoluble, and why spouses should fight together to save their marriage. Use the Catechism of the Catholic Church, along with Sacred Scripture, encyclicals, writings of the saints (DEFINITELY see Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s work on the matter!) and see how it benefits your life. It will enrich you and hopefully you’ll be able to share that with someone else who might be in need of the knowledge too.
To Pope Francis: thank you for challenging us all to be more pastoral and loving in our interactions and evangelization efforts. We could take a legalistic approach, but that will likely push people away. Instead, we remain faithful to the Church, with a true heart of charity, desiring that all come to know, love, and serve God. Specifically for the men reading this post, I want to encourage you to study the Church’s teaching on marriage, and then lead your wives/families in it. If your marriage is struggling at all, and you do this, you’ll find that the Church is urging the spouses to become a total gift of self, like Christ did for his bride (the Church). When you do this, marriage is what it is supposed to be. When you do this, marriage plays a huge role in your sanctification and your evangelization. Men, it’s now that we have the opportunity to shift the world’s thinking on what marriage is and how to do it successfully.
I’ve had a front row seat to one of the greatest marriages in the history of time. Today, my parents celebrate 50 years of marriage! A tremendous feat! I’m extremely proud of my parents and want to publicly acknowledge their love, their sacrifice, and their unfailing commitment. You make me better, you aid my marriage, and I am so grateful for you.
I’ve written (and moreso, spoken) about my Dad on many occasions. He’s an amazing man, and is/was a leading example for me in my pursuit of TrueManhood. He has tons of characteristics that I love and admire, and I wouldn’t be half the man I am today if it wasn’t for him. Here are some of the major highlights:
- My Father loves my Mother unconditionally; everything he does is directly related to my Mother’s well-being, her concerns, her likes, her desires. His example of how a man cherishes his wife is second to none. #awesomehusband
- My Father serves my Mother unfailingly. For the entirety of their marriage, my Father has worked his tail off so that my Mother could have safety, security, comfort, and so that she would be able to do what she was created for. #whenamanlovesawoman
- My Father is the consumate gentleman. As a child, the example of being a gentleman was constant from my Father. My virtues related to being a gentleman (mostly in the area of Justice) is 100% correlated to my Father’s behavior and high standards. #gentleman
- My Father cherishes all women. Sincerely, my Father has a heart of service towards the fairer-sex… never failing to serve a female, no matter what the need may be. He’s always polite, always charitable, always deferent to the women he encounters. I cannot recall, even once, when I’ve seen my Father choose himself over a woman. He has always cherished my aunts and female cousins (there were far fewer of them than male cousins), and treated every female stranger with the utmost respect. #womenarethecrownofcreation
- My Father is a hard worker. Still today in his 70’s, with both knees repaired and a major back surgery, my Father does his own maintenance on his house, takes care of his vehicles himself, serves in numerous ways at his parish, helps me and my brothers, and serves on a non-profit board. The spirit of our bluecollar family, passed down from generation to generation, comes to me from him. #hardworker
I would also be remiss, especially on this most somber of days for America (9/11), if I didn’t mention my Father’s 30-year career serving our country as an enlisted serviceman in the United States Air Force. 30 years! Talk about dedication.
My Mother – I certainly don’t want to leave my Mother out of the conversation… and in fact, I couldn’t talk about my Father without talking about my Mother as well. She is a huge part of my Father’s character. From the moment they met, my Mother has challenged my Father to be who he is. She brings the best out of him, and holds him to the very highest of standards. It wouldn’t be a shock to tell you that their complementarity is so perfect that they make each other more holy; the point of marriage! The perfect way that my Mother fits my Father, and returns his love and service with more love and service, is a testament to her devotion and care for him. They truly are the perfect spouses for one another.
Jesus had Joseph and Mary – the Holy Family. I have Tony and Charlene – great examples of love, service, dedication, and faithfulness. Thanks Dad and Mom – Happy Anniversary!
I’m now a couple of weeks into my new career as a teacher. I’m really enjoying it, and the kids are amazing. We have great conversations about the faith, and I really believe that I’m reaching them. As I consider each of my classes and each of my students, I haven’t yet breached the subject of pornography. I’m working now to form bonds of trust and mutual respect, and want to work towards gaining moral authority with my students. We’ll get there, and I don’t think it will take long.
