Real Heroes for Real Men

Our sons’ modern heroes tend to be some guy on YouTube, a sports celebrity, or a popular musician. But are these men worthy of hero status? If you were choosing, would you choose these men? Let’s take a look at a few real heroes for real men.

The 20th century alone has provided many outstanding men for our sons to emulate. Unfortunately some of the best are not a natural part of “social studies” curriculum. While a typical history of the 20th century focuses on wars, economics, and culture, it often overlooks the men who swam against the tide and stood for what was right, despite the cost. World changers are usually not part of popular culture. But they should be.

Sargent Alvin York

York was a young Tennessean who had become a Christian as a young man. When he was drafted into the U.S. Army to serve in the first World War, he became a conciencous objector (he refused to take a life). This status was denied, and he was shipped to France in 1918. What followed was a series of heroic moves that earned him the Medal of Honor for wiping out a German machine-gun nest.

You can read his autobiography (which I highly recommend — he was a humble, backwoods mountain boy and it makes for very entertaining reading!), watch the old Gary Cooper movie about his life, or watch this short documentary on YouTube:

Deitrich Bonhoeffer

He was a priest and theologian who saw the dangers of Hitler and the Nazi party. Bonhoeffer became openly outspoken against Hitler and urged the church in Germany to resist becoming one with the Nazis.

He wrote an excellent book entitled The Cost of Discipleship, which is amazingly applicable to the church today. Eric Metaxis has also written a wonderful biography of Bonhoeffer that every Christian should read.

There is a new major motion picture about his life coming soon. In the meantime, there are multiple documentaries available on Prime video and Youtube:

Jim Elliot

Jim Elliot and Nate Saint risked their lives to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the primitive Indian tribes in Ecuador. You can read a short version of their story at Christianity Today, but I highly recommend Elizabeth Elliot’s book Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot.

You might also be interested in reading the story of Nate Saint by his son Steve, in Jungle Pilot: The Story of Nate Saint.

You can watch Torchlighters movie about Jim Elliot for kids.

Billy Graham

This young preacher from North Carolina would go on to spend his life preaching the gospel and would be responsible for the salvation of thousands of souls. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has a documentary on YouTube:

And a YouTube search of his sermons will keep you busy for HOURS. His autobiography is available here:

Richard Wurmbrand

Richard Wurmbrand swam against the tide of Communism in Romania, and was imprisoned and tortured for doing so.

You can see a documentary about Wurmbrand on YouTube:

As Christians, we live in difficult times. There is so much encouragement and inspiration to be found in the true stories of the men who have gone before us. Elizabeth Elliot said, “There is nothing like the biographies of great Christians to give us perspective and help us to keep spiritual balance.” How true!

What great heroes would you add to this list? Share in the comments below!

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Nicki Truesdell

2nd-generation homeschooler, author of Anyone Can Homeschool, and mother of 5.

Texas born and raised, she is a homemaker at heart, and loves books, freedom, history and quilts. 

Nicki believes that homeschooling can be relaxed and that history is fun, and both can be done with minimal cost or stress, no matter your family’s circumstances. 

Nicki is also a member of the
Texas Home Educators Board of Directors.  

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