Interview With Andrew Klavan

One of the great perks about being an author and speaker is that I get the opportunity to meet and hang out with other writers (usually ones a lot more famous and talented than me). One of the incredible authors I have been fortunate enough to get to know a little is Andrew Klavan. Andrew is an Edgar Award winning author of a bunch of great books such as Hunting Down Amanda, Shotgun Alley, Dynamite Road, and Empire of Lies. In addition, two of his New York Times bestselling novels were made into commercially successful films: Don’t Say a Word starring Michael Douglas, and True Crime starring Clint Eastwood.

Klavan recently released his first novel for young adults, The Last Thing I Remember, by Thomas Nelson, and it quickly became a CBA bestseller. It’s the story of Charlie West, an ordinary, straight arrow teenager who goes to bed one night and wakes up strapped to a chair being tortured by jihadists. Charlie’s desperate struggle to find out how he got into a situation like this will challenge him in every way, forcing him to rely on his faith, his courage and his fighting skills to stay alive. The second in the series, The Long way Home, will be released next February.

Andrew was kind enough to let me use one of his quotes in my first book and has put up with my barrage of emails and newsletters over the years. You can find out more about Andrew and his work on his web site at www.andrewklavan.com. Here are a few questions Andrew agreed to answer for our readers:

1) Let me start with the question that everyone always wants to know—how did you become a writer?

You know, the truth is, I never wanted to be anything else. I mean, when I was little, I wanted to be an astronaut and a cowboy or whatever, but by the time I was thinking seriously about who I was, I felt I was a novelist. I took jobs to earn money, but I was always writing at night, and the minute I scraped together enough money, I would quit and write full time until I was broke again. Looking back on it, it was a dumb way to do it, but I was obsessed with doing this one thing I wanted to do.

2) Second obligatory question—where do you get your ideas from?

I don’t really have a good answer to that. The fact that I get ideas is what I started with. If I didn’t have ideas, I wouldn’t be a novelist. If stories didn’t come to me that I had to tell, felt compelled to tell, believe me, I would do something far more secure, far less dependent on the opinions and tastes of others. I’d’ve gone to law school or whatever. The fact that I have ideas for stories is why I do what I do.

3) What was it like having several of your books turned into successful Hollywood movies? Did you get to meet any of the stars?

Oh hey, it’s cool. Just the fact that it goes from being such a private act of creation to such a public show on such a big screen is sort of wild. But to be perfectly honest, I’ve always loved books first. I’d always rather read a good book than see a movie, so I’m not always as impressed by the whole movie thing as people around me are. Mostly I stayed out of the process – although I did write an early script of Don’t Say A Word. And yes, I did get to meet Clint Eastwood at the premiere of True Crime. A totally gracious, classy guy.

4) I absolutely love your videos on PJTV. How did the “Klavan on the Culture” series get started? [http://www.pjtv.com/page/Klavan_On_Culture/168/;jsessionid=abc_4BOdUHcWNhXQlalps]

Well, Roger Simon, the CEO of PJTV, had given me a webcam and invited me to come on some of their talk shows. So I was watching these shows and thinking, you know, this is really different, a whole new medium, and I’d like to do something with this that no one’s quite doing. So I pitched the idea of Klavan on the Culture to Roger as sort of a weird blend of social commentary and Monty Python. And Roger’s a creative guy and he was, like, sure, try it. So I did and it’s been an absolute blast.

5) Some of the videos in the series are probably considered quite politically incorrect. I suspect I know the answer to this but why jeopardize your career?

LOL, dude, that is my career! Not being politically incorrect per se, but saying what I mean, trying to get as close as I can to my vision of the truth. I always think: what’s the point of putting words down on paper if you’re not trying to get at the truth about things? And if the truth is politically incorrect then that’s where you go. I get a lot of relativist feedback, a lot of people who say, oh, you know, you’re being moralistic, nothing’s really objectively good or bad but thinking makes it so. But I don’t believe that and, you know what? Neither do they, not really. There’s such a thing as truth, we all know it, and writing—art, in general—is one of the ways we try to approach it.

6) Having been a long time fan of your work I have observed that you have gotten progressively less secular in nature and more faith-based in your writing style over the years. What is the motivation behind this? Why go from a big New York house publisher to Thomas Nelson, a CBA publisher?

