As the father to six men “under construction,” this question is perpetually at the forefront of my mind.
Innately, boys (even in today’s “politically correct” world) yearn to be men – tough, capable, independent and seemingly larger than life – like Davy Crockett. They aspire to the selfless heroism contained in the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, thrive on challenge, crave good order and discipline (albeit, oft-times unknowingly), hunger for a father’s (or male mentor’s) approval and learn by example.
And to reach his goal, each boy must navigate a tumultuous journey – from a youth wonderfully preoccupied with insects, wrestling and superheroes to a principled man of God ready to face whatever comes his way. He must acquire physical, mental and spiritual toughness. The strength to stand and the humility to kneel. The courage to be different when it's uncomfortable or painful or lonely. The bold confidence and physical stamina of a warrior, and the protector’s chivalrous acceptance of responsibility. The self-reliance and situational adaptability associated with the survival mindset, outdoor skills and tradecraft accomplishment.
As parents, the demanding and fluid nature of guiding our sons through this journey of development and self-discovery can be intimidating. After all, we’re not raising boys – we’re raising men who are prepared in mind, body and soul to face whatever this world holds in store for them as they strive for Heaven.
To that end, my wife and I endeavor under a simple philosophy: “Treat a man like a boy and he will remain one; treat a boy like a man and he will become one.” Every interaction we have with our sons, and boys in general, has the potential to influence them positively or negatively – to keep them on the path to righteous, capable manhood or set the stage for them to potentially veer into confusion, compromise and chaos; to affirm the validity and worthiness of their undertakings or crush their spirit and desire.
The American Rangers provides a supplementary venue for that interaction, reinforcement and development – a new kind of ministry grounded in Catholic tenets, rigorous in its defense and encouragement of real boyhood, and focused on developing principled, rugged men of God. Fathers and male mentors learning, and growing personally, and working with boys, training them, setting the example with a loving, yet firm conviction that inspires, encourages and enables our boys to grow in mind, body and soul – to be ready for manhood!
My hope is that after browsing these pages, you’ll be inspired to join us, through participation or support, in the journey.
“I Will Be Ready!”
Founder and Director