By Chad Hennings | FaithWords | hardcover | 208 pages | $21.99
Chad Hennings was a fighter-jet pilot and an NFL player for nine years, yet he says that during that time he never knew what it meant to be a real man. In his new book, Rules of Engagement: Finding Faith and Purpose in a Disconnected World, Hennings shares his journey to authentic manhood. He also offers a guide for other men to use in their pursuit of authenticity.
“The true measure of manhood is not accomplishment but character and meaning,” Hennings writes.
In 1996, when his 2-year-old son, Chase, got sick and was fighting for his life, Hennings realized how much help he needed.
“The outside world looked at me like I was Superman,” he writes. “But instead, I was still failing as a man. I was still trying to go it alone, totally relying on myself in all things instead of seeing myself as part of a team—God’s team.”
Chase survived, and Hennings came through it with much more wisdom. He learned how much he needed God and relationships with other godly men. Hennings calls acceptance, affirmation and accountability the real “AAA”—the type of “roadside assistance” every man needs from other men.
“We need affirmation from one another, because otherwise we may feel that our actions and hard work are simply disappearing in a void,” he writes. “We need acceptance from other men, sometimes to make up for the lack of acceptance we may have experienced from our fathers, and otherwise to satisfy the basic human craving for friendship and connection.”
Hennings’ book has two main sections—”Basic Training: Your Foundation” and “Active Duty: Engaging in Battle.” The topics he addresses include character, vision, family and money. In the chapter “Healing the Troubled Past,” Hennings notes that many men struggle with addictions because they try to overcome them alone. They need help and someone to hold them accountable, he says. He tells a story about his days with the Dallas Cowboys when he was part of three Super Bowl champion teams. Some of the players got into trouble off the field.
“The careers of many of these players ended prematurely, due to these issues,” Hennings writes. “Some of them now see the trouble they caused themselves and their team. But we failed them back then, because we did not recognize our own responsibility to demand accountability from those around us.”
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