Well, I wrestled with questions of faith for more than thirty years, and finally felt free to believe and it’s unnatural for me to force that down. I think it took me all that time, not to convince myself that God was real, but to convince myself that there were no intellectual objections that couldn’t be overcome. I had to clear the way, if you see what I mean, so I was sure my faith was authentic and not a form of escapism. Still, I try very hard not to write about things I don’t know. I don’t have angels fluttering around my books because I’ve never seen an angel. I just feel freer to allow characters to express their faith—which in the end makes my stuff just that much more realistic, I think.

7) Your last several books have been specifically about men (and boys) of faith. However, you appear to be pretty realistic in your portrayal of the struggles that Christian men deal with. Have you gotten much flack from the Christian community for this depiction?

A little flack, yeah. People saying why do I have to show men’s thoughts as being so highly sexualized, why do I have to show so much doubt, why aren’t I more sunny, more positive. I find this attitude kind of baffling. If the world were sunny and positive, you wouldn’t need faith! In True Crime, there’s a minister, who says something like, “If you want to believe in God, you have to believe in a god of the sad world.” I’m not trying to be unpleasant or disgusting or anything, I just want my stories to take place in the world as it is, not the world as we would like it to be.

8) You mentioned that you were “Getting attacked in the press for believing in God and being patriotic.” As a successful New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award winning author are you concerned that you and your work will be blacklisted or banned by Hollywood or the secular media because of your conservative stance?

You know, I’ve taken a big economic hit since I became so outspoken, and it can be tough at times, but I’ve never lost a moment’s sleep over it. I know there are people who won’t work with me anymore and, conversely, I know there are stories I’m no longer willing to tell because I think they’re dishonest or abhorrent. But I’ve never felt so at peace or so joyful about what I’m doing—and there’s not enough money in the world to buy that feeling from me. So doors will close, but I believe others will open, are opening even as we speak. We’ll see.

9) What do you think is the greatest threat to our country today?

Ignorance. We’re ignorant of the meaning of liberty. We don’t understand what it is, how rare it is, how important it is, how difficult it is to preserve—our young people especially. Al Qaeda and the Islamists attack from without and they’re a danger, but there’s a danger from within too—a danger of people selling away their birthright of freedom for easy comfort and security. Everything truly worthwhile—faith, love, the journey to your best self—they all require freedom. We should be teaching the meaning of the word on every street corner so that people remember.

10) What’s the best thing about being Andrew Klavan?

Oh, that’s an easy one. Being married to Mrs. Klavan. Thirty years and I’m still just absolutely crazy about her. I’m not just talking either. I wake up every morning and wrap myself around her in gratitude. Frankly, I think she finds it a thorough-going pain in the neck! LOL!

Find Andrew’s great books at:

Empire of Lies: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Thing-I-Remember-Homelanders/dp/1595546073/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1253241466&sr=1-1

The Last Thing I Remember: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Thing-I-Remember-Homelanders/dp/1595546073/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1253241466&sr=1-1

Advice to a Young Woman

I’ve seen you at our seminars. Perhaps you’ve read my books. I see your pictures and I read your responses everyday on Facebook. I feel like I know you as a daughter. I see a beautiful, intelligent, vibrant young woman with a witty and ironic sense of humor. Perhaps you made poor choices in men and birthed children you are struggling to raise without a father. Yet you approach this overwhelming task with determination and courage, even though sometimes you feel like it’s draining you dry.

You put up a good front but you feel bad about yourself. I can tell. Maybe your father abused or abandoned you or failed to give you the healthy affection you deserved and longed for. So you failed to see in the mirror the picture of grace, beauty, and radiance that God sees when He looks at you. In your desire to get your desperate yearning for masculine love fulfilled you settled for the first man (really a boy) who paid attention to you. You settled instead of chose. You set your bar too low. Without even knowing it you allowed your self-image to be controlled by whether you had a man in your life. Therefore a bad man was better than no man at all. You still secretly fear that no man wants you—that somehow you are less a woman for it.

But know this. You are special. You are beautiful—despite what the world or anyone who should have known better has ever said. You are loved unconditionally by a heavenly Father who knows your deepest secrets and still cherishes you enough to die for you. This Father desires you and wants to hold you in his protective arms. Know that and rejoice in the fact that he has a plan for your life.

And for goodness sakes understand how special you are—don’t settle! Hold out for the man you deserve–a man who will cherish and honor you but still lead with wisdom and integrity.

–From an older man to all young women

Camp Changes Lives!

Better Dads hosted our Third Annual Single Mom’s Family Camp on June 12-14 at Canby Grove Christian Camp. I don’t even know where to begin to report all the incredible things that happened at this camp.

