Paul Van Lierop is a husband and father of three who resides in the beautiful environs of Montana. He is at heart a technologist, a hobbyist, an outdoorsman and a lover of ice hockey. While his background is not full of collegiate level parenting credentials he has been successfully parenting his kids for eighteen years. He has been a youth hockey coach for over 6 years and previously established the Watch D.O.G.S. program at his local elementary school. Mostly he enjoys spending time with his family.
Why This Book?
The idea for this book came from an afternoon drive listening to one of my favorite podcasts. In the story, the narrator had discovered that he had cancer and was only given 6 months to live. The story cntinued with the narrator describing all of the things he wanted to do with his limited time on earth and the things that suddenly didn’t matter. I found myself very emotional by the end of the podcast and I knew why. I was concerned that if I was to die soon I would have left my two boys without teaching them all the things I wanted them to know to become strong men and productive members of society. It was very convicting to think about all of those life lessons and experiences that I hadn’t passed on to them, and I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t started or when I would actually do that.
I decided right then and there I was going to work on it with them by creating a collection of missions and challenges that would focus on the basic things I wanted them to know as boys heading on their journey to becoming men. In many ways, I feel that our kids don’t have the same opportunities that we did as kids. With technology, the world has become much smaller but at the same time, our kid’s experiences have narrowed as well. As a boy, if I wanted to learn about a hobby or how to build something I had three options. 1. I could try and figure it out on my own using trial and error. 2. I could somehow get myself to the library and see if I could find a resource to teach me about the topic. 3. I could find someone I knew that was a perceived authority on the subject and ask them for help.
My kid’s first inclination is to turn to Youtube or use a search engine to come to their answer. While it is amazing the breadth of information available at your fingertips what gets lost is the drive for exploration and resourcefulness. Create a scenario for the kids where they have a lack of resources but a goal they need to accomplish and a reward for doing that and watch what happens. That’s the basis for our Missions to Manhood and I have seen firsthand the change in my own boys thinking and behavior. Hopefully, in whatever meaningful way possible we can teach our boys (and girls) to be the kinds of people that aren’t waiting around for someone else to figure things out for them. By taking initiative and utilizing their resourcefulness they can be the kinds of people in the world that are successful be it raising a family, excelling at their career, and impacting the world.