Rules of Engagement by Chad Hennings

rulesReviewed by Susan Reimers, JD

Real men need not go through life alone. Nor are they meant to, according to former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle and three-time Super Bowl champion Chad Hennings. In this highly readable book “Rules of Engagement: Finding Friendship, Faith, and Strength in a Disconnected World,” Hennings expresses his concern for those men who are finding neither satisfaction nor fulfillment in their lives. Hennings recounts those who had had some modicum of apparent success and blew it because they were investing their time and energy in illusory activities. He writes, “A man’s legacy must be more than killing time through work and killing pain through distraction.”

Given Hennings’ background – Air Force fighter pilot, nine years with the Dallas Cowboys, and founder of Wingmen Ministries – the nature and tone of the book is decidedly masculine and intended for men of all ages. Nevertheless, the practical theology that he relates transcends gender and is as applicable to women as it is to men.

Hennings unapologetically admits that he’s a Christian and credits his faith for giving him the focus to do the work necessary to best use the talents and opportunities that he believes God has given him, therefore living a richer life. It is about responsibility, relationships, and balance, themes that are weaved throughout Hennings’ book. Harkening back to his earlier days in the Air Force, Hennings has developed an intelligent outline for developing the richer life that is possible with the first six foundation steps characterized as “Boot Camp” and application steps 7-12 classified as “Active Duty.”

Despite the Christian theme, Hennings is just as likely to use football, John Wayne or a favorite philosopher to illustrate how to use the steps. Some may even say “inspired.” It is clear he has read widely and thought deeply. Even he admits that it’s easy to stereotype jocks, but that he has always had his head in a book. He also generously gives credit to the people in his life, from his father to his wife to the men of the Wingmen Ministries. He simply doesn’t subscribe to the “go it alone” mentality that so many men have been taught.

As a reader, I had some disagreement with the author’s beliefs about the gender “roles” God intended us to have, but I didn’t find that my disagreement in any way diminished the overall quality and purpose of Hennings’ book. There are some real pearls of wisdom in it that, again, would be well received by anyone who wanted to develop a deeper relationship with God, family and friends.

But I agree with Hennings wholeheartedly that there are few, if any, role models today. Like Tiger Woods and Toyota, we just don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, so it’s easier to do without. For there to be in our midst a successful athlete who has worked hard, is intelligent, is responsible, loves his wife and family and, above all, loves God, is downright refreshing.

Disclosure in Accordance with FTC Guidelines 16 CFR Part 255

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