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!

REPOST – Ditch the Fantasy

August 24, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, cultural manliness, Faith, manliness, pornography, Sports

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.football

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.

fantasy-football-idiotsIf 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.

TrueMan up!

60-Day Free Trial from Covenant Eyes

July 31, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, Fatherhood, pornography, Virtue

I’m excited to announce a great offer from Covenant Eyes!  Through my affiliate, new users with be offered a 60-Day Free Trial.  This trial is only available from Aug 1-31, so be sure to act quickly.  Click HERE to get the offer.

free_trial-60

What is Covenant Eyes?  Internet accountability and filtering.  What, then, is internet accountability and filtering?  To explain, watch this video with Matt Fradd.

Why do I like and support Covenant Eyes and encourage every man, woman, and family to use it?  It’s simple; transparency in our actions, especially online, leads to better moral decisions and holds us accountable to what we’re searching, seeing, and consuming.  Covenant Eyes brings our accountability partner(s) into each click, search, and scroll.  For parents, it opens a gateway towards conversations with children, and sets up an automatic and recurring system to “check in” with their kids about internet use.  And, it keeps parents and spouses from guessing and hoping that their loved one’s internet use is on the up and up.  Covenant Eyes is easy to set up, and even easier to use because it operates in the background.

covenant-eyes-square

I will be putting out more resources, videos, and blogs in relation to internet safety.  Stay tuned!

TrueMan up!

The Door Man; Above and Beyond

February 4, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, cultural manliness, manliness, Virtue

Here’s a feel-good story for you, and something to push you on.  It’s been around on the internet for a few years, but I just saw it recently and thought it was good fodder for discussion.  Watch this video about “The Door Man” and then read some of my reflections below.

Josh the Doorman squareLet’s take a look at the details in this video and see how they apply to TrueManhood.  First off… Josh lost his father as a child; a tragic death that impacted him immensely.  Every child needs their father.  Everyone experiences loss and hurt, at varying levels, and quite often never share it, talk about it, or heal from it.  These sorts of experiences are horribly detrimental to us and our psyche, not to mention our day to day interactions, thoughts, and choices.  We begin to believe lies about certain aspects of our lives, our circumstances, and ourselves.

The video also talked about bullies, and how Josh fought back.  Let’s just put this out there… whether you’re a child or a grown male, bullying at any stage is absolutely and positively not authentically masculine.  A TrueMan never exploits someone else to attempt to make himself feel better.  If you or someone you know is being bullied, or if you ever see someone being bullied, you are bound by the duty of your God-given masculinity to step in.

Josh the Doorman

From all of this – the pain, the bullying, the emptiness, – came a loneliness, depression, and lack of self-worth for Josh.  Unfortunately, this is all too common in our culture.  Josh said: “I was sick and tired of being a “no one” and I wanted to be someone.”  Again, an all too common belief.  Even at a young age boys believe that they should be living “cultural manliness” so that they’re a “someone.”  No matter what’s going on around you, happening to you, or what you’re experiencing, your worth comes from God and that’s enough.  We must realize that our worth isn’t found in how others treat us, how we look, public prestige or applause, but only from God.  He created us and sustains our life because He loves us, and that love is the source of our worth.

They said in the video that it took a while for people to adjust to doors being held open, and although I wish this wasn’t the case, it’s amazing how so small a gesture is forgotten and now “odd” to so many.  The culture of the gentleman is lost, and needs to be reclaimed.  I remember once when I was about 18, I was in New York City, and I happened to see a woman pushing a stroller with a baby in it, with several bulging bags hanging from her hands.  She was attempting to move her giant stroller and bags through a door and no one was helping her.  I ran over to show a simple common courtesy and she was absolutely floored.  Fifteen years later I still remember that encounter because of how baffling it really is.  In the video, as Josh opened doors, it said that people started to open up to Josh – it doesn’t take much.  People want to be noticed, and wish that they had someone to listen to them.  They want someone to engage with them, and they’re waiting for an opening so that they themselves can open up.  It’s really not that difficult to make someone feel comfortable and welcome.

