By Gary Lloyd
Big Oak Ranch founder John Croyle signed copies of his new book, “The Two Minute Drill to Manhood: A Proven Game Plan for Raising Sons,” on Saturday at Books-A-Million in Trussville.
Croyle was an All-American football player at the University of Alabama.
The book offers a game plan for raising and preparing children for the two-minute drill of life. Croyle bases the plan on his experience of raising his own two biological children — former University of Alabama and NFL quarterback Brodie, and former University of Alabama basketball player and homecoming queen Reagan — and the more than 1,800 boys and girls who have lived on the Ranch.
The book explains how in football, the last two minutes are crucial — the whole game builds to those moments that can determine the final outcome. “The Two-Minute Drill to Manhood” is Croyle’s game plan that will help moms and dads make sure their sons are ready for authentic manhood.
The book centers around the seven acronyms derived from the word “manhood” — master, ask and listen, never compromise, handle your business, one purpose, one body and don’t ever, ever, ever give up.
“Those seven things we feel like are key to making a boy into a man,” Croyle said.
Croyle said Brodie will eventually take his spot operating the Ranch. Reagan has been working with the kids there for seven years.
Croyle said there is a shortage of heroes for boys to look up to these days, using Rambo and John Wayne as past examples. He said his idea of a hero is not a guy from “Twilight” with fangs, running around biting people. He’s also not big on video games at the Ranch.
“I don’t want to be a man with a great big thumb, I want to be a man with a great big heart,” he said.
All the book’s proceeds will go to the children at the Big Oak Ranch, which Croyle founded in 1974 as a home for children between the ages of 6 and 18 who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Big Oak Ranch, Inc. operates Big Oak Boys’ Ranch in Gadsden, Big Oak Girls’ Ranch in Springville and Westbrook Christian School in Rainbow City.
Croyle said he meets with every child who wants to come to the Ranch, and he makes them four promises: he’ll love the child, never lie to the child, will stick with the child until he or she is wrong and to not cross boundaries.
“That’s what God put me on earth to do,” he said.
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