First of all, let me say thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of the volunteers, donors, and prayer warriors who were involved in this event. You will never know how many lives you touched or how deeply you touched them until you are standing before our Maker. But I know that miracles happened and lives were changed this weekend. I don’t make that statement lightly. Literally people’s lives were changed and hearts healed.

As I watched the kids (ages 5-16) arrive, most did not want to be there and had been forced to come by mom. There were angry and sullen. But very quickly they learned how much fun it was playing with the volunteers. Their veneer soon changed to one of excitement and happiness. The kids played soccer, volleyball, basketball, freeze tag, archery, fishing, biking, and all sorts of other activities. I watched Jon work with the teenage boys and saw him connect with them on a level they craved. He taught them simple lessons through actions and words on what it means to be a man—just what they all yearned for. They hung on his every word by the end of camp. Jon taught them to use a pocketknife and handed out several at the end of camp as gifts to the older boys. He taught another boy how to gut and clean a fish—just what every man should know. Lastly he taught them to build birdhouses with their own two hands—they were very proud of their work. Jon also showed them not to mess with us old guys in push-ups or running contests (although I heard he biffed on the BMX course).

At the campfire Saturday night I watched Katie sit with a little girl on her lap. Next to her, her husband Caleb had two little boys snuggled in his arms against his chest. They contentedly stayed there the whole night relishing the contact, sucking up his masculine essence like dry sponges. I watched Ron and Paul teach kids how to fish and the great joy and feelings of adequacy that comes from a boy catching his first fish by himself (46 fish were caught, cleaned and frozen to be taken home and cooked by the kids). Danny and Donna loved up the littler children. Kelsey played with kids until they couldn’t stand up any more. Her role model of a vibrant, healthy, godly young woman is powerful to both boys and girls. The youth group from Mountainview Christian Church was invaluable in playing with the kids who looked up to them as older role models. They produced some wonderful skits around the campfire to entertain everyone. Sheryl was the RN on duty who made sure no one was harmed and Adam and Tyson were firefighter/EMTs who lent their presence of protection as well. Linda took hundreds of photos that I can’t wait to see.

Overnight the behavior of the kids changed as they watched people they looked up to honoring and respecting their mothers. Just a brief amount of exposure to healthy masculinity in their lives calmed them and made them feel secure and content. Moms were somewhat stunned when their children became polite and happy to see them. By Saturday afternoon, they all loved being at the camp. Many wanted to stay and several asked if they could volunteer next year. One little boy told his mom, “I love this ‘school.’ Can we stay?” Mostly, the children’s behavior changed because someone offered them love and cared enough to spend time with them. It’s a huge lesson we all need to learn. One 16-year old boy (who was reportedly rolling his eyes in disgust as they registered) asked me if I was the “Tape Man.” He said his grandma plays my CD every time he gets in the car. I told him I was sorry. He said, “No, it’s helped me a lot.” He then proceeded to tell me one of the stories on the CD and how it applied to his life. Needless to say, I gave him a copy of my newest book on masculinity as a going away gift.

The speakers were incredible. Clearly, God orchestrated all of the speakers to scaffold one upon another so that the message was one of hope, encouragement, and the love God has for these moms and kids.

But it wasn’t all teaching and hard work for the moms. One of the great joys of the moms was being awoken Saturday morning with a tray of coffee, flowers, a newspaper, and goodies at their cabin doors. Most moms were shocked to find out the camp was actually for them—not for their children. Probably the people who worked the hardest with the least amount of credit were the beautiful women who served the moms. Suzanne, Terri, and Susan worked like lumberjacks (although they sure don’t look like one) to pamper and bless the moms with a spa experience on Saturday afternoon, and a karaoke fest that night. Along with Debbie O., Debbie A., Jen, Sarah, Lydia, and Linda they washed the moms’ feet, gave pedicures, and massaged their heads, necks, and shoulders. They also served them decadent deserts, coffee, and cold blended fruit drinks. They were treated like queens. Later that evening, I was afraid to enter the room where karaoke singing was taking place but I heard the women got pretty wild (led by Suzanne of course) and many said they had never before had so much fun or felt safe and free to cut loose. Later at night, as the moms walked together towards the campfire, the children (unprompted by the leaders) dropped their s’mores and gave them a long standing ovation. Quite a change in attitude from just 24 hours earlier!

