My first foray into the world of “men” books was “Wild at Heart.” That book was inspiring and taught me how to be a father, but also discouraging in that I am far too techy and non-natury to really connect with what the author was suggesting. In the end, I had to accept I did not live up to the author’s standards, but that I was still good enough to be a dad. This was challenging for me for a while, and I eventually overcame it, but the problem I encountered never changed: there are far to many books about fatherhood out there that leave the dad overwhelmed and underprepared. Pete Alwinson aims to change that with this book.
Alwinson’s first pages are much like the first pages of other books I have come across…”tell me about your father.” That stung for me personally. Having grown up with a father that wasn’t there when I needed him (he was there sometimes, but he was gone way more often than he was present, and I only remember celebrating one birthday with him) and a stepfather that didn’t understand me (I’m not a buff, gruff, mechanical mind – more of an indoors, techy, soft hands kind of man), I felt like those being counseled by Alwinson. The fact is that not having a father figure can make it quite difficult to be father one day. What do you go off of? Alwinson’s solution, and the one I had to ultimately accept in order to survive as long as I have? Being fathered by G-d.
What does Alwinson offer? He offers a father that can’t be replaced, that knows you (and me), is known, is welcoming, approval-giving, identity-building, freedom-giving, adventuring, guiding, wisdom-giving, and grace-giving. Does he deliver? That’s the question, isn’t it?
Does Alwinson deliver on his premise? Is this fatherhood book different than all the rest? Does it give hope instead of crushing it? Possibly. Alwinson covers quite a lot of theology in the pages of his work, and for many, it will be just what they need. For me, however, it felt light and missing a certain element. The essence it is missing I found in “Wild at Heart,” but the hope I couldn’t find there I managed to piece together with this book.
My recommendation? Read the book, and with a grain of salt. “Wild at Heart” gives great content but delivers little action, guidance, and hope. “Like Father, Like Son” struggles with the content but gives action points, specific steps, and a realm of possibility. Between the two of them is a great one-two punch to help every man be enabled for fatherhood, as long as their heart is willing…
Psychologists have long figured out how crucial an active father figure is to a child’s health. Lower chances of criminality, greater chance of success and happiness, etc. The stats are practically neverending on how much a dad is needed. Yet so many fathers were absent for this millennial generation, which means there are a lot of young men out there that need this book. The solution? Read it and pass it on – it’ll help to be somewhat prepared rather than needing and having not…
Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.