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Wild at Heart

Every year the team at Dads4Kids takes a bunch of dads and their children on our annual Dads4Kids Fun Camp. This yearly adventure is also part of our local Good to Great Fathering Course. You don’t have to do a Dad’s Course to come on the Dads4Kids Fun Camp, but it does help. We started going to a wild and rugged part of Australia, called the Wollondilly River Station, in 2004. It became a bit too wild for some and we succumbed to the pressure of mothers objecting to not having mobile connection to their children over the weekend. We ended up camping at a caravan park in Kangaroo Valley, which was certainly comfortable, but definitely not wild.

Sadly, some of the Dads, including my weak-kneed self, did not like the idea of no showers and running water out of the tap but I have good news for one and all. We/I broke the bounds of comfort and predictability and we launched back out to the wilds of the Wollondilly River in 2017. Much to our surprise, our children/grandchildren enjoyed every minute of the journey in more ways than one. Dads and kids love the wilds of the outdoors in the updated version of the Dads4Kids Fun Camp. Dads and kids love adventure. See this video to get the full picture.

The dads give their perspective here and the children give their highlights here. It is very hard to argue with a child who says “hanging out with Dad was cool”. One day, when they reach their teenage years it might not be so ‘cool’. All the more reason to grab the moments to hang out with your children while they are happy to say those words.

John Eldredge in his breakthrough book called ‘Wild at Heart’ argues that every man loves the ‘wilderness’ and yearns deep in his soul for the outdoors with all its dangers, risks, and physical challenges. Adam, says Eldredge, “was created outside the Garden, in the wilderness. . . . Man was born in the outback, from the untamed part of creation. Only afterward is he brought to Eden. And ever since then boys have never been at home indoors, and men have had an insatiable longing to explore…”

Eldredge’s description of true masculinity is both inspiring and very counter cultural: “Adventure, with all its requisite danger and wildness, is a deeply spiritual longing written into the soul of man. The masculine heart needs a place where nothing is prefabricated, modular, nonfat, zip lock, franchised, on-line, microwavable. Where there are no deadlines, cell phones, or committee meetings. Where there is room for the soul. Where, finally, the geography around us corresponds to the geography of our heart”.

John Eldredge’s book, first released in 2001, has now sold approximately 5 million copies which for a book on manhood is without precedent and shows that it has struck a deep nerve in the masculine soul. ‘Wild at Heart’ is still the most popular book on manhood and male spirituality on Amazon today.

John Smith in his Book Review of the updated and revised “Wild at Heart” gives us an insight into John Eldredge’s  vision of modern day manhood.  “In his book “Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul”, Eldredge provides us with a deceptively simple concept:  Men and women are different.

He then further turns things on their end with the idea that being a “good Christian man” is not about pancake dinners, working at the church, and simply cherishing and loving our families.  Oh no, he paints a picture of a fierce warrior who goes beyond his comfort zone, away from what he can control, and who fights for what is right.

In “Wild at Heart”, men have a desire for three things:

A Battle to Fight: Men want to fiercely struggle for worthy goals against high odds.  At heart, boys and men are warriors.

An Adventure to Live: A true adventure requires us to put ourselves “on the line” to prove our worthiness – this is not about ultimate sports and fun-seeking.

A Beauty to Rescue: Women provide the inspiration for our heroics and our adventuring.  They are the reason we fight the good fight.

Women, by the way, also want three things in what Eldredge calls their “feminine heart”:  To be fought for (to be wanted), to share an adventure, and to have a beauty to unveil. These are not as sexist as they sound.

This book explains a lot about how modern man and woman both struggle in roles and with expectations that they should not. “Wild at Heart” is not about stereotypes, this book is about rediscovering passion:  for each other and for life…

When the author explains the idea behind the phrase “wild at heart”, he strikes a resonant chord with me and I suspect with many other men.  The basic concept is that our ideal is not to be the “nice guy”, as many religions and congregations would have us think.  Nothing wrong with helping others, being polite, doing those things that have come to typify modern Christian men, but Eldredge makes a convincing case for the idea that this is not how Jesus was and it is not how God wants us to act.

He awakens our dreams of being the brave warrior who plunges into battle and fiercely fights for those ideals which are important and those people who need help…

This is a revised and expanded version of Eldredge’s original work and it shows.  The thinking appears richer and the examples are more modern.  The concepts travel well over a decade and, if anything, seem more useful now than before.

Lovework

Watch the video of what children think about hanging out with their dad. Then ask them to watch it with you and ask them what they think.

Then plan an outdoor adventure. For starters you could camp out in your backyard under the stars together and then work up to the full wilderness trek when the weather is warmer. Whatever you do, grab such moments with your children. You will never regret doing so.Yours for more time with our children

Warwick Marsh

PS: Next Sunday, 19 November 2017 is International Men’s Day. I encourage you to buy a copy of the Red Pill and watch it with some friends to celebrate the day. (Some special discounts for International Men’s Day) See my must most recent promo here.

Men do have issues and those issues need to be addressed. At the very least, let’s get together with some friends for a barbecue or for breakfast.  As Robert Louis  Stevenson said, “The friendless owner of the world is poor.”

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