Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Encouraging Boys to Manhood

We really enjoy using Veritas Press’ Omnibus curriculum in our homeschooling of our older boys. Good books are suggested (though we don’t read every book listed) and the accompanying study guides with questions are very helpful. My boys are currently reading G. A. Henty’s Winning His Spurs - A Tale of the Crusades, and I especially appreciated the opening paragraph of the study guide which is pasted in below:

Jonathan Edwards entered Yale College at age thirteen and graduated at age seventeen.  He served as a minister at age nineteen, and after returning to Yale at age twenty he passed the examination for a Master of Arts degree.  In an age characterized by a lowering of expectations and standards, we marvel at such maturity and responsibility.  There was a time, however, when a boy was expected to behave like a man at age thirteen.  There was a time when a thirteen-year-old boy was expected to be skilled at something other than playing video games.  Unfortunately, we live in an age characterized by low expectations for our youth.  We rarely envision our teenage boys taking on such responsibilities or taking up five small stones and slaying a giant.
            Winning His Spurs takes us back to a time when a young boy was challenged to behave like a man.  We are encouraged to rethink the expectations we have of our youth.  As we observe the life of Cuthbert, the main character, we get a glimpse of the bravery and courage that a young boy can have.  As we enter into the events surrounding the crusade to recapture the Holy Land, we see the action through the eyes of a valiant boy, and we are forced to reexamine our own lives.  If we view literature and history as an opportunity to explore our own hearts, Winning His Spurs is a call for men to stand up and face life’s challenges with renewed vigor and courage.

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