In one class specifically, but in all seven of my classes generally, I’ll be diving into the topic of The Theology of the Body, and when we dive into that topic, we must (absolutely MUST) discuss the topic of pornography. So I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to breach the subject, and how I’m going to deal with the responses. I’ve presented to middle and high school kids plenty of times on the topic, but never in the classroom setting… always in retreat and/or talk situations. This is going to be much different.
This got me thinking… if parents don’t fail with pornography use themselves, and also don’t know whether or not their children do, does the topic ever cross their mind? Is pornography an “out of sight, out of mind” problem? I know it crosses mine because I’m aware of the realities in my own life (past use), as well as the realities of the industry and the prevalence. Here are some distinct groups when it comes to porn awareness.
- Users: obviously, they’re highly aware of porn and are abusing it frequently. It’s on their mind, if not constantly, very regularly.
- Those fighting: highly aware and trying to create awareness in others.
- Those in recovery: depending on the length of recovery, it may not be a frequent awareness, but they’re aware.
- Those oblivious: have no knowledge of the topic, aren’t aware at all.
- Those in denial: refusal to believe that porn is actually a problem.
What group do you fall in? Are you a man using porn? Does it rule your life? What are you doing about it if this is you? Or, are you in recovery? Perhaps you’re oblivious and don’t know much about porn. (You’ve come to a good site to learn more about the truths of pornography! Just do a search in the white box.) Are you a parent who is in denial of how bad pornography is and how likely your child is using it? Wherever you might be, please continue to educate yourself on the matter and realize that, even if porn is “out of sight”, it can’t be “out of mind.”
I hope to be creating some good new resources for parents on the topic of fighting pornography, and I want to get them out to you very soon. In the meantime, please look through my site for help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for specific questions.
Rugged. Strong. Hefty. Masculine. Words to describe my new Rosary from a company by the name of Rugged Rosaries, by CordBands.com. This company reached out to me about advertising on the site, but before I could okay that, I wanted to see the product firsthand. I wanted to see the follow through, the craftsmanship, the quality, the final product. They delivered!
I was amazed at the turnaround time. Within 48 hours of requesting the Rosary, I received it in the mail. The entire package was impressive, including more than was expected. From the Rosary, to the packaging, to the significance of the business card, the pride that Shannon and her family take in the Rosaries they make is evident. They’ve turned a hobby and passion into a serious evangelization tool for the Church. There are tons of designs, options, and unique gifts. I cannot recommend their product highly enough!
If you’re a parent looking for a teen boy (or older), a wife looking for her husband, or a godparent, Confirmation sponsor, or mentor looking for a classy, masculine gift… look no further. The price point is higher than a cheap, plastic Rosary or other tied cord Rosaries – and for good reason. You won’t be replacing this paracord Rosary, nor the hefty beads anytime soon! I’ve had many Rosaries in my pocket over the past 12 years (since my conversion) and none of them have lasted much more than 2 years, tops. I’ve ruined some of my favorite and most meaningful Rosaries carrying them around with me. The rope, chains, and beads broke. The knots became loose and frayed. I had to continually change my everyday-carry Rosary. You will not have that problem with this product!
Please, take some time and head over to CordBands.com to check out the site. And with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can’t go wrong.
Want more on the Rosary? Search “ROSARY” in the white search box on this site!
The fall 2015 hunting season is just around the corner. I’ve been putting in some time preparing for the season, and thought that the topic lent itself to the discussion of manliness, so I’m writing about why I hunt. No, to be clear here, hunting doesn’t make a male a man. No, you don’t have to hunt in order to be considered a TrueMan. There are no pre-requisites in this article, simply my heart. Here are some of the reasons why I hunt.
- For Provision. I hunt to provide food for my family. No, it’s not our only source of food, but meat has definitely become the largest consumed food group over the past year. Previously, our main consumption was probably grains; we’ve cut those dramatically. Besides the purchase of local beef and pork – wild venison, dove, pheasant, turkey, and hog have become mainstays in our freezers. My children thoroughly enjoy meat, prepared in various ways – usually grilled – and are growing lean muscles because of it.
