“The most important thing any society can accomplish is to build good men.”
So spoke radio commentator, Dennis Prager, the day after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. My first reaction was to question his opinion. Though I believe deeply in the value of men and their impact in society, I react instinctively against viewpoints that seem to elevate the innate value of one gender over another. I don’t believe God does; neither should we.
And then I realized, Prager is right. He is not talking about value; he’s talking about consequences. In fact, my gut, my experience and my own writing make the same case. Men matter precisely because the consequences of the character choices they make differ so significantly. Good men bring generational blessing to families and society; wicked men bring multiplied destruction.
Women are so rarely the perpetrators of multiple crimes or violence, the exceptions over the past 5 decades stand out to us: Lynnette Squeaky Fromme (attempted to assassinate President Ford in 1975) and Aileen Wuornos (a prostitute who killed seven of her customers, 1989-90). That’s about it. They are the rare exceptions. Women far more often seem to intuitively direct their fiercest energy toward the defense, protection, provision and the security of those around them.
Fiercely violent and destructive men? The list is horrifically long.
In two previous blog posts, Why Men Matter, Part I and Why Men Matter, Part II, I mention the out-size impact men make for good or bad. As we begin a new year I’m compelled to remind us men that the stakes of our choices in life are high. It’s why you matter so much. God designed men for deep impact. Our decisions determine whether that impact sows destruction or blessing in the lives of others.
Given what the Unites States has recently experienced, and considering it is the beginning of a new year full of new choices and commitments, I urge us to gladly take responsibility for the legacy we pass on to others. I pray fervently that 2013 is a year in which all of us resolve to be even better men, and commit ourselves to helping build good men around us.
Because men matter.
My greatest joy in life is my family. I know, that sounds like the comment you’re supposed to make as a man and father. All I can say is I literally shake my head in wonder at the family I have: my wife Beryl; my daughter Barclay and son-in-law Vince, their four daughters, Bella, Brynn, Brooke and Blake; my son Alec, my son Conor and daughter-in-law Bonnie, their daughter Gemma and son Calvin. Every one of them is a genuine gift. Beyond that, I have a calling that I live out through Peregrine Ministries. It is to help men: Understand their identity in Christ, Embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. Bottom line is I’m convinced men matter and I want to help them live life on purpose.