Los Levantadores – A Culture of Fit, Hard-working Men

December 21, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, Faith, Fatherhood, manliness, Virtue

Levantadores2I recently watched an awesome documentary put out by Rogue Fitness titled “Levantadores – The Basque Strongman.”  It’s only about 30 minutes – I think it’s well worth your time.

Levantadores-fatherson

My good friend and fellow strongman Jared Zimmerer posted about it and shared many good thoughts (click this link or the photo above for his post), so I’m going to point you to his post instead of simply repeating everything he’s already said.  What I will write about to catch your attention are the following points:

  1. I am highly intrigued by the father-son relationships that take place in this culture of the Levantadores.  The fathers pass on the lifestyle of being a strongman, which means much more than simply how much a man can lift.
  2. These men are not only strong, they are determined, exude perseverance, and are faithful.  Without knowing these men personally, able to watch them, and judge their daily actions, it’s clear to me that they are tending towards virtue.
  3. At the heart of this culture is faith and family.
  4. Their culture isn’t self-serving or self-centered… they are united in common bond, for the greater good, and the improvement of one another.
  5. Their strength is incredible.
  6. Their fitness is functional, meaning that it’s usable and they use it!  This is what I strive for with my workouts through CrossFit.  Functional fitness for a healthy lifestyle.

Levantadores

Here’s the video.  Enjoy!


After you watch the documentary, please send me your thoughts on social media comments or via email. Dave@TrueManhood.com.

TrueMan up!

Living Balance? No thanks, I’ll stick with Order.

December 18, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, Evangelization, Faith, manliness, Virtue

A lie flying around in our culture – one that is very prevalent, and common-language for many – is the encouragement to “Live a balanced life.” (or other variations of it.)  It’s sneaky in the way that it is extremely mainstream while still flying under the radar.  It’s subtle, yet dangerous.  I’ll explain.scale

Living balance is the commonly held idea that — if a person does things in a balanced way, or at least in a way that doesn’t emphasize something too much or too little, that he’ll be living rightly.   And thus, by living rightly, he will become happy.  If everything in a person’s life is “just right”, and nothing tips the scales one way or the other, the balance they experience will make all things right.  —  There are many problems with this idea.  First, living balance isn’t rooted in anything tangible, ie: what does ‘balance’ even mean?  Doing merely what I want to do (balance), even if in a moderate fashion, doesn’t mean that I’m doing what I ought to do (order.)  What we ought to be doing, regardless of who we are or what our state in life may be, is to live virtue.  Living virtue allows us “not only to do good acts, but to give the best of our self.”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1803.)  Giving the best of myself is what I ought to do.

Aristotle Aquinas

Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas teach that we should shoot for the mean!

The “balance lie” would state that as long as the individual isn’t negating some aspect of his life, or at least not too much, he can do each activity in a balanced fashion.  The truth about order is that, I’m called to living a life that is worth the very best.  Choosing activities merely because I want to do them, isn’t necessarily pointing me towards that very best.  Depending on what activities I’m doing, they may or may not be evil in-and-of-themselves, yet they may not be quite what I ought to be doing.  Here, the question must go deeper (again, more than simply what I want to do) and ask the question, do I possess the virtue of temperance?  Am I exercising justice?  What about fortitude?  Am I living prudently?  Are my actions pointing towards charity?  In attempting, however, to live virtue and do the greatest good, I’m challenged to order those things, along with others in my life, so that ultimately, I’m able to possess the virtues and live as closely to the example set by Christ as possible.

Live Order

Here’s a video where I explain this idea a bit further.  Live order.

TrueMan up!

Learn It, Then Earn It (For Dads)

son-fatherDear Fellow Fathers,

There’s a difference between maleness and manliness.  A person is a male by virtue of his sex (gender), his DNA.  A male is not a man simply because of his age, his profession, his marital status, whether or not he’s a virgin, what he owns, or any other arbitrary factor.  A male becomes a man when his life is manly.  What is manliness?  Virtue.  This is one of the 3 main tenants of TrueManhood.com – nothing new for the readership.