- For Bonding with my children. My children, from very young ages, have demonstrated a desire to hunt with me. We’ve spent time reading, watching, learning, and discussing hunting. In my opinion, this is an absolute win-win situation for me. I am able to have a hobby, that brings me life, that allows me to provide for my family, while also spending time with my kiddos doing something that we mutually enjoy. Just a few weeks ago, my 7yr old daughter asked (unsolicited, I might add) if for her birthday this year, I could take her hunting. Absolutely! September 23rd I’m hoping to bag a deer with her!
- For Education of my children. Being in the wilderness with children offers countless educational opportunities. It’s a great time to talk one-on-one, with no distractions. It’s a great science lesson. It’s a great opportunity to ask them to talk about God, His creation, and His love for us. It’s perfect timing to talk about ethics (in hunting, and life in general), laws/regulations, and weapon safety.
- To Rejuvenate. Some might call this ‘to recreate’. Either way, any time I have the opportunity to go out into the woods and the fields, it brings a sense of rejuvenation to me that being in town (even our small farm town) cannot provide. Typically, the cell signal is low or out, you’re on your own and have to be self-reliant, and for me, those factors make me come alive! A weapon in my hand, just waiting for the opportunity.
- To Remain Mentally Sharp. If you’ve never hunted, this one might seem obscure, but there’s something profound about waiting absolutely still, and quiet, in full camouflage, for that perfect opportunity to harvest a wild animal. Your mental aptitude is tested, and between scouting out your location properly, to understanding the ins-and-outs of the particular game you’re hunting, it can be mentally exhausting. The wrong decision, movement, or noise can ruin your chances. You should have a game plan, and backups, and that takes preparation.
- To Hone My Skills of Survival. Some would call me a conspiracy theorist, others might call me paranoid, still others would say that I’m not prepared enough. Regardless of what your beliefs are about Muslim invasions, economic downturns, government oversteps, or terroristic attacks, one thing remains true… having the skills to live on your own may come in handy some day. I need to know that I can harvest and cook food on a fire I created, and protect myself and family. Being in the wilderness regularly helps me in that preparation. Having skills with weaponry helps me in that preparation as well.
If you’ve never been in to hunting, but you want to get started, I’d ask these questions first. 1. What weaponry do you own? (Shotgun, rifle, BB gun, bow, etc. The weapon often dictates the game you’re able to hunt.) 2. Are you proficient with your weapon(s)? (If not, practice practice practice.) 3. Where do you live and what are your local regulations? (You have to know what education, licensure, and tags/permits are required, where you can use them, and when. Learn this stuff online.) 4. Do you have any close contacts for people who can help teach you? (Most true hunters would love the opportunity to hunt with someone new. They can be your ticket into the hunting world!) 5. What source of educational materials do you have access to? (Online videos, YouTube, hunting channels, magazines, books, etc. are great sources to learn from.)
As always, if you have any needs or questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. Email me at Dave@TrueManhood.com!
After I reposted my article, “Ditch the Fantasy“, I received a number of comments and critiques about the article. The same happened last year when I originally posted it. I’m thankful to receive the comments and critiques, and that’s part of my intent when I write something… especially things that might grab someone and challenge them… to get people talking about things. To those who disagree, I ask that you forgive the tone of my article, should it have been hurtful or made you feel like I was condemning you, calling you a sinner, or shattering your confidence. If it was taken in an uncharitable manner, then I sincerely apologize. I certainly don’t want to tear anyone down, but rather, my goal is to build men up. If I have torn you down in any way, please accept my apology. It’s also not my intent to point fingers at other’s sin, as if I’m not a sinner myself; I most certainly sin, and take ownership of my sin. Mea culpa.
The critiques came mostly in the form of people feeling attacked for their like of, or involvement in, fantasy football. Although I remain firm in my position on Fantasy, I wanted to take the opportunity to explain it deeper.
