Your Sons: The Best Reason to Be a Better Man

A group of men and their sons—ages 6 to 25—got together for a weekend in the mountains recently. Those of you who have participated in father/son events may think you have an idea of what took place. I’ve been involved in many father/son events, some of which have been great fun and an opportunity to spend time with my son in the company of other men. But this outing was something else all together.
It went beyond Boy Scouts and beyond Indian Guides. This event was a true rite of passage for the boys, and life changing for some of the fathers. And the only reason it was the success that it was, was because of the dads who have been doing their own personal growth work, and who were willing to reveal themselves to the other men and to their sons.
The dads learned from their sons. They learned about courage, honesty and how to have real fun like only boys can. The boys learned what it looks like to be a strong, yet comfortably emotional, man. The boys saw their dads teach each other, laugh and play, as well as cry, as they spoke of their own fathers. They witnessed a ritual as one dad honored his 18 year-old son by telling him that he’s now a man, and how proud he is of the young man he has become. They saw their dads being the men they wanted to be with other men. How often does all this happen?
Some of these boys saw sights they had never seen before. The results: much deeper relationships among all of the participants, and greater respect between fathers and sons. The boys are now asking their dads, “When’s our next father/son weekend, dad?” Now that’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship; a relationship with a solid foundation wherein the son has a great chance of growing up to be a healthy and good man. This all takes place because his father is truly doing his best to be an example by maintaining his own relationships with other men, and relying on the support of others to raise his son.
It takes a community of men to raise our boys to be good men, good dads and good husbands. Dad, you don’t have to father alone. You can ask for help. There are some parenting skills that come naturally to us. But there are other challenges we face as fathers that we can conquer only with the wisdom of another dad who’s been there. That commitment to your son will make all the difference for the both of you, and all of us.