Sunday, August 21, 2011

Everybody Needs a Hero

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Looking for someone to inspire you? In this celebrity obsessed, hero worshiping world of ours, it seems everyone is on the prowl for someone to believe in and look up to. The media offers an unlimited bevy of choices. Gone are the days when the choices were limited to movie, sports, and music stars. Now we can also worship bratty brides, real housewives and their spouses, mouthy 20-somethings who specialize in drinking and carousing, and unwed teen parents.

Increasingly, sociologists tell us that the teens and young adults among us seek fame purely for the sake of being famous. In addition, these media tutored young folks seek fame thru infamy vs attention to and attainment of goals. Sadly, the desire for fame thru infamy is not limited to the young among us. Witness the fallout this week when tragedy struck at home for one of those famous housewives. In no time, the collective media was at work analyzing the situation and wondering whether the stress of the spotlight caused her husband's suicide.

No longer must one study acting, practice long hours on the sporting field, or apply oneself to voice and music lessons to eventually attain fame. Just behave in an outrageous enough way and take your chances on Utube. You might just hit the fame lottery. Pander after the media attention long enough, and you too might earn your spot on a reality show which can then be segued into your 15 minutes of fame. The choices range from those with redeeming social qualities like Biggest Loser to ones that portray the lives of those on the loosing end of the social ladder. For the sake of sanity, I won't give you a never ending list of the latter. I'm sure I don't need to.

Courtesy of Mad Penguin Creative
We live in a world in which morality and ethics are fluid if not  expendable. It is a world in which there are no clear cut boundaries of right and wrong. In this fraidy cat world, a public figure with great power can expect to be taken seriously when he says, “It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is.” If that relativity were not enough, our young men are challenged by peer pressure, fractured marriages, drug addiction, and almost constant exposure to pornography via the media and internet.

Gone are the days when sons could count on Andy Griffith-like dads. Sadly, many fathers are increasingly either absentee and/or deadbeat dads. If they are present, they men are often consumed by video games or other mindless pastimes. If a son is lucky enough to have an engaged father, the poor man may be at the mercy of schedules dictated by corporations which require constant commitment while promising nothing in return. 

To whom do we turn in a social atmosphere like the one we navigate today to inspire our young men toward solid core values, personal accountability, and strong leadership? This week, I shared a link to a book Son #2 and I were reading together and expressed sadness that I wasn't sure if the author had any others on the market. 

Bob Schultz
A blog reader who happens to be a friend as well, wrote to tell me that Bob Schultz does, in fact, have a 4th book. Then, she broke the news that the book is an unfinished manuscript. Because of the public outcry for more of his guiding words, his publisher has published unfinished book #4 posthumously. Bob Schultz collapsed and died in 2008 shortly after a speaking engagement while the book was a work in progress. In fact, my hero had passed away before I even knew of him.

I cannot type those words without sobbing. I am simply beyond heartbroken that I lost a friend I never knew. I am even sadder that my sons lost him too. He was my hero. The world is a sadder, lonelier place in his absence. In my grief, I wonder why God chose to call him home at a time when he was not finished sharing his homespun, gentle, Godly wisdom with a hurting, increasingly lost, generation of young men and fathers.

His life did not lend itself to media hero worship, but those of us who stumbled across his books spread the word often and with devotion. And so, today, as I grieve over the death of a man who has already been gone many months, I share the news with you. I do so in hopes that my commendation will bring hope and direction to a generation of young men who are trying to find their footing in this fraidy cat world.

If you are a wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, wife, teacher, father, brother uncle, grandfather, employer, or friend of a young man ages 12-16, run - do not walk - to make the acquaintance of Bob Schultz. If you know young parents who are expecting or have just had sons, slip the book into shower gifts and Christmas presents. It will be a gift that will keep on giving thru the life of that child. 

Set about to share Bob's wisdom with the young men in your lives. Voices like his have literally been drowned out by the insane cacophony of the voices in popular mass media. One only has to read the paper or watch the news to know we are on the losing end of that equation. Everybody needs a hero. Today, it was my honor and my privilege to introduce you to mine.

Godspeed, Bob Schultz. Gone too soon but forever remembered and revered for what you gave while you walked the path God set before you. You did so with dignity, honor, and integrity. Your legacy lives on, and I can only hope that when those who live on beyond me hear my echo, they will find me as worthy and as honorable as I find you. 

2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.


  1. What about a brother who is 31 but acts like he's 12-16?? :-)

  2. Thank you for introducing me to a hero. I'll be sure to seek out his work for my teenage grandson.

  3. Jessica, not sure if your Q is rhetorical or not? If your brother will read, he might enjoy Practical Happiness. Bob's writing style was so basic that even if someone is a reluctant reader, his books are easy to digest. I haven't read the one published posthumously, but I have an idea that Everyday Battles might be even more appropriate for him. I'd suggest you get both of them and take a look. If you think your brother would pass, you can always tuck them away as gifts!

  4. Vonda, you are most welcome. It is my absolute privilege to let folks know about these resources. I have found these books most effective if I and/or Jeff read them with our boys as family devotional or read alouds because of the wealth of discussion they trigger. I continued that pattern even when our oldest was 17 or so just for the discussions we could have re the topics presented.

  5. Jessica - you've asked the right person about brothers - she has one who's 60 going on .. well .. I'll let her take it from here.