Perhaps you saw my comment last week on the Men Matter Facebook site in which I quoted radio commentator, Dennis Prager, who said, in reference to the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School: “The most important thing any society can accomplish is to build good men.”
Since then I notice a predictable extreme of opinions as to the solutions to these kinds of shootings in the US: those who believe eliminating firearms will solve these problems, and those who believe providing more firearms will solve these problems. Either choice might result in some benefit for one reason or another, but neither gets to the core of the problem. The core goes to the hearts of young men who long for significance and respect, but get rejection and complete meaninglessness.
On their journey to healthy manhood they experience a fatal failure to launch. The resulting crash takes increasing numbers of victims with them.
They demonstrate the truth of the African proverb, “The boys of the village must be initiated or they will burn down the village just to feel the heat.”
An article in USA Today expresses the same conviction: Guns don’t kill people— our sons do. Please take the time to read it.
Our hearts are torn apart when we see these kinds of crimes committed against innocent people by broken young men with nothing else to live for. Wiser, and more effectively applied, laws about the availability and use of firearms may help. Better care for, and protection from, those who have mental illnesses would no doubt have some positive benefit. But in the end, these tragedies are about the spiritual lostness of young men in American society.
The only genuine solution is to provide young men with a deep, lasting conviction that because God designed them on purpose, and with purpose, they have value that goes beyond destruction of others and themselves. Their lives can bring safety, encouragement and blessing to others, rather than mutual destruction.
It’s why we at Peregrine Ministries offer teenage boys and their fathers a spiritual initiation experience called Passage to Manhood. And it’s why we tell every male we can: “You matter, because you matter to God.”
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.