Darrin Patrick, pastor-chaplain-dude, writes the best contemporary book on manliness that I have read to date. I was skeptical going into the book, but Patrick kept the conversation real, direct, and applicable. He challenges the myths and misconceptions the world offers up as true manliness and builds a picture of a man who is strong, empowering, honest, vulnerable and loves Jesus without going over the top with macho language and cheap romanticized manliness (John Wayne might not like this book).
1. Get it Done: Become a Determined Man – If we are going to be successful at manhood then we need to decide right now that we are going to suit up and show up. The game is tough, but the rewards are worth it. The greatest difficulty is that many of us have not been good road maps for the journey, but don’t despair.
2. Pay Attention and Learn Something: Become a Coachable Man – Since many of us haven’t receive good road maps from our own dads, and even for those who have, it is important to remain teachable. We must learn to admit what we don’t know and find people who do and can teach us. Then we must listen.
3. Train, Don’t Just Try: Become a Disciplined Man – In this chapter Patrick attacks what has been called the pornification of life. All pursuits have been laced with a promise of quick returns and sensual experiences. True manliness is not about immediate gratification. Therefore, men will learn to discipline themselves for the greater good, not the immediate reward.
4. Love Your Work: Become a Working Man – Real men work, at least as long as they can. Real men also learn to find joy in what they do, or they do it for the joy or providing for their family, or they find a new job they do enjoy. This is a difficult chapter in that it calls men to make potentially hard decisions.
5. Get Satisfaction: Become a Content Man – Contentment is the ultimate virtue for Patrick. Until we learn to be content we will always be chasing something. Contentment allows us to slow down and enjoy life.
All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, it is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves. – Blaise Pascal
6. Love a Woman: Become a Devoted Man – Real men are devoted to one woman and to loving her well over the long run. Single men should be devoting themselves to becoming more interesting men for their future wives.
7. Love Kids: Become a Family Man – Real men should have kids and be devoted to them. They should learn from their past and invest in the present to produce a new future. Single men should learn to be the kind of guy others can depend on.
8. Say, “I Love You, Man”: The Connected Man – Real men build deep friendships. This means going beyond networking and into mutually vulnerable and beneficial bonds of manliness. Friends allow us to know and be known, a needed experience for a quality life.
9. Feel Something Without Crying at Everything: The Emotional Man – Learn to process your feelings and share them with others. Real men are tough and tender at the right times. Emotions are signals for realities we are experiencing and they can steer us horribly wrong or in hey highlight direction depending on how we handle them.
10. Find the Right Arena: The Fighting Man – Real men are character centered. That is, real men realize that their biggest fight is within, shaping their own character. Character matters and we need to fight to shape ours and keep it strong.
11. Get What You Want: The Heroic Man – Every man wants to be a hero. In order to become a hero every man needs a hero. Jesus is the ultimate hero. He alone fulfills every quality mentioned in this book perfectly.
12. Living As the Forgiven Man – Real men love Jesus and experience his forgiveness. In turn, they learn to offer forgiveness to others. They learn to be part of heart church and to serve. Real men learn to find their identity in Christ.
Men need to read this book. Women should give this book to their men. I don’t think men to form study groups to discuss it or anything like that, but they should read it and begin putting it into practice one step at a time. However, men who have chosen celibacy (or for whom life has chosen celibacy on their behalf) may be put off by chapters 6 and 7. I think Patrick could have developed these chapters a bit more to include the single and/or childless. He was on the right track with pointing men to fidelity and dependability.
Other than what I noted above, the book does a good job of keeping things real and applicable. I can’t really envision how I would change the book, except perhaps to include a chapter on how men resolve conflict.
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