Souls of Steel:
How to Build Character in Ourselves and Our Kids
by Pat Williams with Jim Denney
Author Pat Williams is the Senior VP of the Orlando Magic basketball organization, and a motivational and
inspirational speaker. Perhaps more importantly he’s a father of nineteen children (five biological, fourteen
adopted). His most recent book, written in collaboration with Jim Denney, is Souls of Steel: How to Build
Character in Ourselves and Our Kids, which is couched in Christian philosophy.
The book is divided into six main sections, with chapters focusing on particular aspects of character. One bit
of insight Williams shared that I appreciated was a quote attributed to his father: "Be more concerned with your
character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are. Your reputation is merely how you are
perceived by others." The book discusses the character traits of integrity, diligence, self-control, courage,
perseverance, humility, love, responsibility, and faith, which he calls the "engine of character." At the end of
every "character chapter" is a list of how-to suggestions for parents to implement the particular character trait
Although well thought out, the book disappointed in a couple of ways. First, the excessive number of anecdotes
proved tedious and distracting. Anecdotes should be a spice, a condiment, an accompaniment to the book to highlight
a teaching point. But, the beneficial points of Williams’ book are obscured rather than highlighted by the
overabundance. Second, this is a "Christian" book, is it not? Yet, Williams sometimes counsels contrary to Bible
teaching. For instance, Williams encourages military service for our children; but, the Bible says differently.
See Matt 26:52, Matt 5:9, Lu 10:25-27, and Acts 5:29. You won’t find a single example in the Bible of a soldier
who upon becoming a Christian continued serving as one. Secular sources confirm it as well. Thus, parents need to
read with discretion. Still, in many instances, Williams makes good and appropriate scriptural suggestions
beneficial for character building.
Souls of Steel: How to Build Character in Ourselves and Our Kids has many good ideas for parents of
toddlers to teens. Williams’ book encourages parents to be the kind of persons they want their children to become.
For some parents, this may be a good place to start.
FaithWords / Hachette Book Group USA|
Feb 14, 2008|
0-446-57973-4 / 978-0-446-57973-5|
Inspirational / Christian Life / Self Help|
More at Amazon.com|