Manvotionals is the title of a book that grips you right away if your passion is to be a good father and husband. Every man knows that to be a good father you must first become a good man. Manhood matters, but herein lies the challenge. That is where Brett and Kate McKay’s book Manvotionals comes into the picture. My wife got it for me for my birthday and I read it over the Christmas holidays.
Brett and Kate McKay have a fascinating approach to manhood. Rather than try to understand manhood through the jaded eyes of comparatively anti-male modern cultural prism they gather the wisdom of the ages. One moment you are reading a quote from one of the Greek poets from 400 BC on manhood. Next it is Marcus Aurelius from Rome or George Washington musing on manhood. Here are some examples:
“For the man who makes everything that leads to happiness, or near to it, to depend upon himself, and not upon other men … has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation; this is the man of manly character and of wisdom.” –Plato
“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.” –Marcus Aurelius
“Manhood is the defeat of childhood narcissism.” –David Gilmore
“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” –George Washington
Manvotionals is like no other book that I have read. It is a refreshing tonic in the modern bland landscape of 21st century manhood and a clarion call, all at the same time. It looks like the wakeup call to manhood is not necessarily a new thing. Even the roman philosopher and emperor Marcus Aurelius in 161AD had trouble getting out of bed, “If unwilling to rise in the morning, say to thyself, ‘I awake to do the work of a man.’”
This quote is very comforting to a man like me. I have the same argument with myself every morning. As King Solomon said in 950BC, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
This quote from the website about Manvotionals gives you perhaps a more accurate picture of the book than my own ramblings.
“For centuries, being a man meant living a life of virtue and excellence. But then, through time, the art of manliness was lost.
Now, after decades of excess and aimless drift, men are looking for something to help them live an authentic, manly life—a primer that can give their life real direction and purpose.
This book holds the answers. To master the art of manliness, a man must live the seven manly virtues: Manliness, Courage, Industry, Resolution, Self-Reliance, Discipline, Honour.
Each chapter covers one of the seven virtues and is packed with the best classic advice ever written down for men. From the philosophy of Aristotle to the speeches and essays of Theodore Roosevelt, these pages contain the manly wisdom of the ages—poems, quotes, and essays that will inspire you to live life to the fullest and realize your complete potential.
Learn the art. Change your life. Become a man.”
What is perhaps even more interesting than the book is the story behind the book. Quoting from their website. “Brett and Kate McKay are the married team behind the popular website, artofmanliness.com. Started in 2008, The Art of Manliness was designed to fill a niche in the men’s media market–a totally different kind of magazine for men. Instead of constantly regurgitating articles on six pack abs, boobs, and cars, The Art of Manliness focuses on reviving the lost art of manliness. We look to the past to find the best traditional manliness has to offer while leaving behind the mistakes of yesteryear. We aim to teach the skills and virtues that turn boys into men of substance and character.
The message of the Art of Manliness has deeply resonated with today’s men, catapulting the site to popularity. In just three years the site has grown to nearly 3 million visitors a month, over 4 million page views a month, and over 100,000 daily subscribers. In addition, the Art of Manliness has a thriving online social network called the Art of Manliness Community. With nearly 18,000 registered members and over 4,000 forum topics, we’ve developed a community of men (and some women) who have a passion for reviving the lost art of manliness.
In 2009, the McKay’s published their first book The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man.
Personally I feel a certain kinship with Brett and Kate McKay in their clarion call for modern manhood. My wife Alison and I work as a team to send out the call for a revival in fatherhood. We know some of the challenges they face. Their whole approach to encouraging manhood is inspirational and I encourage you to buy the book.
Next time you have trouble getting out of bed just quote Marcus Aurelius, “I awake to do the work of a man.” Once out of bed you will know that manhood matters.