Seventeen people are dead after the horrible shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Florida. Now everyone is talking about gun control, mental health, and the power of humanity's unbridled sin nature. And we should be having those discussion. But other people smarter than I am can address those issues. I want to encourage another conversation.
We need to talk about courage.
Reports have now surfaced that the school's resource officer, Scot Peterson, waited outside the building where the carnage was happening. For a full four minutes. He was armed and tasked with the duty of keeping the school safe. Needless to say, he failed in his duty.
None of us can know what we would do in officer Peterson's shoes. We can't know in every situation how we would act when the fight or flight response kicks in. But in this case, the officer had the responsibility of responding with courage and force and he chose four minutes of inactivity.
It reminds me of the scene in Band of Brothers where Lt. Dike freezes up out of fear and has to be relieved by Lt. Speirs. Dike didn't have what it takes. In this moment, Speirs did. (I have included the scene below. Watch at your own discretion. The violence is raw and the language is colorful.)
We need men more like Ronald Speirs.
Among our grandfather's generation, young men were bold and a bit foolhardy. There's a reason that they mainly tasked 19 year old men with little fighting experience to storm the beaches of Normandy. These boys where largely innocent of the horrors of war, but they were also courageous enough to lay down their lives for something bigger than themselves.
Where are young men like these in our culture today? There are some, no doubt. When tragedies like the Florida school shooting occur, we hear of acts of bravery. The 15:17 to Paris movie was inspirational on that front. But sadly, I think there are far too few stories like that one.
We must teach courage as a fundamental part of being a man.
No matter what laws we change or issues we address, evil men in our world will continue to do bad things. When they do, there needs to be those who have the conviction necessary to confront it.
Our boys will not develop integrity and confidence and strength automatically. And no, I am not suggesting that our kids should all take self-defense or firearm training classes. Our kids don't need to learn skills. What they need is a change of heart.
Our boys need to come to value the lives of others far more than their own. When courage is required of them, self-preservation won't be their primary objective.
Our boys need to be taught that showing compassion for the weak and protection for the defenseless is the highest version of manhood.
Our boys need to be taught the long lost art of chivalry. Showing honor and respect to women (including their voice, their body, and their heart), should be second-nature to them.
Our boys need to know that the sexual exploitation of women in any form is intolerable. This includes p@rn, coercion, and all the other behaviors making headlines today. We need to help them to NOT do this stuff and to train them to courageously confront anyone who does.
Our boys need to be taught that their main responsibility in marriage will be to lay down their lives (in a million different ways) for their wives. This takes courage. Everyday.
Our boys need to know that following Jesus isn't about going to Heaven, it's about signing up to die for something greater than themselves.
Our boys need to know that their lives are not their own. They have been bought with a price by Jesus and that His calling on their lives is all that matters.
Our boys need the courage to confront sin in all its forms. When they see someone hurting another person, they should intervene, being willing to stand and fight if necessary. When they see an injustice in our world, they should put their energies towards ending it. When God reveals sin in their own lives, they should fight tenaciously to bring it under submission to the cross. Each of these acts requires courage.
Ultimately, our boys need to know that courage isn't the absence of fear. There will be plenty of moments when they are afraid. Courage is choosing to act and do the right thing, in spite of the fear they experience.
Who is going to teach our boys what it looks like to be courageous men who stand up for what is right, no matter the cost? That job is on us. Maybe it's time to get to work.
Do you want some help?
Teaching your son to be the right kind of man is a challenge in this culture. There's so much working against him. That's why our latest book, The Young Man's Guide to Awesomeness, is the perfect resource.
The book addresses some of the things that we know that teenage guys are struggling with: porn, girls, purity, and meaning. I wanted to write something that would help guys to find a life of purpose that is rooted in Christ.
I also wanted to write something that young men would read. This was challenging. (Most teenage guys don't like to read.) So we prayed and talked about what might work and came up with a combination of short chapters, lots of art, recurring themes, and 25 QR links to video clips to supplement the reading.
Do you want to tee up some conversations about courage and integrity and purity with your son? Put The Young Man's Guide to Awesomeness in his hands and see what happens!