What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him Paperback – Feb 1 2012
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"Boys don't become men when they reach a certain age or accomplish a particular task. Boys become men when they start living out the godly masculine attributes Byron Yawn points us to in this needed book. Fathers who are raising sons to be men will find help here. So will all of us who are still striving to be the men God has made us to be." -Bob Lepine, Co-Host, FamilyLife Today
About the Author
Byron Yawn is the senior pastor of Community Bible Church in Nashville, Tennessee and a much-sought speaker. His book Well-Driven Nails received much positive acclaim from prominent ministers, including John MacArthur and Steven Lawson. Byron has MDiv and DMin degrees from The Master's Seminary, is married to Robin, and has three children.
Top Customer Reviews
Don't let our culture define you...or your son. Instead, pick up this book and learn about what a real man looks like in action, word, and deed, based on the example Jesus gave us.
I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.
Book provided courtesy of the publisher and FIRST Wildcard for the purposes of this unbiased review.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is confounded by the regrettable fact that many churches do not emphasize male leadership and the necessity of training men to be who they are supposed to be. If a new convert (and I was one) lands in a place like this he will spin his tires on the path of male leadership rather than advance.
As a pastor I have met quite a few of both of these types of guys. I rejoice when they come and express a desire to grow. I know it is going to involve some pastoral sweat but the upside is glorious.
In this type of ministry I have often lamented the lack of books that help guys to think and act like a biblical man. In their absence young guys like me roll up our sleeves and get to work, doubtlessly missing more than a few patches of unmowed grass.
This is why I am very excited about this new book: What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him by Byron Yawn is pure gold. Yawn aims to fill that gap. He comes alongside the guy who is has not received the training, the instruction in "Being a Man 101."
The chapters are concise, fast-paced, and theologically rich. Byron teaches you Bible and theology as he teaches biblical masculinity. He is also a terrific writer with a particularly arresting southern style. For example when talking about dealing with an argument with your wife he refers our obsessive stewing over the issue like a kid playing with loose tooth as the icicles on the bannister grow larger. Good pictures.
The tone is necessarily strong but not lacking in compassion. Byron talks directly to men, dads, young men and boys. He is firm but loving. Some may have their feelings hurt (which itself becomes a lesson in the book). There is straight talk about male leadership, sex-talk with kids, pornography, service in the church, saying you're sorry, and the need to be growing in grace. Along these lines it is helpful to note that the author is extremely transparent about his own life as a young man, an adult, a husband, and a dad. Even the toughest of guys will be moved emotionally when he writes about his adoptive father's death and all that he meant to him. All of this to say it is a great balance; the same hand that (lovingly) punches you in the gut comes around the shoulder for encouragement.
The book is also filled with humor. Byron compiles a list of `man laws' throughout. You may disagree with some of them but that is not the point. They are funny and intended to make you think twice about trotting in public or sharing an umbrella with another dude.
On a personal note, Byron is a friend. I know that what he writes is what he lives and what his greatest burdens are. If someone should write a book like this it should be Byron. This is a book that I can see myself giving away for years to come. It is also a book that I will repeatedly come back to myself for instruction and reminders. It is early in the year but I can all but guarantee that What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him will be in my top 5 books for 2012. It is that helpful and good.
It seems notable that I am writing this review on the occasion of my son's twelfth birthday. It is probable that he is already more than half way to striking out on his own, to marrying, to beginning a family. I've already used up half of my opportunities to teach him what a father ought to teach his son. This is the kind of thought that can very nearly move me to tears; rarely do I feel less up to the task and more dependent on grace than in fatherhood. In that regard this book was both a challenge and a comfort.
What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him is a book of essays more than it is a book that flows easily and logically from the first chapter to the last; the topics are much like the lessons a father will teach his son in that they meander a little bit, wandering from being a son to being a father and a man and a husband. They extend from biblical manhood to sincerity to pornography to having "the talk" with your son, to integrity. Each one is punctuated by wisdom that is sometimes biblical and sometimes, well, just plain practical (At least to my recollection the Bible doesn't comment on why you don't want to cut into a steak to see if it's ready to eat). These are not lessons for me to teach my son; not first and foremost. These are first lessons I need to learn and apply to my own life. There is a proper order to these things.
