Good question. I think it’s a mystery actually… but it happens.
In my book ‘The Definite Dad’, chapter 3, I touch on when it happened to me.
In 2009 it was the start of my oldest sons first year of college. As he packed up and headed off I started having this heavy, recurring feeling that I wasn’t a man. I never felt like much of a man coming out of high school at the age of eighteen. Dropping my son off and helping him unload everything was bitter sweet… my little boy, all growed up. On the drive home I started to recall when I was coming out of high school. Back then college for me wasn’t even mentioned, not four year college anyway.
The opportunity I was looking at was a tech school in Houston, Texas, for diesel mechanics and automotive technicians.
Up to this point I had not talked with my folks about my future at all. I went to a recruiting meeting for the Tech school with three of my buddies just to see what was going on and ended up being interested in it.
When I brought the information home and let my folks know the recruiter would be stopping by in a couple of days they really didn’t say anything about it. When the day came we all sat at the kitchen table and started a nice conversation.
The recruiter finished up and waited to hear what we had to say.
It was only a second of silence… but in my house a short pause like that from my old man put you on high alert!
“Are you going to be down there keeping an eye on the four of them?” My dad said that to the recruiter.
“Well no… I work up here in the recruiting department.”
“Well… I grew up down there… and I know what goes on down there… “
Then my dad offered this up, kinda mid-sentence, “What about the military? What do you think about that?”
That basically ended the meeting. The recruiter could see trying to convince my dad was sooo not worth it.
He said, “Thank you for your time, I have another recruitment meeting I have to get to.”
That was it.
He left and my dad went into the living room.
Needless to say… I didn’t end up going to Texas. Probably a good thing. My friends did, all three of them. They came back and two basically hated the third one. I have never found out exactly why, or what transpired down there for that to happen.
Like I said, “Probably a good thing I didn’t go.”
That left me with these options…
- Join the military…we never discussed it further as a family
- Try to get a factory job in the immediate area
Going to the local tech school or trying to go to a four year college… just didn’t seem financially feasible, they may have been, but I suffer from a poverty stricken spirit… I also suffered from straight up poverty growing up… so NOT going to school seemed the only real option.
I know better now… but as they say, “Timing is everything and hind sight is 20/20.”
As I made my way home from dropping my son off at school I started thinking of questions I could ask Google that would help me to identify my feelings of un-manliness.
I can’t remember what the first question was but it led me to…
Brett McKay and his site… https://www.artofmanliness.com/
That started the whole thing for me… a feeling led to an internal review that led to a question for Google that led to a resource that led to show me that I wasn’t alone in the search to determine what kind of man I was… if I was one… the website showed me how many men out there had that same feeling… at some point… and who now were in the process of forging their own manly character… and having it settled in their mind that, “Yes. I am a man. Now what?”
A cool thing happened half way through my sons second semester. He called me to check in. We caught up a bit and just before we were done I said, “Hey, I read such and such an article on this new site I found called The Art of Manliness, you should check it out.”
He said, “Yeah I found that site about a month ago and follow it, I read the same article.”
How cool is that. After that when we would catch up we would check and see if we were keeping up on our manliness articles… he was working on his beard… I was learning about Marcus Aurelius.
The thing I find interesting is that the McKays started in 2008. And 2008 and 2009 have been coming up in my research of other men’s endeavors… and my own.
Another quirky thing happened in 2009… I started serious journaling. I have 11 years worth of notebooks, full of notes; thoughts; questions; stories; experiences; and everything in-between.
I have found it to be the greatest tool in my self-examination process. There are quite a few famous men of history who also were serious about their journals.
With my Christian beliefs I now believe it was a work of The Holy Spirit who placed that weight on my heart and started the whole process moving forward.
Regardless of your beliefs… do you have any? If you are having a ‘feeling’ about being a man… take action, follow up on it.
To help Encourage, Equip & Engage you… here are three links that might help…