What’s taking place in a Fantasy Football League? In my previous article, I said that I wouldn’t give an explanation of Fantasy, but I broke my rule and am explaining it here in quick terms. Players organize themselves in a computerized league, draft specialty players (QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs, Special Teams players, etc.), and team defenses, and then as the real NFL season progresses, the players make mock lineup changes and substitutions with the hope of scoring the most points/yards/wins (based off of the actual performances of NFL players) so that their fantasy team beats the other fantasy teams in the computerized league. To make changes/substitutions, a fantasy player may spend little, some, or many hours researching teams, watching film, checking standings, reviewing the injured reserve lists, listening to and/or watching television and internet shows related to fantasy, rating matchups, and so forth, so as to have the best possible lineup for the upcoming week. Teams within the league play against another team each week, and the winners racks up points. The standings change each week in the overall ranking within the league. Depending on the initiative of the players, there may be no, some, or lots of human interaction (in my experience, often in the form of smacktalk) between the actual players. Some of the leagues are free to join, some cost money. Some have prizes or purses for the winners, some do not.
Fantasy Football as fantasy. I received the following quote: “The word fantasy is present, but there isn’t a whole lot of day dreaming or fantasizing involved.” If you’ll recall in my original post, I mentioned the dictionary definition of fantasy “imagination – to the point of being improbable or impossible.” Okay, big deal. Or is it? The reason I believe that Fantasy Football is absolutely a Fantasy is because it’s made up. The teams are made up, the leagues are made up, etc. Along these lines, I linked the playing of fantasy to pornography, and that also got a rise out of some readers. Notice that I mentioned that “fantasies lend themselves toward sinfulness – idle behavior, sloth, selfishness, and deeper fantasy.” They “lend” themselves toward sinfulness. No, I’m not necessarily saying that Fantasy Football will send you to hell, but I believe that addictive behavior can spread very quickly from activities like this, especially when technology is involved, and that is at the very least something we should be aware of. (Personally, I lived this not only through my pornography addiction but also through my use of television, movies, and video games.) This opinion of mine is linked to studies and scientific data that show that the brain is negatively affected by stimuli coming through technology. We condition our brain to react a certain way based on the content we consume and the brain chemicals that create dependency. For this reason, I am also opposed to video games, especially in adolescent boys.
Linking Fantasy to board games. One major critique is to pull board games into the mix, and argue that fantasy football is no different than playing a board game. To this point, I disagree. Board games require human interaction at every turn. Even the body placement of the players during most board games has the players facing each other around a table. This body placement promotes conversation, human interaction, and non-verbals and, in my opinion, is much more human than someone merely sitting in front of a computer screen, tablet, or smartphone. In board games, the opportunity to be compassionate, caring, and/or relate with other players is prevalent. Not so in fantasy. I’d say that board games are absolutely a bonding opportunity, and can be a good use of time. Go for it!
The “All Things Good in Moderation” lie. Please don’t buy into the lie that “all things are good in moderation.” This is not the Catholic position! The Catholic position would never say that drugs in moderation, or unfaithful, extra-marital sex in moderation, or lying in moderation are good things. Obviously not. What the Church would say is that we (humanity) should live the virtue of TEMPERANCE in all things. Temperance “moderates our attraction to pleasures… the temperate person directs the sensitive appetites towards what is good.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1809.) The Church would also instruct us and compel us to utilize the virtues of WISDOM, PRUDENCE, and others, in terms of what we do and how we spend our time. I think this is reasonable to bring into this discussion of manliness and how it relates to activities such as Fantasy.
I suppose it also benefits the conversation to ask the question “Is Fantasy Football cultural manliness?” Is Fantasy telling men that the more power, money, sex, and stuff they consume the more manly they are? Not necessarily in every case, but I am personally aware of many cases that fit this definition.
Ultimately, we shouldn’t be shooting for something that’s “just okay” or “not as bad as”… we should be shooting for the greatest good. Our actions as males, whatever they are, are either virtuous or vicious. They are either working to be like Christ, or they aren’t. That’s for you to think about and decide.
You may not agree with me. That’s your prerogative. I would leave those who disagree with this thought and challenge. Is it possible that you are abdigating your responsibilities during the time you are playing Fantasy? (The same could be asked about a lot of activities, most certainly.) Are you missing out on “greater goods?” Is Fantasy Football helping you reach your goals in life? Is it helping you to grow in holiness?