People want to be noticed

“Opening doors gives people hope that people care.”  said Josh.  “He set a good example for other students, and he changed things in the school.”  Something SO SIMPLE as holding a door can make a real impact in someone else’s life.  What are you doing EVERY DAY to make a difference in someone else’s life?

“I never expected to get an award.  I was just happy enough to make it through.”  Josh overcame a fear and gave himself to others, they relate to him that way, and he makes a difference.  Good on you, Josh.  I hope that you’ve continued to grow in courage, and that you haven’t stopped helping others.

TrueMan up!

Ditch the Fantasy

footballBrothers, 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.

fantasy-football-idiotsIf 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.

TrueMan up!

Modern Martyrdom – It’s For Real

August 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog, Evangelization, Faith, manliness, Military, Virtue

Jim Foley 1James Foley is, seemingly, a saint; a living witness to the faith.  He very literally gave his life for the sake of the Kingdom.  He was beheaded for being a Christian.  From what I can tell, he lived heroic virtue, especially in the face of persecution, even to the point of death.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes martyrdom as the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude.”  (CCC 2473.)

James Foley was a journalist working to make the plight of the Syrian people known to the world.  They have been oppressed and tortured, and most recently, as I hope we are all aware, have been brutally murdered, often by beheading, by Islamic terrorists.  His work put him in terrible situations, and he knew his life was in danger.  He was proud of the work he was doing, and knew well the reality of the holy war taking place in the Middle East.

Jim Foley 2Jim was a Catholic, and believed firmly in prayer.  During his time in the Middle East, he was held captive, and ultimately, was beheaded by the terrorist cell The Islamic State (IS).  Their cowardly act of absolute destruction of human life was horrific, while Jim’s witness was absolutely beautiful.  He was a TrueMan!  In the face of danger, he was courageous.  In the face of persecution, he was faithful.  In the face of evil, he was true goodness.  He lived charity, and gave his life as a witness.

In a recounting of his first captivity in Libya in 2011, Jim wrote about how prayer, the Rosary specifically, got him through.  He wrote: “If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did.”

Here’s a video showing his parents – talking a little about Jim and his faith.

So the question for us now is, “Do you realize that martyrdom is a real possibility in our world?”  I often hear people talking about “those other people” who were martyrd, as if it couldn’t (and won’t) happen to us.  I suggest that each man reading this post consider what he will do in the face of oppression, so that when that day comes, he will know and will be prepared.  Brothers, we cannot wait to prepare, because the forces of evil are strong, and they are coming for us.  Whether it be terror cells like the IS, or some other form of hatred towads Catholics, we will experience persecution, and it may even lead to our death.  If you’re living virtuously now, it will make all the difference then.  Virtue = authentic masculinity.  Virtue = TrueManhood.

TrueMan up!

Christian Persecution Out of Control in Middle East

August 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog, Faith, Military

ISIS insanity

A ‘mild’ picture of the insanity taking place in the Middle East.

I’ve been wanting to write about the persecutions, rapes, pillaging, plundering, destruction, and massacring of Christians in the Middle East for some time now.  I haven’t really known what to say and how to possibly bring any value to the discussion because it is so unthinkable.  Many have likened what is happening in the Middle East by ISIS to Nazi Germany, and I can’t disagree.  However, I find the tactics and purpose (of the terrorists) much more heinous because of a few reasons.  1. It is on display (thanks to the media outlets available worldwide, and very easily).  The Nazi’s scheme was all but hidden, especially the concentration camps, while these Muslim’s galavant around, showcasing the horrow of their actions for all the world to see.  They display the decapitated heads of small children as if trophies added to their collection.  It’s absolutely sickening.  2. The world is seemingly doing little to nothing to stop ISIS.  I pray this changes very quickly.  3. It’s not the first time this sort of “ethnic/religious cleansing” has happened.  For me, that’s why it’s worse this time around.

“Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Come on, world!  Get it together!  Start stepping in for these people, and rid the world of these awful terrorists.  Haven’t we learned anything from the past mistakes of humanity?!

Well, because I doubt I’ll be eloquent enough to make any difference, I thought I’d let Fr. Barron shed some light on the subject.  See below.

TrueMan up!

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