Author Stephen Mansfield believes men have purpose and significance, contrary to what society often tells them. But many men are disillusioned and confused.
“The bottom line is that we are in decline regarding manhood,” Mansfield tells Dr. Steve Greene on a recent episode of the Greenelines podcast. “Almost every measurable statistic regarding men today, from longevity to health to earning to academic degrees, all of it is declining and not just relative to women, but relative to men of a generation ago, so we’re in decline, but I think it can be turned around.”
The way men feel about themselves also impacts their families.
“They just don’t think they can be significant, even in the lives of those they love, but we try to convince them otherwise,” says Mansfield of his work with men. “And, of course, when they get connected to the power of God in their lives, to live out noble manhood under His power, then we really begin to see them making the difference they’re called to make.”
Mansfield recently added to his slate of bestsellers with his new book, Men on Fire: Restoring the Forces That Forge Noble Manhood, where he reflects on what it means to be a man and a godly man.
He believes there are two main things men can do to make a difference in their family life. First, the man’s focus must be right.
“When a family turns its hope in God and has a focus on what God can do—God’s protection, God’s deliverance, God’s unfolding destiny for each person in the family—the statistics are it just absolutely transforms each life there,” Mansfield says. “It’s something they all look back to, and during these dark and difficult times, that’s when people most need to be reminded of their foundation.”
Beyond focus, men can change things for the better for their families if they preserve their family culture, he believes—and this is important particularly during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Man, I think, has got to be the culture keeper in his home,” Mansfield says. “It’s easy during these times for despair to get in, for bad habits to get in, for negative talk to get in, for there to be a culture in the home that’s destructive and counterproductive and produces despair, disillusionment, depression. I think the man’s got to not only keep faith alive, but he’s also got to keep fun alive. He’s got to keep hopeful statements alive. He’s got to encourage. He’s got to pull in with each person in the family and pick them up wherever they are in their faith and in their growth and in their maturity and help them to see the possibilities for what this might mean.”
Mansfield also points to the ways families coped during the Great Depression as instructive to families enduring the pandemic today.
“You’d be surprised at how many people reach old age decades after the Depression, but said, ‘Our family life during the Great Depression was the highlight of my life,'” he says. “So they are 99, 100 years old, obviously decades later, but they said, ‘What our parents did with music, with dance, with fun, with games, with prayer, with faith, that’s the high time of my entire life, during the Great Depression.’ So I think it can be that way again.”
To hear more of Stephen Mansfield’s thoughts on manhood, listen to this episode of Greenelines.