I received yet another invitation to play Fantasy Football this year. That makes, well, several invitations. Because it was such a big article for me last year, and because I think it needs addressed again, I’m reposting my article “Ditch the Fantasy.”
Brothers, can I be honest with you? Really? I mean, can I really lay something out on the table and call you to task? Bros… it’s time to ditch the fantasy football leagues. Playing football… awesome. (Especially local pick-up games at the park. I played ball as a kid up into college. It taught me teamwork, hard work, discipline, tenacity, perseverance, and so many other great characteristics. It even – significantly – helped me pay for undergrad!) Watching football… fine. (I thoroughly enjoy it myself. It’s always been something we do in my family… gathering us together like nothing else can. Literally like nothing. else. can. Eating, talking, enjoying one another. It’s awesome.) Fantasy football… nah.
I’ve been getting jazzed for this season of late and excited about the Steelers’ run for their 7th championship (stop – don’t send hate mail!) In watching some stuff about the NFL and listening to some sports talk radio on my long commutes, and following a few threads here and there, I keep getting bombarded with the fantasy talk. I even went to a game recently (pre-season Vikings vs. Chiefs at Arrowhead – thanks Jeff!) and heard it there. Over the loud speaker, on the jumbotron, on posters. It boggles my mind that grown men get so into this garbage. Don’t you have better things to spend your time on? Can’t you find something productive to do? Sure, a lot of us spend time poorly on occasion. Sometimes it’s leisure, recreation, relaxation, etc. Sometimes, it’s just blatant idiocy. I have to be frank about this, even the name evokes the shear viciousness that is fantasy football.
For those who don’t know what fantasy football is, there are countless places to learn about it, but you won’t find that on TrueManhood.com. Sorry.
If you find yourself ready to attempt to justify fantasy to me, stop yourself, think through it, and ponder this: it is a fantasy. Fake. Fantasies lend themselves to sinfulness – idle behavior, sloth, selfishness, and deeper fantasy. We need to live in reality, not in fantasy. If you look up the definition of fantasy online, it will tell you that it’s “imagination – to the point of being improbable or impossible.” This is what you spend countless hours on each week? This is what gets you hot and bothered? Don’t tell me that you might win a $1,000 if you win your league. Don’t tell me about bragging rights over your brothers, co-workers, or poker buddies. Require more out of your life than fantasy. Our wives and children deserve more than fantasy. Our world deserves much more than fantasy.
Why do I care? ‘If I don’t like it, I don’t have to do it.’ Right? How many of you are thinking that right now? Guess why I care… because men have too many responsibilities that are going undone because we waste our lives on crap like fantasy football. To me, this isn’t much different than porn. Porn is a fantasy land. Unreality that leads to viciousness. If you don’t think it effects you and me, you’re wrong. When men don’t live lives of virtue, they’re living lives of viciousness. There’s no two-ways about it. We have tons of males running around like boys, playing games all day long, wasting away the good opportunities to be something, and to do something. Get it together, bros!
So, what are you going to do instead of fantasy football this year? I’d suggest anything along the lines of… anything but fantasy.
I recently witnessed a less-than-ideal situation between a father and his children, and thought I’d relay the story here so that everyone could think about it. They were doing some yardwork. His kids were helping with the mowing and edging. At one point, the father became irrate because the equipment stopped working. He began to scream at the both of them, as if it was their fault that the machine failed. A few explitives flew, a few derogatory and demeaning things were said, and I’m sure, some confidence (in the kids) was shot.
OK, so why do I bring this story up? Lots of reasons! First of all… anytime I hear yelling and cursing near me, I begin to investigate. Secondly, anytime I know that a child is being yelled at, I turn my attention to the situation. The lie to “keep your nose out of other people’s business” isn’t something I subscribe to, and neither should you. The care of women, children, and other men is always a TrueMan’s business. Passivity must not be tolerated. Also, I want to work to highlight not only bad behavior in men, but more importantly, the ways in which the rest of us can learn from the mistakes and shortcomings of other men around us. Let’s not make the same mistakes as others. It’s about a dad who’s unable to control his temper and who is misguided in how he deals with stress.
