Stepping Up: A Call To Courageous Manhood by Dennis Rainey
Stepping Up by Dennis Rainey is an engaging book that will aid fathers of pre-teen boys in successfully launching their kids into adulthood. The author describes the five stages of a man’s journey as boyhood, adolescence, manhood, mentor and patriarch, and relays some formative moments and guidelines for each of those stages. This book is touted as a book for all men, but I found that the vast majority of it was aimed towards fathers of young children, with a little bit at the end targeting the legacy that older men leave.
I’ve read a few books recently that were very motivating and stimulating, including Radical by David Platt and The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn, and I also recently saw the movie Courageous: Honor Begins at Home. Perhaps I’m spoiled now, or just didn’t think about the book enough as I was reading it, but it’s not a book I want to pick back up again and highlight as with the other 2 books mentioned above. While factual and accurate, I didn’t find the book as motivating as I anticipated. The most intriguing portions of the book were the quotes from other people at the beginning of each chapter.
This retrospective look at life through the eyes of Dennis Rainey is enlightening and challenging with respect to raising up children. One formative experience the author relays occurred at the age of 12 when his father said:
“That boy one day is going to be somebody’s husband and somebody’s father. There are going to be people depending on him. He has got to learn how to do what he has to do and not what he wants to do.”
This was revealed as the true beginning of maturing into manhood despite not really understanding what happened until later in life. Similar anecdotes are presented throughout the book as the author encourages fathers towards courageous manhood with quotes like this:
Male passivity is a disease that robs a man of his purpose while it destroys marriages, ruins families, and spoils legacies. A passive man doesn’t engage; he retreats. He neglects personal responsibility. At its core, passivity is cowardice.
He goes on to say:
Teenage boys want desperately to become men. But without training and guidance from an adult male, they will most likely take their cues on manhood from their peers and the culture. They will try to prove their manhood by indulging their lusts and fulfilling their desires. They will avoid taking responsibility and will avoid commitment in their relationships. They will make foolish choices. Given the opportunity to go their own way, they will remain in adolescence. And they will stay there as long as they can.
Doesn’t that sound like what’s going on in today’s world? The author has obvious knowledge and understanding about the minds of our children that he shares in this book. Overall, this message is one that more young fathers need to hear and adopt in order to preserve the Biblical values and morals of previous generations.