by Frank Muller
It is a strongly held view of mine that the archetype of a “man” has been distorted greatly and the impact on women, children, institutions both civil and academic, and happiness in general has been the consequence.
Men are called to two vocations in life: those being Marriage and Fatherhood. These vocations have both temporal and spiritual dimensions. All the virtues of true manhood are the result of performing these two vocations very, very well.
That is, we become strong in order to defend and protect. Men become productive in order to provide and nourish. We are become virtuous through sacrifice and denial of our lower base instincts. We apply discipline and excellence in all things in order to advance the good in every aspect of life.
You see, when we set the object of our intentions to its’ proper ends (that is finding our purpose as men which is marriage and fatherhood) then we are rightly ordered. Instead, sadly we now orient our young boys to the means as ends.
The purpose of education is to get a high paying job. The purpose of work is accumulated possessions and holidays and financial independence. The purpose of strength is to win and dominate and not protect and serve. The purpose of the spoken word is now to get along, not to proclaim Truth.
Like any vocations of such great magnitude, we must be well formed and that means the example of what a man should be needs be demonstrated by a father of young men. Rightly ordering men to their created purpose begins to rightly order the “why” behind what we are asked to do. When we know the purpose of our existence, then our training and preparation make sense.
Let us turn to a notable American and despite his personal failings (as we all have) we see a man that regardless of the situation took action. He became a man profoundly loved and admired and the source of his relentless drive was none other than his father.
Theodore Roosevelt Jr “Teddy” was a man of boundless energy and raw determination.
Blessed and cursed he rose above both to live a life that is truly remarkable and breathtaking in its’ scope and power. What is often lost though in the understanding of Teddy was the massive role Theodore Roosevelt Sr had on his son and the people he interacted with.
Not to diminish Teddy’s remarkable life but I think a careful reading of this biography may more importantly leave us even more impressed with that father.
Mr. McCullough, the author, has written a well-researched and beautiful story of a Father and Son and how the two are inseparably related. This book reveals an archetype in the father that the son relentlessly sought to imitate. Further, Teddy’s life is one of brilliant success and devastating losses.
Like a prodigal son, Teddy retreats to the American West to find himself again and returns a force of nature that never relented until his death.
I suggest this book as a challenge to all of us men to reexamine the example we set for our wives and children and recognize the impact we can have for good or for ill.
Facing adversity squarely on, dealing with setbacks no matter how devastating, perseverance no matter the obstacles, pursuing healthy passions and strenuously living each day are just a number of the traits this great American patriot embodied.
May the example of Theodore Roosevelt Sr be an inspiration for Dad’s to consider as they look at the bright young eyes of their sons and imagine what might be. Consider ordering our own lives to Marriage and Fatherhood. Inspire other men to rightly order what we do in alignment to why we do it.
When we do so, our communities will begin to prosper and our women and children will see shining examples of what was lost, yet now is found again.
May peace be with us all.