Many tears were shed as the moms were leaving. Here are just a few of the comments made by moms:

“My life has been changed from Rick’s workshops…I believe God put me on a path to heal my heart from the father wound in my life….The workshop you did on relationships was hard for me—I wanted to cry like a baby….This camp has inspired me to work on the “black hole” that is inside me. I want to work on those issues of why I crave male attention or want to marry my father. It has opened my eyes. Thank you for blessing me and my son.”

“I want to say THANK YOU with all my heart to those who made this camp possible. My son and I will remember this time as a gift from God through people like you who made it happen. We leave here sadly, yet feeling oh so blessed!”

“My children and I have been touched and blessed to be here. The future is bright for our family and one of the brightest parts of our future is the tools we will take with us from this weekend.”

“To all those who made this miracle happen in our lives: THANK YOU from the depths of my being. There have been tears of joy and pain. Growth always happens during our deepest heartfelt emotions. You have blessed my son and myself so deeply and profoundly. God bless you all!”

“I had a time to reflect on who I was in Christ without being judged.”

“I could never thank you enough for this wonderful weekend. This weekend has really given my son and my relationship those first few stitches it needed to be mended. I have seen a dramatic change in his attitude in just two days. From the age of 2 my son was taught by my ex-husband to disrespect women, other children, and people in general. Nothing has worked to break that behavior; not me, not months of counseling, not other positive people. During this weekend, thanks to everyone’s involvement, that hard shell has been cracked. Thank you so much!”

“I am so blessed after this weekend. I am grateful beyond words to God for bringing the volunteers, youth group, speakers, and so many other together this weekend. Truly words are not enough to express how wonderful this experience has been for the kids…we really lived!!!

“It was hard to come here this weekend. It has been so long since I socialized. It seems easier to crawl in my shell. Rick, your talk about “choosing” and not settling really encouraged me. I feel so “less than” all the time, and I hate that I feel this way. Lori’s talk inspired me to allow God to enter into the deep recesses of my heart for healing. My armor I have wrapped myself in is strong, it’s hard to be open to God breaking the brick wall I have formed…to love me. PS – my kids adored the youth counselors!”

“I came to this retreat hoping to take from it a sense of validation, new friendships, and a closer relationship with God. Not only am I taking those things but most importantly I take with me the knowledge that I am my Heavenly Father’s little girl! I know now that I can drop this unfounded fear that I will fail and be cast aside if I make mistakes.”

“Thank you for being our voice.”

As you can see, I was blessed mightily to be part of this event that God put together. You see I had resigned myself to the fact that we would not have a camp this year as we had broken ties with the camp we formerly partnered with. With the cost of the camp being around $10,000 and local camps being booked for 1-2 years in advance I just assumed we would not be able to do anything this year. But God had other plans. I soon received an email from a donor who promised the entire amount to underwrite the camp provided we could raise some matching funds. One day later Suzanne received a call from Canby Grove Christian Camp saying they had heard what we were doing and wanted us to visit to see if their facilities would work. Not surprisingly their facilities were perfect—and oh yeah, they just happened to have a summer weekend open. And so, it was up to me to organize and put together a camp for the first time from the ground up. A huge task I soon discovered. However, I believe God’s plan was to fully train us and a core group of volunteers how to implement these camps so that we can now go to other states and train other churches and groups how to fulfill this huge need in our society.

We learned a lot but the one thing I learned was to start planning as early as possible. Therefore, if you would like to partner with us next year please let us know. The earlier we can get the funding committed the earlier we can plan and get vendors, sponsors, churches, and volunteers on board. Sorry this blog was so long, but the work God did at the camp surpassed my skills as a writer.

May God bless all the volunteers and donors for your involvement in the lives of these widows and orphans.

Single Mom Camps Change Lives

Each year Better Dads ministry hosts our annual Single Mom Family Camp for approximately 25 single moms and their children. Our goal is to honor, teach, and pamper the moms. All the while their children are enjoying time in the outdoors with positive male mentors doing activities like swimming, rafting, fishing, playing sports, building stuff, and playing with other kids. These three-day, life changing camps are free to the families who attend and the response has been overwhelming. The moms spend time in some very intense classes reflecting on how to choose healthy relationships and the role their father played in their previous choices. The moms also have some opportunities for fun and reflection with other mature women mentors through prayer and conversation. Finally, they are pampered and honored through a variety of volunteered services that many seldom get to experience. At meal times and in the evenings everyone comes together for fun, wholesome activities. Many of the moms break down in tears as they describe how powerfully impactful the camp has been in the lives of their family. Some of the comments heard from the moms included:

“I felt like I was really seen this weekend, I was not just invisible anymore.”
“This was the first time my kids saw me valued as a person.”
“Before this weekend, I felt like a statistic–just a minority single mom. But now I know that God thinks I am valuable and special.”

