by: AJ Hofstetter
Last Saturday was the first “Fathers for Liberty” event, held at the Bald Eagle Sportsmen Association. About 40 Liberty dads showed up, some of whom had been shooting guns their whole lives and others who were brand new to it.
On one hand, it would seem that this is just the kind of event you’d expect of a men’s event. The firing of weapons. Maybe some political thought-sharing with coffee and lots of, “So what do you do”-type discussions. But this event wasn’t like others - at least, that’s what would be discovered the more time I spent there. Aside from the fact that it started with a lesson in logical fallacies from Liberty Classical’s logic teacher (among other things), Brent Fischer, it also gave every single man present permission to ask questions, to be honest, and to contribute to the lives of others. It gave men a chance to not pretend to know something they didn’t know.
Not every man grew up firing guns, and so it shouldn’t be assumed that every man knows how to do it. Not every man knows how to do brakes on a car or smoke ribs or lay brick for a patio. Not every man knows how to cook or swing a golf club or install windows in his home or speakers in his living room. These are things that men expect themselves to be able to do. And aside from asking Jeeves or YouTube to help us out, it’s something that few will ever learn by saying to someone else, “Hey, can you teach me?”
But together, maybe we can all learn something. And maybe we can all teach something.
That’s what made this gathering, and this group, rather unique. It wasn’t about men getting together to do what men do. It was about men getting together: to be honest, to help each other out along the way, and to have a chance to contribute to a community of like-minded men out of their own skills, passions, and expertise.
The group’s founder, John Gauger, will probably be a little bit uncomfortable with his name being printed here, because he’s humble and not eager to take the spotlight. But if you’re really going to understand what makes this group work, you’ll need to understand a thing or two about him. In talking with him, you’ll learn about the fire that’s grown in his belly lately about what it means for men to be in authentic relationship with each other. You’ll hear him talk about the need for men to understand who they are and how they’re wired if they’re ever going to lead or follow well. You’ll hear about how he defines manhood and masculinity, and you’ll hear him speak unapologetically about those things in a way that refreshes and calls you to something deeper. Something sweeter.
John’s vision and drive for the Fathers for Liberty group makes you realize that if you’re not careful, the call to a life of significance and selflessness will be deafened and replaced by urgent demands and a nagging voice that speaks messages that steal, kill, and destroy.
A Cord of 3 Strands
Being a good man is hard even for someone who’s trying to give it all he's got. If we’re ever going to do it right, then we need each other, living life alongside other men who are committed to the same things and responding to the same call.
The verse that summarizes this group and its purpose is Ecclesiastes 4:12, which says, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Together we can do better; be better.
As the 2021-22 school year continues, the Fathers for Liberty events will continue to be held monthly. Sometimes we’ll be learning a skill or discussing parenting. Sometimes we’ll be shooting things. Regardless of any given Saturday’s agenda, the mission will remain the same - Giving men a place where they can learn and teach, where they can get better at doing life in a way that refreshes and calls them to something deeper. Something sweeter.