Review of Keys to the Kingdom by Alison Armstrong
Ms. Armstrong began her study of what makes men tick in 1991 and her staff gives “Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women®” workshops around the country. Her focus is on creating peace and partnership between men and women.
She shares some of her findings in her novel, Keys to the Kingdom. The novel format makes the information easy to digest. In fact, you don’t really mind that she repeats the same information in different words because one character is telling someone new. It’s a non-annoying way to review the concepts.
What are those concepts? She focuses on the stages of men’s development from birth to old age, how to tell what stage they are in, and how to deal with them effectively at each stage. When a woman doesn’t understand what’s going on with the men in her life, it is easy to be frustrated, hurt and angry. And to make matters worse, most men don’t understand what is happening for them, so they can’t explain it to the women they love.
The stages’ names are based on medieval terms:
- Page: Birth to puberty. “Wannabe Knights”; they want adventure on their (a child’s) scale.
- Knight: Puberty until late twenties/early thirties. Characterized by a drive for adventure, fun, challenge, passion.
- Prince: Late twenties/early thirties through 40-45ish. Focus is on who he wants to be in his life, what he wants to accomplish, and goes about bringing that to bear, even at the neglect of his wife and family, even though he says (and truly believes) he is working this hard for their benefit.
- King: 40+. Kings are confident of who they are. They may not have acquired a lot of material wealth, but they are generous, whether with gifts, time, attention or affection.
- Elder: Later years, near the end of his life. Not all men become Elders. A man’s life is complete. There is nothing to do but enjoy life, explore what he’s curious about, appreciate his blessings and serve humanity.
There’s also a “state” — not really a stage — called “The Tunnel” which most of us would label midlife crisis. This occurs during the transition between Prince and King. A man questions what he’s achieved and become, and can be dissatisfied at this point. He can then become withdrawn, difficult, uncommunicative, and a challenge to be around.
I am not doing these explanations justice, but wanted to give you a flavor of the concepts. She describes each one much better and in more depth, and what women can do to effectively communicate with men who are in the various stages.
Alison’s belief, as explained through her characters, is that incorporating this information into your behavior with the men around you, transforms your relationship to all men for the better.
Based on the age of most of my potential suitors, they should be in the “King” stage, but I’ve found many of them to behave like they are in the “Knight” stage — wanting adventure and fun, with no maturity about — or perhaps just not the desire to do — what it takes to be in a relationship. So I don’t think we should hold the age ranges as gospel. I’m wondering if maybe men can revert to a previous stage, based on their life circumstances. So, for example, after a divorce, with their newfound freedom, they are feeling more Knight-like, at least when it comes to relationships. She didn’t address this in the book.
I found this an interesting read and worth the time.
(You can buy the eBook for $9.95, or the hard copy online for $15.95, plus shipping. In-stores price: $19.95.)
I took the 3-hour introduction to the “Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women®” workshops, which is called “Making Sense of Men™” and found some of the concepts instructive. Alison has found a way to organize some of the information many of us know into a useful context and format. I’ll share what I learned in another posting.
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