The American Boy by Theodore Roosevelt (and the Art of Manliness)

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DeM Banter: The Art of Manliness, a stellar blog that has grown into books, a storefront and beyond. I started reading the blog years ago….and introduced Luke to it. As the years go on, Luke asked me if I had continued to read….and I had to admit it slipped from my “crosscheck.” Well, it’s back… I know many folks shirk or smirk when they here the word manliness, but it really could not be more important. The definition of manliness, like that of the ancients, is simple: striving for virtue, honor, and excellence in all areas of your life, fulfilling your potential as a man, and being the absolute best brother, friend, husband, father and citizen you can be….make me very happy to know my boys are reading and heeding the blog… of course I do my best to mirror the values as well.

Below is an excellent example of a piece from one of their books… and who would argue that T-Rex is not a manly man…

FROM THE STRENUOUS LIFE: ESSAYS AND ADDRESSES, 1900

Of course what we have a right to expect of the American boy is that he shall turn out to be a good American man. Now, the chances are strong that he won’t be much of a man unless he is a good deal of a boy. He must not be a coward or a weakling, a bully, a shirk, or a prig. He must work hard and play hard. He must be clean-minded and clean-lived, and able to hold his own under all circumstances and against all comers. It is only on these conditions that he will grow into the kind of American man of whom America can be really proud.

The boy can best become a good man by being a good boy—not a goody-goody boy, but just a plain good boy. I do not mean that he must love only the negative virtues; I mean he must love the positive virtues also. “Good,” in the largest sense, should include whatever is fine, straightforward, clean, brave, and manly. The best boys I know—the best men I know—are good at their studies or their business, fearless and stalwart, hated and feared by all that is wicked and depraved, incapable of submitting to wrong-doing, and equally incapable of being aught but tender to the weak and helpless. A healthy-minded boy should feel hearty contempt for the coward, and even more hearty indignation for the boy who bullies girls or small boys, or tortures animals. One prime reason for abhorring cowards is because every good boy should have it in him to thrash the objectionable boy as the need arises.

Of course the effect that a thoroughly manly, thoroughly straight and upright boy can have upon the companions of his own age, and upon those who are younger, is incalculable. If he is not thoroughly manly, then they will not respect him, and his good qualities will count for but little; while, of course, if he is mean, cruel, or wicked, then his physical strength and force of mind merely make him so much the more objectionable a member of society. He cannot do good work if he is not strong and does not try with his whole heart and soul to count in any contest; and his strength will be a curse to himself and to every one else if he does not have thorough command over himself and over his own evil passions, and if he does not use his strength on the side of decency, justice, and fair dealing.

In short, in life, as in a football game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard!

Check out this book on the iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=459785720
Excerpt From: Brett McKay & Kate McKay. “The Art of Manliness – Manvotionals.” How Books, 2011. iBooks.

Check out this book on the iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/art-manliness-manvotionals/id459785720?mt=11”

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