“He didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it”–Clarence Kelland
Throughout this series of articles I have stressed the importance of each of the main themes in each article (bolded). I also mentioned a few times how this is a process and not an event–that this will take time and effort and patience. Now you are here. You are at a place where this celebration can happen because of the effort and perseverance you put into the other 9 ‘gifts’ in this series. Congratulations.
The gift I am referring to includes other men and people important to the son or young man celebrating. These are people who have done their work and now gather to celebrate the culmination of the process that was started awhile back. Often times a keepsake of some kind is presented to the young man meant to be passed along to his son and his son’s son. Formally it would be called ‘a rite of passage’.. The Free Dictionary defines a rite of passage this way:
“A ritual or ceremony signifying an event in a person’s life indicative
of a transition from one stage to another as from adolescence to adulthood”.
This series has been about the challenges that some sons and many fatherless sons face when there is no healthy male role model in their lives and what must happen to assist them with their transition from boyhood to manhood. Morals and values are changing so quickly. Expectations and judgements and false beliefs make parts of this journey so complicated that many just give in or give up. In either case many of our young men are simply not getting very wise counsel. The outcomes of this lack of mentorship and guidance has seen tragic outcomes complicated by rising teen suicide rates, increased teen pregnancies, rising numbers concerning single young moms who not equipped to understand or mentor their young sons. Many fathers don’t understand or don’t care until it is often too late to change the outcomes. Perhaps they are unaware of how much their absence contributes to these statistics.
However, I would say that if you have taken the time to create a human life then the least of your responsibilities would be to hang around and try to be a responsible father to him or her. Whether that happens by staying in the home or not–rest assured it needs to happen. I understand that to stay is often painful mentally, emotionally and physically, unsatisfying, confusing and frustrating for many men right now. They are trying to figure out where their place is not only in the family home but in society as a whole. The roles have changed without a lot of conversation around what men need to do now to cope with the pace of change. Political correctness, anger and politics have all but destroyed our ability to welcome change, to moderate it and to assimilate it into our daily lives especially where it concerns men and fathers.
I also noticed in my travels that many young men have little or no idea of when and how they move from boyhood to manhood. When they can access alcohol or find drugs easily enough they begin involving themselves with more risky behaviour. The media encourages them to ‘man up’, whatever that is supposed to mean, or distorts what a ‘real man’ looks like and acts like. They imitate what they believe ‘adult’ men do. They get involved in ‘adult’ type behaviour with no little or no thought of the consequences and they certainly are not prepared to accept the consequences or pay the price for their inappropriate decisions.
All that being said many fathers do hang in. They do participate in creating that special bond that young men crave. What this rite or ceremony recognizes is the sons’ willingness to accept the importance of, not only how a man lives his life but also what he does in the world for his family, his neighbourhood and how he lives in community with others. Junior has demonstrated respect for others and their rights as well. He offers acceptance of others differences and although he may not like them he will honor their right to have them. He has demonstrated he understands the role expected of him by his peers, his family and his friends. He welcomes the opportunity to take on the challenges of day to day life and to make decisions that he can live with and live by. He is also willing to assume his place among his peers and be held accountable for his actions. His peers are ready to accept him into the ‘group’ as one of them.
I used the quote at the start of this article because I believe that the most important thing a father can do for his son is to let him (the son) just watch how his father conducts himself–how he goes about his business–how he problem solves–how he treats others and his family–what he sacrifices for the greater good–what he does to ensure that his family is taken care of–how he treats others–and how he uses the given gifts he came into this world with as a man. Men need to understand how important they are to the process of making this a better world to live in. I know that there would be a dramatic fall in the crime and violence rates among our young men; gang memberships would take a hit; fewer would be attempting to take their own lives because of desperation, frustration, feeling hopeless and helpless or of feeling all alone in the world. If more men were to accept the honor and privilege of being a father to their sons then those sons could pass this on to their sons and their sons to their sons. A Man’s Work Is Never Done—it just goes on and on.
That’s how I see it anyway, Jim
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SINCE READERS HAVE ASKED NEXT WEEK I’LL SEND OUT A SUMMARY OF ALL 10 GIFTS WITH A FEW CLOSING THOUGHTS ABOUT ALL OF THIS–THANKS FOR YOUR INTEREST AND YOUR TIME.