I find myself writing about manhood from the perspective of one who never had his dad help him to know he was a man.
And from the experience of working at an, all boys, residential therapy program for over twenty-one years, working with court ordered, and at risk youths… with a very large percentage not having a dad at all, and some having no family at all.
That is a crippling weakness… one of father-lessness.
I thought I identified a personal weakness recently when doing a personal assessment… how could I, in my Emerging Man effort, relate to a young man with questions about his manhood WHO DID HAVE a dad, a good dad, who did the best job he could do raising him.
The kid, the young man, is strong, healthy, has a good support system of family and friends, brightest of the bunch mind you… but has many of the same questions… as I do… concerning ones personal manhood?
I looked at that young man, and said, “What do you mean I never taught you anything?”
Pretty humbling when it’s your own kid.
He’s 22, smart as whip, and has been coming to talk to me about being a man, what it means to know yourself, and how do we find out the answer to the age old question, “Who are you?”
We’ve come to realize that for some cosmic reason… we are in the same boat.
He said, “I don’t know how to do anything!”
I said, “I asked you to help out in the garage, you said “no,” but I was more worried about your mental strength and character. Plus… you changed your own car battery the other day, didn’t ya?”
He at 22, which I think is a natural healthy age to have these questions… and me at 50, leaning heavy on 51… with many of the same questions concerning my own personal manhood.
Which produced… The Emerging Man project.
The one thing he has that I don’t have… is a dad who is more than willing to sit and have some pretty heavy conversations concerning life, Zen, Jesus of Nazareth, ab workouts, girlfriends, car repairs… and on and on… and how a “man” would handle all those things.
If you are a man, wondering how to help another man or even your own son, remember… if your communicating together you are in the same boat. Paddle accordingly.
For you women who may find my articles while looking for a good man, I have this advice… “If you are starting a relationship with a man, and want to gauge his outlook toward women, ask him to talk about his mom. Prod and pry if you have to. And if you have to prod and pry to get him to talk about his mom… run!”
My son and I both in the same boat… (both, by the way, having excellent relationships with our moms) both paddling in the same direction on the river of life… I guess I do know exactly how to speak to a young man like that after all.
Especially if I can relate to him by being his dad, and more than willing to Encourage, Equip & Engage with him.