A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the need to train up godly men. I highlighted the problem that we are facing in culture. Men define themselves through money, sex, and sports. I noted that these definitions are insufficient, but instead, men need to be people that have meaningful relationships and be given to service to others. Some of the feedback I got, which was warranted, was how to develop boys into men. Here are a few of my thoughts.
Step Back Parents
Maybe I am going to get in a ton of trouble, but parents are over-involved in managing boys. Think about the message that a young boy might get from his parents. "Go outside and play." The boy travels outside. He plays. Ten minutes later, a parent is yelling for him. Play, explore, do, but whatever you do, do not leave my sight. No wonder young boys struggle to become men. No one will let them be boys. There are names for this reality: helicopter parents, Lawnmower mom, and the anxious parent. I think we have allowed the need for safety to trump the need for a young man to explore the world independently.
Rite of Passage
Charity and I were hiking in the Garden of the Gods, which is in Colorado Springs. There was a sign that pointed to Pikes Peak, which the information that the local Native American tribes used the hike of the mountain as a rite of passage. Yes, there rite of passage events today, almost too much, like graduation for kindergarten, sixth grade, High School, and when you got your first tooth. These are nice, but we need hard and mean hard challenges for our boys. A lot of cultures had a time in which a boy would transition to a man. We need this back: Not a sign, not a cake, not a water fight, but a battle that he has to be tested. Jesus told Peter that he had to be tested by Satan. It had to happen for him to be the leader he would become.
At Castle Rock, I take young people on hikes to the top of 14,000-foot mountains, and once someone finishes the goal, that person receives a mountain name. He earned it. It does not have to be a physical test, but it has to be a test.
I Love You
We tease men about a “man card.” If you do something that is not manly, someone is going to take that man card away. No one wants this. As men, to help a young boy become a man, he has to be loved by a man he respects. It is not performance-based, but person based. I do not love you because you scored in the big game. I love you because I love you. There is a lot of negative showboating by men because of the wound of not having a man show them a love for being themselves. It was connected to performance. We hold a boy accountable because of love, not a wound than another man has to prove himself through the boy. Jesus showed love to his disciples, not because of the worthiness of the men, but because he was loved.
There is much more on this topic, but it is super important. Thank you for all the feedback, too—such an important issue.