I read an article about John Croyle, who played for “Bear” Bryant at Alabama and became an All-American defensive end. He has written a book entitled, “The Two-Minute Drill to Manhood: A Proven Game Plan for Raising Sons.” He has worked for years with abused, neglected and abandoned boys at his Big Oak Ranch. The lessons he has learned working with hurting boys is the foundation for his book on parenting. “We are rising a generation of boys who don’t know what real manhood looks like,” Croyle observes. “Our girls have no idea what to look for in a husband.” He wants to change these perceptions.
He himself had to ask the question,” What do you want to teach your son about manhood?” The result were a set of seven life principles based on the acrostic M-A-N-H-O-O-D, which stands for “Master, Ask and Listen, Never Compromise, Handle Responsibility, One Purpose, One Body, Don’t Ever, Ever, Ever Give Up.” Croyle, as a former football player, visualizes parenting as a two minute drill, with time winding down on our time to parent our children. Croyle expressed confidence in his parenting experience as summed up in the Two Minute Drill. “If you apply the seven aspects from this book, you will raise a thoroughbred.” “Twenty years from now,” Croyle said, “I want young men to come up to me and say, ‘Thanks, my dad read your book and it changed our relationship and helped to make me who I am today.””
I want to make two comments about the article. The first is about boys not knowing what real manhood looks like. Like many of you, I enjoy watching football on TV. It seems each years the depiction of men become even more uncouth, demeaning and just plain silly. I watch the ads for the sit-coms about men, wondering what are boys really learning about grown men acting so irresponsibly, while being laughed at. And the ads – they make men seem like men who have not grown up, especially in those beer ads. We are fighting a perception of manhood, based on cultural norm that has little regard for the model of manhood found in scripture. We can only change that one by one, as we go about being a godly father and husband. This will make you truly counterculture in your lifestyle.
Secondly, the idea that time is running out. We have only so much time to have a real impact on our sons. We should not take this lightly. “It is never too late to be a great parent,” Croyle suggests. “Unless you or your child is in the grave, you still have time.” I say “amen” to this observation. When we were raising our children, I used to visualize the window of opportunity, which lasted till our child left home. After that our influence would diminish. So men I plead with you not to put off doing what you need to do as a Dad. You still have time to be an influence. As a matter of fact, your example and influence will go on for many years. I find that to be true with all three children in their 40’s. I still cry out for mercy and wisdom on a daily basis to be the dad God wants me to be. It is a challenge. But remember that as we lean into the challenge, God will give you the grace. There is no grace, however, when you “bail-out.” At 72, I do not intend to “bail out.”