About age 13, the question arises and it is “the” question of the masculine journey – “Do I have what it takes? Am I a man?” It defines our life as men. We get it answered through older men in their affirmation, validation and initiation through experiences in adventure and hard work. Like when your Dad or Granddad tasks you to do something for the first time by yourself and you think “Wow, he thinks I’ve got what it takes and he thinks I can do this.”
The heart of the cowboy is wounded at this stage when he doesn’t have any of these experiences – when he never ventures out, never takes risks and never has those experiences that test him. Or it is wounded when he does and he has failures and his Dad labels him – “you’re a Mama’s boy” or “You’re an idiot” or a “whimp”.
Teddy Roosevelt knew he was an unfinished man and so he put himself into hard places, learned to hunt, took on hard work with his hands and tools = he went into that unfathered place and got it.
So the encouragement to you is to fix things at your home. Fix the broken sprinkler. Fix the busted door. Go to Home Depot, ask for help, watch youtube videos, figure it out and then do it. Don’t just call someone.
Without these experiences, we become men who won’t take risks, who are hesitant, soft, stay in areas where we feel safe. It’s wrong to let a man stay on the couch or the boy to stay in front of the video game. Seek adventure with other men. Your heart loves being a part of something and being invited up into something big.
The risk is that you find something you’re good at and you lock onto it. Work. It’s safe. I can do it. “I can do my job” and so you go there. All your energy is poured into work and you disengage from the rest of life. Work becomes your life. You don’t need to take risks, work justifies you. It justifies a small existence. And so everything else in his life suffers because work is his life. The contra is true as well – that we can become adventure junkies and just spend our lives seeking the next, greatest adventure. And that’s a small life too because where is the wife? Where is the investment in the kids? Where is community? We must seek an appropriate balance here.
If you’ve missed this as a man – go get it. It’s there. God can take you there. You can learn to hunt or to fix a lawnmower or build a table. It’s never too late. You can pick up deer hunting at age 40. You can learn to fish at 50. You can learn woodworking or plant a vegetable garden. You can hike the Appalachian Trail. It doesn’t have to be outdoors – though we suggest that because there is something about nature that tests us – adventure can be starting a new ministry, working at a food bank or starting a small group of men. The point is, adventure is just beyond your comfort zone. Will you take the step?
It seems like God allows hardships in our lives because there is something He wants to surface. It’s one thing to be told you have what it takes, it’s quite another to be tested and see there is actually a resolve in you that rises up in the face of adversity.
So the question for you today is “At what point in your life do you find adventure?” Where is it? Are you living any adventure?