Monday, June 12, 2006

Dreaming of Virtuous Sons

I have a bit of a dream. Here I am going off to seminary, my wife and I trying to beat back worry over our finances. I have a few prospects for some good jobs, and my wife could probably get a job if need be, but…that’s just not how we want to do it. Not that I don’t want a job, but we would rather she not have to work. What does my dream have to do with this? Wait and see.

We are planning on homeschooling our children. Classical homeschooling, no less. That’s reading-intensive stuff. I’m a pretty conservative chap, as you may have guessed, and I can tell you from experience that good reading material for young boys is hard to come by. You can’t just run to Border’s and pick up whatever is on the shelf. You might as well give your child unrestricted access to TV. There will be material there that is toxic to the Christian worldview.

No, I want books that will build virtue in my sons. I want books that build distinctively masculine virtues. Let’s face it: we live in a declining civilization. The young males in college, high school and on down are mostly barbarians. They live to satisfy whatever urge hits them the hardest. The kind of book I’m after teaches my sons to be disciplined, kind to those in need, and unflinching in the face of evil. I want characters that defer gratification, treat women like human beings worthy of honor, and swallow their fears in order to sacrifice themselves for greater things.

I know such books exist, but they’re often difficult to find. Because the demand in young culture is for smart mouthed kids with idiots for parents (see almost every cartoon on the air) good books are hard to come by. Few people are writing them now, and the old ones are out of print. Some homeschool parents spend hours searching antique book stores for little treasures, but that takes a lot of time. The boys are worth it, and I’ll do it if comes to that…but that brings me back to my dream. My dream would kill two birds with one stone.

I don’t imagine clairvoyance is necessary now to discern the content of my dream. I want to write my books. I don’t want to do anything enormous, perhaps just 250 pages worth of text, but if I could capture the virtues I’m thinking of in a compelling adventure story I would be thrilled. That might play a part in the inculcation of virtue in my sons. And if I could sell these books then my wife’s dream of caring for our home and children full time could come true as well!

I’ve already begun spinning my first tale of adventure and virtue about a cooper’s son who is thrust into more adventure than he bargained for. The story is set in an alternate world where magic does not necessarily have the occult connotations it does here (like Narnia and Middle-Earth in that sense), and there will be plenty of swordplay. I know it all sounds vague and underwhelming, but I’m just starting out. Who knows? The book may flop and nothing may come of this. But maybe the book will be well done and well received! Maybe one book will become a series! The future is uncertain, but for the sake of my sons, and for any of yours who may encounter my book(s), I must try.

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