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  • Writer's pictureIsaac Rudolph

The Wild Heart of a Boy

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Jacob (right) and I on a family camping trip many years ago.

There is an anti-man movement going on in culture today. Many describe manly traits as toxic. Boys are told that ruggedness and masculinity are things to be ashamed of and corrected. Indeed, it would be foolish to pretend that when corralled incorrectly the wild heart of a boy can turn into a limitless number of problems when he becomes a man. But when that wild heart is corralled properly, that boy can become a man that exemplifies true character and strength, becoming a man who balances his natural protective aggression with tenderness. Theodore Roosevelt stated it well when he said:

“...boys, I want to see you brave and manly, and I also want to see you gentle and tender.”

Roosevelt understood that there is meant to be a balance. It is true that boys and men were never meant to be these stereotypical, rugged, rough, combative figures alone. But we cannot claim these things are toxic and throw them out. It’s all about balance, and in the proper context, and when cultivated correctly, are the markings of a truly manly man. And that starts when that man is a boy, and is learning these traits in his play. When he’s building a fort, when he’s making wooden swords and dueling his friends, when they have to make peace when they get carried away and things get too rough, he's learning how to be a good man. He is learning teamwork, diplomacy among peers and how to be competitive.

This photograph is of my father fending off the horde of well-armed neighborhood boys with a shovel. Jacob is in the red cape.

So enough of this mindset that masculine traits are inherently “toxic.” It's about balance and how to cultivate manly traits. Men were created by God to be strong, protective and ambitious. Boys will become these types of men when they are guided to embrace and corral these natural traits. Men are under siege, and the fight begins with you, young men. Do not let anyone shame you for who and what you are. You were meant to be wild. You were meant to grow into warriors. True masculinity is worth preserving and fighting for. Do not let it be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness, it is far too important.

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