The book offers value in its big picture and it offers value in individual sentences or paragraphs. Some of the best of what Yawn teaches (Go ahead and make fun of his last name--it's all been said before!) comes in the form of pithy quotes and helpful little phrases.
What the church needs are warriors of the gospel of Jesus Christ, not boys trapped in men's bodies. Gospel ministry on the local church level begins with men. No pastor is truly leading if he is not raising them up.
You never move beyond the gospel to a more sophisticated or timely wisdom. There is no more intricate or relevant wisdom than the cross. God has nothing more to offer.
That image of Jesus, the maker of heaven and earth, on His knees like a commonplace servant washing the disciples' feet is the most complete image of manhood known to us.
This is a serious gut check. We have to ask ourselves whether or not our desire for change in our spouse is ultimately motivated by a desire for personal happiness or for God's glory.
We have to love Christ more than we love our spouse to actually love our spouse as we should.
The cross simultaneously declares two indispensable realities. First, it proclaims the unbelievable news about the grace of God. God loves sinners and sent His Son to redeem them. It is unconditional and radical love on display. Every time we behold it we rejoice. Second, the cross communicates the most brutal assessment of man's condition we will ever face. We're worse than we let on. We'll never be as honest about ourselves as the cross is.
And so on.
The book levels a challenge at me, a challenge to be a better man, which is to say a man who follows the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. It levels a particular challenge as I consider that these are the kinds of lessons I want to convey to my son. Thankfully the book also brings me comfort that the Lord is stronger than I am and that he can fill up what is lacking in me. Even the best of fathers will do an incomplete job, for such is fatherhood in a sinful, distracting, distracted world. Even the best of fathers will end their days with some regret, sorry for all they didn't teach their sons and all they didn't accomplish.
What this book offers is interesting, helpful, mature reflections on what it means to be a man, to be a husband, to be a father. These are the little pearls of wisdom that too few men bequeath to their sons. This is manhood at its best, not some pathetic Eldredge-like counterfeit, but manhood grounded in the gospel and reflecting Jesus Christ.
Listen: this book is great for fathers with sons but it is also great for sons of all ages. Whether you had/have a great dad or never met him this book is a must read.
He does away with the false ideal of manhood, that being a man is to be Gladiator, or for Byron, Jason Bourne. A true man dies to himself a learns to appreciate his wife and kids. A true man quits using excuses of his "daddy scars." A true man writes his funeral eulogy by his life.
Finally, someone who really gets it!
Path: Yawn walks through crucial applications of the Gospel in the life of a young man, and any man, who still has breath. To the steady stream of valuable Biblical advice, the author adds humor, stories, illustrations, and plenty of punches to the gut of "self worth." According to the table of contents, he addresses Fatherhood, Grace, Masculinity, Affection, Ambition, Sincerity, Accountability, Confidence, Marriage, Wives, Sin, Sex, Pornography, Eternity, Consistency, Thinking, Work, and Integrity. Those are the themes, but he addresses much more than that.
Sources: He is the biological son of a distant father, the adopted son of a godly man, and the spiritual son of a Heavenly Father. He also has sons of his own.
Agreement: I really enjoyed reading this book. His humor, insight, and bare knuckle punches were both interesting and convicting. His focus on the Gospel kept it from being a moralistic pat on the back or challenge of self will. He helped me to focus on Jesus Christ more in every area of my life.
Personal App: Am I finding my identity in Christ? Am I finding my strength in Christ? Am I finding my hope in Christ?
Favorite Quote: "To the adult son who looks back and regrets, there is hope. To the confused husband who looks down on his life with despair, there is a means to victory. To the father who looks ahead to the future of his own children, there is a way. In every case it is the Lord Jesus Christ." (Kindle Locations 146-148)