I was keeping an eye on the situation in the event that it got out of hand and needed my intervention. It never came to that, thankfully. Whether the dad made the switch on his own, or if he saw me and changed his tune because he knew I was nearby, or whether it was something else entirely, I was just glad to see that it stopped. To my knowledge, he never hit or struck his kids – I most certainly would have stepped in.
Let’s consider how a TrueMan handles this situation as a father. If you’re going to have your children helping you, with whatever you’re doing, make it about teaching them and forming them to perform their chores/work properly. If they happen to break something while learning, realize that stuff breaks and – if you’ve done it correctly – they’ll have truly learned something! Isn’t that the point?! Explanations of how things work, processes to follow, safety standards… all good things. Yelling at them and demeaning them is the wrong approach. Teaching, forming, encouraging… those are the attributes of a man who can be proud of his parenting.
A TrueMan keeps his cool, in every situation. This requires so many virtues, they are too numerous to mention here. Namely, the virtues of temperance, prudence, and fortitude come to mind. If you aren’t familiar with these words, or want more information on virtue, please check out our “TrueManhood’s Guide to Virtue” under the Resources tab. Dads, your kids want to be with you. They want your time, your attention, your affection, your love. They want you. They want to be wanted by you. Give them that. Give them you!
On a personal note, I work to constantly be aware of my yelling and overall tone when dealing with my kiddos. I’ve come a long way and still can be better. I don’t always do the right thing, and I don’t always make the right choices, but my head is screwed on straight and I work to be cognizant of how what I say affects my kids. And not just what I say, but how I say it. When we say and do things to our children, it definintely affects them and stays with them. It changes them. Work to be aware of your words and actions, because your kids are watching and learning; they’ll become who you teach them to become.
Repost from August 2009, with a few additions, for the college-aged young men out there…
With most schools starting recently (or soon), I thought it would be good to address some issues about how a TrueMan behaves on campus. A college campus, as we all know, can be a hostile place for an ardent follower of Christ. It can be a treacherous minefield of explosive situations, abusive and vulgar language, uncomfortable environments, and disagreements with unbelievers. In order to deal with these difficult issues, here are a couple suggestions.
- Be yourself. If you love and serve God, don’t be ashamed of it. Live it out, your witness will come through – people will want what you have.
- Don’t give in to negative peer pressure. Negative peer pressure is stupid… Real friends don’t force you into bad situations and surely don’t lead you into sin. We call these people “nasty friends”. If you’ve got ’em, get rid of ’em. Don’t ruin your life holding on to people who are ruining theirs.
- If you are struggling, and think that you’ve got it bad or that you’re really suffering for the increase of the Kingdom, read about St Paul in 2 Corinthians 11/12. That’s some good perspective, huh?!
- There’s a big difference between being a strong Catholic man who stands for something good as compared to a “culturally manly” guy who wants the “glamorous” lifestyle of money, power, women and stuff. College campus life increases these bad desires exponentially.
- Many women on your college campus won’t understand the chivalry you extend to them. Do it anyway, with charity and a smile. Be a radical change on your campus.
- Being a TrueMan doesn’t mean you can’t have anything to drink, or that you can’t go to any parties. It means that you put yourself in good situations, that point you towards heaven and you act in moderation and with prudence. Remember, Jesus hung out with sinners, but not when they were sinning. (*Keep in mind that a TrueMan abides by the law, and whether you agree with the drinking-age in the US or not, it is the law. A TrueMan wouldn’t risk it. If you’re underage, just say no.)
- Strive for excellence in all things. Start by being sober and chaste. If you conquer these two areas, you’re well on your way.
- As much as it seems untrue, women don’t want to marry the dirtball, drunkard, C-minus-student types. They want a gentleman, a man who’s going to provide for them, a man who loves them and shows their love by respecting them and by being self-sacrificing. They want a man who is going to be a great dad and a hard worker. There’s nothing wrong with stacking the deck on this topic! Put all the cards in your favor from the get-go!
All in all, college is a great time for a young man. Live it up. Enjoy it. In all things, be focused on Christ, live virtue and especially, live joy.