Never Give a Sword to a Man that Can't Dance
In his new book "Way of the Wild at Heart' which is about helping transition boys to men, John Eldredge quotes the Celtic Proverb above. The meaning of the quote is essentially, "Don't Teach Someone How To Fight, Who Hasn't First Learned How To Love". Or it could be said, "Don't Let Someone Lead That Isn't Leadable".
You see, without the ability to Love, and Love without Fear, then leadership becomes Tyranny (esp in the realm of the nuclear family). The Difference between the Soldier and the Mercenary is Love. The Difference between the Leader and the Tyrant is Love. The Difference between the Statesman and the Politician is Love. The difference between a Father and a Sperm Donor is Love. And the Difference between a Man and a Punk is Love. It is also the difference between the Hero and the Coward, both have Fear, but Heroes LOVE MORE than they Fear.
It is very unfortunate that all Boys, as they come of Age, get Swords in a Sense and are often never told how to use them. They are all Strong. Some choose to throw down the sword (become "Emo"), some choose to use it with Skill and Courage in the cause of Love (become Soldiers, Fathers, Leaders, and Mentors) and some use it to inflict Fear (become Thugs). Many institutions, esp those influenced by the Feminist Movement, Nearly All Colleges and Daycares, Most Schools, and a even a few Churches even (Praise G*d for the ones that don't), try to take away the Swords! They tend to look at Strength as some dangerous disease that we need to take out of boys that causes them to hurt other people. They are "Infected with Valor'".As if Valor is like Rabies, dangerous to everyone around the infected person adn trying to spread, and if you have to nearly kill the one who has it to get rid of it, then so be it. Never seeing that it is Valor without purpose, a Rebel WITHOUT a Cause, that is dangerous. Rebels WITH causes changed the world! Wilberforce ended slavery in England. William Wallace ended English Tyranny. Jesus ended ALOT of things.
So, do our public institutions treat Valor as a disease to be treated, or a social adaptive disorder? If a bully pushes a little girl down on the playground, and another little boy pushed the bully down, what happens to the one with Valor at the principles office? at the DayCare? at the Sunday School? Nearly the same thing or worse as what happened to the Bully. Actually, it is something worse. He learns that what His heart says is Right, isn't always Right. And the example of Jesus isn't always right either. Remember the woman about to be stoned? The Salesmen in the Temple? The False Teachers? He didn't take very kindly to Bullies, Profiteers, Con-men, OR someone misleading others for personal gain, esp. someone using a position of Public Trust to do it.
We need to keep the boys we are around (no matter what their age-from 5-30) from surrendering their Swords. At the same time, if we don't teach them to LOVE, then we have only created more pain in the world than existed already. A Rabid family dog is bad enough, removing his muzzle while he still has rabies is worse. Curing his Rabies so he can guard the family again is Better Still. And making sure the boys in our life never get polluted with false ideas about what their strength is for (from infectious sources like Rap Music, Games like Grand Theft Auto, etc) . We can inject them with Principles, Morals, a Good Example. And one person may not change that kids life, you may not be in regular contact with any kid, but every action in front of them means alot. If its saying something to the guy cutting in line at the theatre, or opening the door for an older lady, or just treating people around you with respect while not tolerating evil or disrespect, that example, combined with the example of others, means alot over the course of a lifetime.
"It is Easier to Properly Build a Boy, thatn it is to Fix a Man" Old Proverb
By Brian Newman