Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
Capes and swords, camouflage, bandannas and six-shooters -- these are the uniforms of boyhood. Little boys yearn to know they are powerful, they are dangerous, they are someone to be reckoned with. [ . . . ] Despite what many modern educators would say, this is not a psychological disturbance brought on by violent television or chemical imbalance. Aggression is part of the masculine design, we are hardwired for it. [ . . . ] Life needs a man to be fierce -- and fiercely devoted. The wounds he will take throughout his life will cause him to lose heart if all he has been trained to be is soft.It was the 'adventure to live' part that was in my mind as I let Dandy play on the logs the other day.
Eldridge also speaks to the current trend to ask little boys to become more like little girls. You know, sit still, behave nicely, negotiate pleasantly, etc.
We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise.
We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.
We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful.
A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is . . . A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.The strong one is the one that regularly encounters and shuns temptations. This also applies, I think, to the wise man. I'm hoping that, as I let my little man often encounter and often choose foolish actions, he will learn (eventually) to make wise choices. We call the foolish choices Learning Opportunities. My sister's hubby calls them Self-Correcting Behaviors. This was also on my mind when I let Dandy play on the logs last Friday.
Wild at Heart also included this passage from Chesterton -- in a completely different chapter and not related to the above-mentioned discussion -- that I really liked and I'm including it in this post because I found it so thought-provoking.
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. ‘He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,’ is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like win. ~ G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy