Manvotional: There Is Always a Time for Heroism

by Brett & Kate McKay on October 5, 2013 · 21 comments

in A Man's Life, Manvotionals


“There Is Always a Time for Heroism”
By GR Jordan
From The Emerging Revival, 1946

Once Wendell Phillips and a young friend were sitting by the fire. It was a memorable evening. Recollections had flushed the cheeks of the veteran campaigner. Memories of former heroic days had loosened his tongue. He had completely lost himself in the thrilling recital of the past. The young visitor sat enthralled. At last, when he recognized that the evening was far gone, he rose with a start. “Mr. Phillips,” he exclaimed, as he grasped the older man’s hand, “if I had lived in your time, I think I would have been heroic too!” The veteran, who had accompanied his young visitor to the door, was noticeably aroused. As he pointed down the street, he drew the attention of his companion to flaunting indications of audacious vice. His voice was tremulous with indignation as he exclaimed: “Young man, you are living in my time, and in God’s time! Be sure of this: No man could have been heroic then who is not heroic now.”

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Xach Taylor October 6, 2013 at 12:11 am

So mote it be!

2 Kammes October 6, 2013 at 2:11 am

I think that if we make a conscious decision each morning that we will go through discomforts – big or small – in order to assist our fellow man, we would become as heroes in somebody’s eyes eventually.

3 Jim Collins October 6, 2013 at 6:18 am

Esteemed Heroes,

Let each of us inspect those things we bemoan in the world and then ask, “What can I do to ameliorate this?” It is not likely to be dramatic and is not likely to make us each the protagonist in a movie; but we can each be the hero of our own story. If we pay attention, we will meet other heroes on our way.


Jim Collins

4 Jeremy October 6, 2013 at 7:46 am

I could not agree more with this article. It was moving, humbling and ennobling at the same time as I read it, and it could have come at no better time.

It’s not the time that makes the hero – it’s a steadfast determination to do what is right, though all around you may be doing wrong or indulging in, as the author says, the ‘flaunting indications of audacious vice.”

That, like the heroic concept itself, is timeless. Thank you for posting this!

5 Terry S. October 6, 2013 at 7:47 am

Reminds me of Robison’s poem Miniver Cheevy. I sometimes get caught up in wishing I was born in a different time. I thought the movie Midnight in Paris made some good points on wanting to be alive in a different era. We can’t help when we are born, but we can choose to live fully in the time we are given! Carpe Diem Gentlemen!

6 Sunil Mohan October 6, 2013 at 8:05 am

What an awesome way to start my Sunday morning. Sometimes I find myself rethinking the past and wishing I could go back or be a part of something greater in a different time, like a WWII paratrooper or a fireman rushing into the Twin Towers. But I know I have to let go of the past but also learn from it to be a warrior and fulfill my purpose in this era. Even if I’m not meant to be a fighter by physical means, the warrior energy also lives in heart and mind.

By the way, I’ve been practicing Napoleon Hill’s cabinet technique that you mentioned and it has worked immensely: Theodore Roosevelt is always telling me to follow my ideals and make progress – “The Man in The Arena’ always at the back of my mind. Lt. Richard Winters is always helping me write down my goals to the intricate detail on my notepad and if I start getting sloppy I hear him yelling “Get going forward!” The details he told me to write down were invaluable to doing better on my math exam and really helped me push for the better grade. During the exam I could feel his presence (I know it’s strange) but his memory got me through that because I knew he led his men through D-Day and Bastogne and he will lead me through this. I trusted him and I trusted myself. Plus, while I was studying, in the background, I could hear a tank explosion and Gen. Patton laughing and telling me “Just do your very damndest and raise hell, kid. We’re not building foxholes, we are constantly advancing all night long so move it!” Also, John Nash came around and gave me advice on solving some tricky calculus and also reminded me to eat a turkey sandwich and take a break. When the exam was over, even though I knew I got a few wrong, I also knew that I made progress and I could tell that TR was proud of me and that was why I didn’t lay out like a depressed log that evening. The Cabinet method really works and is a great way to exercise the creative imagination to build our own personal leadership from the inside out.

