Book Review: Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz  

About the author[1]

Bob Schultz was born in 1951 and raised in Washington and Oregon. At the age of 15, he was led to a Young Life meeting. Young Life is a Christian ministry that reaches out to middle school, high school and college-aged kids in all 50 states of United States, as well as more than 90 countries around the world. Their mission is to “introduce adolescents everywhere to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith”. Schultz was married at 24 years old and thereafter the couple started their own Christian Fellowship, attracting about 100 believers. On June 13, 2008, he died unexpectedly of heart failure.

 About this book

This is a book that is easy to read and understand. The author uses short stories which are familiar experiences in the lives of adolescents. Though this book is written about boys and for boys, it is beneficial to everyone and anyone, even young girls. There are wise and biblical principles which can be gleaned from every short chapter that covers topics such as authority, honesty, courage to admit mistakes, leadership, forgiveness, self-control, resilience, as well as overcoming things like fear, laziness and temptation.

The author begins by reminding the boys that God has a Grand Book for boys to learn. This Grand Book is His creation. This Grand Book can teach them to work ­­— “Go to the ant, thou sluggard.” A careful study of insects reveals a world of hard workers. The honey bees have much to teach about sweet rewards of diligent work. If the boys remember what they see and apply it to their lives, they will grow to be wise men. This Grand Book also teaches about manners. The rooster is an example of a true gentleman. How does this farm animal which sometimes can be a nuisance be used to teach our boys about self-control and kindness?

Do boys have difficulty confessing their faults? Do their parents resort to entreating or threatening to ‘help’ them confess their faults? What are all these stumbling blocks in their hearts that stop them from abiding in the Spirit? The chapter titled “Admit it” encourages the boys to try an experiment: “The next time you make a mistake, go directly to the one you wronged, admit it, and watch what God will do. Pick up your courage; walk past your fears; speak the truth. It’s the man’s road to freedom.”

These are the first 2 chapters of the book. The readers may discover that the author’s way of teaching virtues for manhood is soul searching as they continue with the remaining 29 chapters. However, they may not simply regard these chapters as intriguing stories that can give them a good laugh or momentarily stir up their emotional senses. They are to constantly desire this wisdom and seek the Lord (just like Solomon, David and Timothy) to help them nurture these virtues in their boyhood and when they grow up, they shall not depart from them (Pro. 22:6). These virtues are definitely great gifts from God to enable them to be godly members of the church and a spiritual head in their future covenant families. (In fact there are chapters on “Preparing for a wife” and “Preparing for your children”).

True strength in manhood comes from a heart that is renewed by God’s Word and His Spirit. The Scripture is the true source of wisdom and children of God must not be deceived by the lies of the world concerning manliness (1 Cor. 14:20; Pro. 24:5; 1 Tim. 4:12 & 14; 1 Tim. 4:8-9; 1 Tim. 6:11).

About the discussion questions

There are discussion questions after every chapter. The book will be even more profitable if the questions could lead the boys to meditate on God’s Word. This is because the Holy Scripture is able to make them wise unto salvation as it is inspired by God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that they as men of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:15-17).

 

Written by: Jean Lim | Issue 51 

 

[1] https://www.exodusbooks.com/bob-schultz/2473/, accessed 23 January 2018

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