Our Focus on Tuesdays: “Wise Men Still Follow Him”
A few years ago, I had the privilege of hearing Lieutenant General Josiah Bunting III speak about the formation of leaders as young men. In his address, “The First and Greatest Generation and Its Successor,”* he identified a fascinating connection between the Founding Fathers and the leaders of the American armed forces in World War II. Both groups of extraordinary men, in their earliest years, were steeped in the knowledge of the great men of ancient Greece and Rome. General Bunting did not consider this a coincidence. Rather, he contrasted this sort of formation with the influences on today’s boys and young men: decadent athletes, rock stars, and other “celebrities” (once caustically defined by Malcolm Muggeridge as people who are famous for being famous).
Each Tuesday I will present a short entry by some wise man - in our Church, in our history - who has something to teach us. That’s the easy part. More challenging is the task put forward by General Bunting: The resolve to bring our sons, and all young Catholics, into a deep appreciation for men of character and honor. The next generation will not be a great generation if they are left to their own devices in choosing their own role models.
I had the good fortune in second grade of having a volunteer school librarian introduce me to the “Discovery” series of biographies for children. Thomas Jefferson, Luther Burbank, Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt -- these were the objects of my curiosity as a seven-year old, not some grinches or cats-in-hats. They were, and remain, heroes to me. Not perfect men, but great men. Have our sons ever heard of them? Our task is to tell them.