Mr. and Mrs. McKay thank you for all of your wonderful articles. I was wondering if there could be one specifically on Richard Winter’s style of leadership for a Manvotional of Lessons In Manliness, in particular to his sense of integrity, discipline, compassion, and humility, as well as taking on responsibility so selflessly to lead his men through D-Day (the great success at Brecourt manor) but also how he handled leadership in what seemed darker times (failures during Operation Market Garden) and the dwindling supplies, cold, and artillery attacks in the Battle of the Bulge. In a time when young guys seem to want to be leaders just for the glory of it, we need to be reminded that leadership is about service, pus Lt. Winter’s invaluable lessons can be great for college men to navigate the battlefield of their 20s and addvancing in their future careers to become better leaders.

Thanks gain and Happy Sunday.

7 David Y October 6, 2013 at 9:55 am

Another great manvotional.

There are always challenges to be faced whether large or small. It is up to us to meet those challenges.

8 jerry October 6, 2013 at 10:20 am

Kammes…you are my hero now just for having the knowledge that you spoke unafraid.

9 jerry October 6, 2013 at 10:24 am

Sunil Mohan…whatever horse you ride…ride it like you own it and it will respond if it knows you love for it.

10 Evan October 6, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Truth! A hero is he who strives to do what is right every minute of the day. “Great accomplishments do not make heroes or cowards, they simply unveil them to the eye.” Great post!

11 Lantern Jack October 7, 2013 at 10:14 am

Amen! A somewhat similar dialogue is reported to have occurred between the ancient Athenian leader Themistocles, who defeated the Persians, and a visitor from a small town who taunted him.

Visitor: You owe your glory not to yourself, but to your great city of Athens.

Themistocles: True, I would not have become famous had I been born in your small town. But you would not have become great and powerful even if you had been an Athenian.

12 Jordan Ward October 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm

It’s particularly of note to those who are prone to identifying impending events as the tipping point for personal change. If you want to do or be something than do or be it. Opera Non Verba.

13 Pennywise October 7, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Beautiful. And very true. I have just understand that heroism not only live in biographies.

14 David Naas October 8, 2013 at 9:23 am

All true. But you must remember that heroes need training.
For which, I would suggest the writings of the Roman Stoics. Nothing exemplifies ordinary everyday heroism like these men. Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Cicero. They lived what they preached.
A good introduction is a modern interpretation of the Enchiridion of Epictetus, “The Art of Living”, by Sharon Lebell. Reading that, and putting its lessons into practice, might encourage an investigation of the others.

15 Adam October 8, 2013 at 11:30 am

this story is great. More people should live their lives as a warrior. Not a soldier but a warrior. One who is heroic, dedicated, honorable, lives life to the fullest, is disciplined, one who learns and wants to continue to learn. That is a real warrior. Some soldiers are warriors others are just soldiers. The world would be better if more warriors lived.

16 Nick October 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm

A great read once again from the McKay couple.

I feel as though as if people nowadays will make excuses and thresholds to refrain themselves from doing something out of their comfort zone such as acts of heroism. All that has been thrown out of the window when the veteran basically said, “You live in God’s time and regardless of the time era you live in, you should always be heroic.” No holds barrels, no half-measures, you should always do what is righteous if given the opportunity.


17 Brett McKay October 8, 2013 at 10:39 pm


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and Great suggestion about Winters! I’ve actually had doing such a post on Winters on our to-do list for a really long time. Unfortunately the list is very long but I promise we’ll eventually get to it!

18 Sebastian October 10, 2013 at 8:15 pm


There are no excuses to be accomplishing something extraordinary right now.

There’s no such thing as “if I was in his position I would’ve been great too”

If you’re meant for greatness, prove it.

19 Ben October 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm

That brings a favorite quote of mine to mind. “Envy the country that has heroes, huh? I say pity the country that needs them.” Meaning pity the people who among their number can’t count even one person who will rise to a heroic occasion and do what needs done.

20 Brady J. November 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm

This line is now on a 3×5 card along with other small scriptures and quotes that I try to memorize. I feel if you cannot do so now, you may not ever.

(also, Jim Collins reads AoM!? I must be doing something ‘great’)

21 Jim Collins December 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Esteemed Brady J,

I am not the Jim Collins of wide repute – a man whose writings have benefited me; but rather another.

Still, I do not doubt that you are doing something great.


Another Jim Collins

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