2015-10_LT-CatechismHowToThe Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 1803, states that virtue is “the habitual and firm disposition to do the good.”  The CCC clarifies that virtue is an action… doing… a verb.  So when does a male become a man?  When he does good.  You’re a male reading this… are you a man or are you simply a male?

Thankfully, with the definition that the Church gives us, we don’t have to wonder whether or not a male is a man, which means that we don’t have to wonder whether or not our sons (or the males interested in our daughters) are men.  It’s the benchmark by which we “grade” them.  When we know that, we can move forward to help these males continue to live in a manly way.  This brings me to my point…

father-son-lessons_9c7yManliness isn’t given, manliness is earned.  Before something can really be earned, someone must know what they are earning, thus males must first learn what manliness is before they can earn it.  As fathers, it is our responsibility to not only live out manliness (ie: virtue) but to teach it.  The world gives various versions of counterfeit manliness for our boys to shoot for (search “Cultural Manliness” on this site for more on the world’s main version) and if we don’t teach them what authentic masculinity is, their only option is the world’s option.

The world’s option isn’t an option for me.  It’s not an option for my son, Dave Jr.  It’s not an option for my daughters Lily, Emma, and Maria.  The world’s option is a lie.

Let’s work together as Catholic fathers to teach our children (male and female) what masculinity is.  If you ever wonder, just refer back to the Catechism, to TrueManhood.com, or to the “Guide to Virtue” found on my site.  More to follow on dads teaching their sons what TrueManhood is all about.

TrueMan up!

Men, I Exhort You

Into the BreachFrom time to time, bishops write what are called ‘apostolic exhortations’… a letter or article or writing that calls the people to a higher level of knowledge on a topic… that encourages the reader to live a particular way, or to consider a worldview that may be different from what they currently believe and are living.  Many apostolic exhortations have to do with modern crisis and societal concerns that the bishop desires to spend time and effort working to correct.  The latest of these exhortations comes from a great man, a great shepherd of the people, and a wonderful bishop, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix in Arizona.  Watch the trailer below to be inspired to read the exhortation, which you can find by clicking on the link below.

Click HERE to get to the exhortation.  It is lengthy, and the website has much more on it than just the exhortation, so be prepared to save the site and come back to it as you need to.

Bishop Olmsted

I applaud the efforts of Bishop Olmsted and all the men and women who support him in this project.  He couldn’t be more right in what he says and writes… we are absolutely in a crisis and need the fullness of the teaching of masculinity to come out and to be spread.  That IS the work of TrueManhood Men’s Ministry and we stand in solidarity with Bishop Olmsted.

TrueMan up!

Did Pope Francis Just “OK” Divorce and Remarriage?

September 15, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, Evangelization, Faith, Scriptural Examples, Virtue

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.

Pope Francis

The various aspects I see in this new decree:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.Infidel groom
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

annulment (1)

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.

TrueMan up!

A TrueMan’s Marriage – Happy 50th Dad & Mom!

September 11, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, Faith, Fatherhood, For Women, manliness, Military, Virtue

Happy 50thI’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.

Dad and Mom

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.

Dad and Mom 2

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!

TrueMan up!

Rugged Rosaries – A Product Review

September 2, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, Evangelization, Faith, Virtue

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!

Rugged Rosaires Sidebar bannerI 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!

Rugged Rosaries2

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!

TrueMan up!

Why I Hunt

August 31, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, Faith, Fatherhood, manliness, Sports, Virtue

Dave Hunting croppedThe 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

2013 - 10 point buck

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!

TrueMan up!

Expounding on “Ditch”

August 29, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, cultural manliness, manliness, pornography, Sports, Virtue

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.

I was wrong

 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

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.

family-playing-monopoly-vintage

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?

TrueMan up!

Keep Your Cool, Dad

August 20, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, Fatherhood, manliness, Parenting, Virtue

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.

father yelling at daughter

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!

Father with kids

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.

TrueMan up!

Next Page »