One mom brought her 13 year old daughter whose father had died the previous year. The girl was wearing dark makeup and angrily refused to speak to anyone. Over the weekend her walls slowly came down until by Sunday she was happy and outgoing. Her mom sent an email saying, “I saw more healing in my daughter in the past three days than I’ve seen in the last two years. It feels like I got my little girl back again!”

Another mom was touched to tears because for the first time in years her closed off daughter had reached out and taken her hand as they walked together.

The camps use married couples as volunteers. The men “play” with the kids while the wives pray with and for the moms. These mature Christian women are also available to mentor the moms one on one. This also allows both moms and kids to see healthy married couples interact with one another during meals and other times together. Church youth groups also work with the kids, modeling for them how to have wholesome fun in a group setting.

To find out more about the upcoming camp on June 12-14 or to volunteer or donate to these powerfully impactful camps please contact us at betterdads@verizon.net.

I Still Do

My wife and I were blessed to attend a celebration dessert for couples married 25 years or longer called “I Still Do.” This annual event is sponsored by an organization called Every Marriage Matters (EMM). EMM is a facilitator in the community bringing together faith-based, governmental and business entities to vitalize marriage and family. Through both secular and faith-based programs, they provide a resource center for marriage and family building assets, and for their community support.

At 27 years married, Suzanne and I were clearly one of the “baby” couples that attended. The longest married couple had been together for 76 years, and many had been married over 45 years. As the MC went around the crowd asking for advice on how to stay married, the answers struck me with their simplistic, yet common sense nature. Long time married couples said the secret to their success were things like:

Praying together daily
Being positive toward each other
Saying, “I love you” to each other daily
Working together with common goals
Conflict resolution skills
Never going to sleep angry at each other
Communication
And from one man to other men–“never quitting, always staying”

It was a true blessing to be surrounded by couples who had made a decision to stay together through sickness and health till death do us part. Their committment to their vows was an inspiration to me. Suzane and I are spending this season of our lives trying to pass along the things we have learned during our marriage by providing pre-marital counseling to young couples. We wish we had had an older couple when we were first married to talk with and learn from. It sure would have made things easier!

To find out more about Every Marriage Matters, contact Tom and Liz Dressel at everymarriagematters@comcast.net.

Rick’s Newest Book!

Stand Up and Be the Man You Were Created to Be.

Rick Johnson tried to fake authentic manhood until he learned an important lesson: A man armed only with a fork in a land of soup doesn’t fare very well.

God gave men incredible power in their masculinity. With humor and honesty, The Power of a Man shows men how to live a life of great significance and healthy masculinity in a world afraid of real men. Johnson demonstrates that:

Real men aren’t passive—they wield positive influence to change the world.
Real men don’t quit, no matter how tough things get.
Real men love, protect, and provide for their wives and children.
Real men defy cultural expectations and live by a code of honor.
Real men recognize that only masculinity bestows masculinity.

The Power of a Man is about being calm but confident, relaxed but prepared, kind but authentic, and bold but compassionate. It’s about becoming the man you’ve always wanted to be—the man your world needs.

To purchase a signed copy of my newest book please go to www.betterdads.net.

The Best Christmas Present Ever!

This Christmas my son gave me the best present any 52-year-old man could ever want. He gave me a Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 dart cannon. It literally looks and operates like an orange and yellow 50-caliber machine gun. It even has an ammo box that you load the belt into and it feeds out the other side as the darts are fired by an internal piston-powered launching system. The Vulcan fires up to three Nerf sonic micro darts per second and has a 25 round ammo belt. In fully auto mode it can fire all 25 rounds in under ten seconds. Very, very cool indeed! My son was wise enough to get me a second ammo belt to go along with it.

After running out to get the required six C cell batteries, I spent all day today “hunting” the cats. They are fast but not fast enough to outrun a determined middle-aged man with a machine gun. The dog is no fun as he just stands there and let’s me shoot him. I am working on building a pill box with pillows to create a machine gun nest using the tripod stand that came with it. I am currently saving to buy the Tactical Rail accessories that go with it including a laser sight and flashlight so I can hunt our cats throughout the house in the dark. I’m also already coveting the other N-Strike arsenal weapons including the giant pistol Maverick with 6-dart rotating barrel that looks like it came from a Terminator movie and the N-Strike Recon CS-6 Blaster which as near as I can tell is a Nerf assault shotgun.

