Killing Lions is a unique book with insights for young men regardless of their beliefs, upbringing and culture.
In ancient Kenya, a young Masai man has to kill a lion as a rite of passage into manhood. That is the tradition. The authors of Killing Lions notice there is no equivalent of this in the modern western world. They lament the lack of a symbolic activity to build up young men's confidence as they enter into the adult world, especially in the area of work and marriage.
Killing Lions is written by a father and his son. Together John and Sam Eldredge examine the problems associated with being a young in today’s world, the lack of guidance, myriad of temptations, non-existent work ethic, and a society that promises them much but delivering little or nothing.
Killing Lions relays the conversations between a father and his son over a period of time – from college until shortly after his marriage, it seems. The son asks searching questions about life, marriage, career, God, etc., while the father does his best to lead his son to find answers with examples from the bible and his past experiences.
On career, the son says he feels like a fraud since he (and some of his friends) has spent money and time acquiring certificates and degrees, but none of these certifications seem of any benefit as he is now doing something entirely different with his life.
The father answers that the society expects some crucial things from young men too soon. “The idea that eighteen-year-olds have some grasp on who they are and what they ought to do for the rest of their lives is madness,” he says.
When the sons asks about the key to finding what you love, the father answers: “Exploration and transformation, my son. There is a life you can love, but it takes courage, perseverance, and a little cunning to get there. It takes a warrior. You are in the thick of exploring who you are and what you are and why you are here, what the world is about and where God is moving, how and where he is moving you. I absolutely love what I do; my work is my passion. And I have the profound joy of knowing I’m having an impact on the world. For the most part I love my life. You can find a life you love. You can. But I didn’t step into this the day after college. There was a lot that had to happen in me as a young man before God could entrust me with the life I now live.”
The son also asks about dating and love. The father explains that no one really knows the secret to unlocking women’s feelings. However, he states that, “…if the secret fear of men is failure, the secret fear of women is abandonment. This is so important to know about a woman’s heart. In the core of her being is this voice that whispers to her, I am not enough. I am too much. If he really knew me, he wouldn’t stick around. Though we all put our best foot forward in dating, we are wearing different shoes, so to speak. Guys do it so they don’t look like a fool, and women do it so they won’t be rejected. Start with our core fears, and you can learn a lot about the internal world of men and women.”
Killing lions is a book men wished they read when they were in their twenties, it contains conversations some of us wished we had with our dads. It is an unusual book with much frankness and honesty.
Some of the advice contains an echo of the same answer given several pages before, encouraging a bit of boredom. However, you will be reluctant to skim through because the book is full of gems that is life-changing.
I recommend Killing Lions to any youth, whether they think they’ve got it figured out or not. It is a welcomed treasure in the sea of meaningless self-help motivational books for young men.
Clear conversational style |
Practical and down-to- earth writing
A bit repetitive in some places