The Greatest Poem of All Time on Manhood, and the Power of Family

“Family is not in the way, it is the way,” is the sage advice of the father to his 40-year-old son, David Smallbone, in the movie Unsung Hero. Suffice to say, the son is struggling in life, both on the inside and on the outside, as we all sometimes do.

Henry Thoreau was right to say, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” The desperation comes to us in the tides and the vicissitudes of life. Unsung Hero is a movie about a man finding himself by loving others in a greater way than himself. Specifically, his family.

Many men don’t learn the power of this until on their deathbed. By then, it is mostly too late.

I interviewed Dr Bruce Robinson, founder of the Fathering Project. I asked him why he wrote his best-selling fatherhood book titled Fathering from the Fast Lane, from which sprang the Fathering Project.

He told me that his work as a specialist in lung disease meant he was often the person who gave the bad news to a man: “At best, you only have six months to live.” He told me that almost every time he told a man that he had only three to six months to live, this information changed that man’s attitude to his family.

When a man is faced with impending death, he doesn’t think of the time he should have spent at his office desk. Dr Bruce Robinson told me that more often, he thinks with regret, of the time he did not spend with his wife and family. Then he realises the truth of David Smallbone’s father’s words, “Family is not IN the way, it IS the way.”

The Unsung Hero movie is a true story about a courageous Australian father who eventually found the courage to love unconditionally. That is why I want to encourage you, one more time, to go and see it. You will never regret the experience.

On another note, Dads4Kids’ End-of-Financial-Year June fundraiser ‘Help the Children Appeal’ has started. I should be asking you for a tax-deductible donation of $20 (the average cost of a movie ticket). I might be crazy, but I would prefer you to invest the $20 in your own fathering development for the sake of your children and go and see Unsung Hero. The beauty of this movie is that you can take your family with you, literally.

In the movie, David’s dad says, “Family is not in the way, it is the way.” He refers to the poem If by Rudyard Kipling, which is included in many lists of the top poems of all time. On the greatest poems website, it is number one!

Read the poem below, or listen to Sir Michael Caine’s rendition of Rudyard’s Kipling poem in the video below:


By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


Read If to your children if they are old enough to comprehend it. Read it to them anyway, even if they cannot, as you need to hear yourself saying these words.

Watch the trailer for Unsung Hero in the movie theatres now. If you haven’t already, also watch my interview with David Smallbone, the father portrayed in the Unsung Hero movie, a true story for so many of us. Find a theatre screening of Unsung Hero near you here.

Yours for Happy Families,
Warwick Marsh

PS: This week, we begin our Dads4Kids End-of-Year Help the Children June Appeal. If you are strapped for cash, buy a ticket to the movie first. We all need inspiration to become the father our children deserve. This is number one! Then again, you might want to help the children of Australia and reduce your tax bill at the same time. Donate here.

By |2024-06-01T17:35:10+10:00June 3rd, 2024|Children, Dads, Families, Manhood|0 Comments

About the Author:

Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker.

Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”

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