If we would have had toys like this as kids, we would have never come home.

Two Very Good Books

Two very good books I just finished:

Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan. Jason Harrow is a good Christian man leading a normal life until a phone call from the past plunges him into the dangerous world of terrorists and murder.

Finally–someone portrays a Christian as something other than a wacko nutcase! This book slays more sacred cows and steps in more politically-correct minefields than any mainstream author I have ever read. I am still scratching my head trying to figure out how he got a New York publisher to publish this book. Klavan’s clout as a bestselling author with several books made into successful movies must allow him special leverage. Klavan calls it like it is regarding the treatment of Christians and in his portrayal of the left-wing media, academic elites, and politically-correct special interest groups in this country. Not to mention it’s a heck of a well written suspense book. Some Christians may get their nose out of joint about the authentic way Klavan portrays his protagonist but those of us who are honest will recognize ourselves in him.

UnChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. Kinnaman is the president of the Barna Group, the well respected survey and research company. Lyons is founder of Fermi Project, a collective of innovators, social entrepreneurs, and church and society leaders working together to make positive contributions to culture.

This book documents and summarizes three years of research into what younger (primarily 16-29 year olds) people think and feel about Christians and Christianity. It is an eye-opening dialogue about why young people are turning away from Christianity and what we can do about it. Whether we want to admit it or not most people today are becoming more antagonistic towards Christianity and its followers. Accurate or not, Christians are most often perceived as conservative, judgmental, antihomosexual, angry, empire builders, boring, and illogical. This book does a great job of telling us what and why the youth of America think about us and what we can do to offset those perceptions. Again, while many traditionalists may get in a snit about the information in this book, I found it very refreshing and a much needed examination if we are to make a difference in an increasingly hostile world.

Two Quotes

Norman Mattoon Thomas (November 20, 1884 to December 19, 1968) was a leading American socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America. The Socialist Party candidate for President of the US, Norman Thomas, said this in a 1944 speech:

“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of “liberalism,” they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.” He went on to say: “I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democrat Party has adopted our platform.”

Compare that quote to this one from President Ronald Reagan:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

What do you think about the direction our country is going? Please post a reply.

Engaging Men–Is It Possible?

As I travel around the country speaking the number one question I am asked is, “How can we engage and motivate men to be involved?” Clearly, this is an issue that affects everyone. The Big Brothers/Big Sisters program here in Portland reports that they have a waiting list of 900 boys with an average wait time of three years because they cannot find male mentors to be involved. So how do we engage men? Is it even possible?

I believe it is, but we have to first understand some things that are important to motivating men. Here are some key factors to encouraging and inspiring men to make a difference in the world:

Men need to know their importance and significance
Men literally have the god-given power to influence lives for generations. People’s lives for hundreds of years will be impacted by what a man does or doesn’t do today. Most men do not know or recognize the influence they carry by virtue of their gender.

Men need a mission – a battle to fight!
All men yearn for adventure and even a hint of danger in their lives. They are inspired by great causes to do battle over. The battle for good to triumph over evil has inspired men since time began. Today’s evils include poverty, abuse, addictions, and sexual slavery to name just a few.

Men need permission—to be empowered
Many of the messages men hear today denigrate masculinity. Most television shows, commercials, and movies stereotypically portray men as either abusive jerks, or most often, as bumbling idiots. Men need to be inspired and even given permission to be involved in battles that matter.

Men need a vision
Men need to know that there are women and children dying because of lack of male leadership in their lives. They are begging God for someone to come into their lives to help them. People we don’t even know are watching us to see how a man lives his life, how he solves problems, how he leads his family. It doesn’t matter how young you are, how old, how many mistakes you’ve made, you were created by God to be a leader—for people to look up to.

Men need an action plan with definable goals
Men need to have vehicles that they can plug into in order to make a difference in the world. The problems of this world seem overwhelming and the thought of one person trying to make a difference can be daunting. But give a man a plan and some goals and he can achieve much.

Men need other men beside them
Men need other men to inspire them, motivate them, and hold them accountable. There are some issues that only a group of good men can defeat. Just like there are some things you don’t do alone in life such as swim in the ocean or climb a mountain, men should not go through life alone either. Men need other men.

Finally, the last thing you need to know about engaging men is that you must have food. Don’t even try to get men to come to an event or be part of a program without providing some sort of nourishment. There is a well known adage that an army travels on its stomach. We can put up with a lot of challenges and discouragements just so long as our bellies aren’t empty! Good luck.