Wild At Heart by John Eldredge

I recently read Wild at Heart by John Eldredge . Originally I had passed over this book when I spotted it at a used book store because it is written for and about men but then I read a this blog post, a list of books the blog writer plans to read. She had listed Wild At Heart as one she plans to read this year with the reasoning that it could help her to better understand her husband and to be a better mother to her two boys. As a wife and boy mom myself, I  thought this was a great reason to read this book so the next time I saw it in the used book store, I picked it up.

Here is a short description of the book....
Every man was once a boy. And every little boy dreams big dreams. But what happens to those dreams when they grow up? In Wild At Heart, John Eldredge invites men to recover their masculine heart, defined in the image of a passionate God. And he invites women to discover the secret of a man's should and to delight in the strength and wildness men were created to offer. 

After finishing this book, I do feel that I have learned a few things that will help me to understand Matt and our boys a little better. I have also recommended the book to Matt as I think he will find it interesting as well.

The main thing that this book teaches the reader is that all men have been wounded at some point in their life and usually this wound was inflicted by their father. Typically the wound is not physical but emotional and can be subtle enough that most men don't realize they carry it until much later in life.

This wound causes men to question their own manhood. Many men create a false self to present to the world which demonstrates to everyone else what a real man they are while inside they constantly question themselves.

All men seek the answer to the question of whether or not they are man enough but most seek the answer in all the wrong places. Since manhood can only be given to a man by another man, the lack of a strong male influence in a boy's life or harsh criticism from their father can create a big hole in a boys life that only continues to grow as they reach adulthood.

This aspect of boyhood and manhood highlights the huge importance a father plays in the life of their sons. It also explains why so many boys who grow up without fathers seem so lost later in life.  Good mothers are wonderful but they cannot replace a father figure or strong male role model in the life of a boy or young man.

In addition to the answer to the question of their manhood, men need three things in life.

  1. A battle to fight
  2. A beauty to rescue
  3. An adventure to live
These needs probably explain why fighting style video games, action movies and even epic fantasy novels are so popular among men and boys. 

Reading Wild At Heart, helped me to see and understand these things about how men and boys are wired but gave very little in the way of actionable steps to actually be a helpful influence toward Matt or our boys. Perhaps all I can do is encourage them along the way and be a supportive wife and mother. 

All in all, it was a good read. I enjoy reading books that provide insight into the male mind as I hope these insights can help strengthen our marriage and my bond with Davis and Tyrion as they grow up. 

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