Stephen Arterburn and John Shore are both men who are firmly planted in mid-life. That’s the place every guy gets to when he hits age 40 or so. As a 40-something myself I realize I’m firmly in this demographic as well. With life expectancy creeping up every few years I know I (hopefully) have several more years of productive living left so it was with some hope to view this season of my life that I picked this book up (in audio form) and gave it a listen.
The authors spend significant time focusing on the position of the mid-life man and the preconceptions that come with this period of life. For certain I think about a time when I can’t control many things like my body’s natural aging (I can slow it but NEVER completely stop it), my value to the workplace, and my own self-image. From there, the authors begin by breaking down the archetype that most men feel they have to be, the “he-man” hero and then proceed to take the reader to the four basic types of roles all men have. That of Father, Son, Provider, and Husband. They give both the good and bad of these roles taking into account the cultural expectations of our society, what the media paints as ideal, and what is truly real, especially from a Christian perspective (The authors write from a Christian viewpoint). At the end, they summarize the four roles, give suggestions for improvement and finish by putting a balanced view of how all men should look at this time in their life as the best years ahead and not simply “getting by”.
I enjoyed this book. There were several things here that helped me see myself in a bit more humorous light. I think many men at this stage of the game view themselves as being past the point of no return where their life is pretty much predetermined based on their life decisions up to this point. That isn’t true of course but the reality is it IS harder for guys in this stage of life given the workplace expectations today. Couple that with kids growing up and a soon to be empty nest and your personal life might be affected also. To say all of this bundled up isn’t worrisome to many men would be to ignore the elephant in the room. As a pastor, I see many men hit this stage of life without a clue as to how they will navigate the uncharted waters they are facing.
If you’re in mid-life or headed there within a few years, pick this up and give it a listen/read. There’s some good material to be mined here to help you see the value of your life at this stage of the game. You don’t have to feel like you are wandering. God has great things for you in this next stage of your life.