Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Flight Plan: Your Mission to Become a Man by Lee Burns and Braxton Brady

Lee Burns and Braxton Brady in Flight Plan: Your Mission to Become a Man welcomes boys into the adventure of becoming a man. Burns and Brady frame this adventure in word pictures of flight, using stories and examples of flight school, fighter pilots and other aviation allusions. They introduce boys to seven key virtues of manhood:
• The True Friend: Leave No Man Behind
• The Humble Hero: Develop a God Sized Vision
• The Servant Leader: I Am Third
• The Moral Motivator: Make a Difference
• The Bold Adventurer: Don’t Sit Around
• The Noble Knight: Called to Duty
• The Heart Patient: Give Up Control
This is followed by discussions of issues that boys will have to face in a virtuous way as they move into manhood. These topics including relationships, sex, drugs and alcohol, school, success and other issues boys are sure to need to address head on. Every chapter ends with a set of discussion/reflection questions that can help boys examine their own thoughts on the material.

My academic training is history. The old adage was we tell you what we are going to tell you, tell you and then tell you what we told you. Chapter 3 “Flight Pattern” seemed like a great tell them what you’re going to tell them chapter introducing the virtues of a man. Each one of those virtues deserves an in-depth examination. Instead the chapters that follow deal with issues facing boys and young men not further exploration of the seven virtues. Now the discussions of things like sex are frank and handled in a mature and non-demeaning way. But what is missing are strong ties back to the virtues like “The Noble Knight.”

How would I recommend using this book? First, it would be a good discussion piece between fathers and sons. The book would help break the ice on topics I would have loved to have discussed with my own father. I don’t remember my father in I having “the talk” or evening having a glancing conversation on issues like pornography. This book makes it so you can’t but not talk about those issues. It’s that blunt conversation that would make me questioning using the book in some settings as a small group resource. For a group of mature teens willing to engage in a serious conversation about these issues there could be benefits in going through this book in a group setting. But for younger and less mature boys, the use of the proper words for sexual organs will likely result in snickers and laughs. The authors suggest reading the book before age 12, which may work in their setting of a boys school. However, it may not work for every youth leader in their setting with that age group. And for a less mature, and maybe some mature adults, having conversations about sex, your body, or puberty with boys could be problematic.

Overall, this is a good book that outlines the issues that boys face today. The picture of the journey from boyhood to manhood as an adventure is engaging and accurate. And the use of airplane imagery will likely hook some boys reading the book. The best part of this book is it examines some difficult issues, but in a honest, Biblical and grace filled manner. And while some readers may cringe at these topics, transparency is the book’s true strength.

Review Copy Provided by The B&B Media Group, Inc.

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