Our oldest son had just turned 12-years old. I began looking for material that would assist him in understanding what it meant to be a man. Everything I found seemed to promote someone’s book; which did not interest me. Therefore we began The unexpected journey! Below is a blog that was written as our journey progressed. Perhaps it will inspire you to be creative with your son(s) in their journey to manhood.
Hi. I am a father of two boys age 12 & 10. Next year our 12 year old enters his teen years. As I began to look around to find something to help him make this transition, I material from author’s who had researched an idea and turned it into a book. As a writer, I understand that completely. However as a father I wasn’t comfortable simply taking someone’s idea and repeating it with my sons. So, an unexpected journey was born. As you might expect the title is taken from Peter Jackson’s movie The Hobbit, which my sons and I attended the midnight showing of!
What you will read is—for the most part—raw and unedited. We have not as yet arrived at Bilbo’s home, for we have not yet developed a map to take us to The Lonely Mountain. The idea behind this journey is twofold.
First it is designed as a journey for my son and I to discover a path to manhood. This will come as we look at things that garner ideas—some which will take us down a path, others that will be discarded—that will give us a map that takes us to The Lonely Mountain.
The other is what I—as a father—consider to be an essential path for every adolescent male—especially in America—to find—the path to manhood.
It used to be that young men found that path at home following in their father’s footsteps. That began shifting in the 1950s when athletes became famous and began setting an example of how to be a man. That evolved into Hollywood role models who set examples for young men to follow.
As these role models began to be seduced by the wizard—or the dark side of the force, as taken from another movie—the path to manhood began to blur. Today this path is no longer clearly defined but rather cluttered with selfish ambitions dark deceptive intentions as well as greedy motivations.
So, there it is. You are invited to join along. The reason the journey was unexpected for Bilbo is the fact that he had no idea that Gandalf had set him up to take the journey. The reason the journey is unexpected in our case is the fact that we have no idea how it will unfold. We simply know it will take us to The Lonely Mountain!
It is important to understand I am a Christ follower. This simply means that the unction of the Holy Spirit within me along with the witness of the word of God governs my actions and decisions. This is stated for the simple reason that this journey my son and I are taking will give reference to the word of God.
It is important for me that any who should decide to join along understand that even though I am firm in my belief and convictions, it does not mean that this journey is not for you—should you decide to follow along. This journey is meant to be something very special between a father and his son. I hope this makes sense while allowing you to join the journey even if you do not agree with some steps along the way.
That being said, this is where we are at this point.
As stated earlier, we have not yet made it to Bilbo Baggins home for we are just now devising a map to use in our unexpected journey.
We have begun to draw out our map by taking a look at the book of beginnings, the book of Genesis. In the beginning God created…on the sixth day, man. This prompted some in-depth discussion. “How did this happen,” my son asked? “Did God just speak and all of a sudden a man appeared,” he wondered? So we investigated. We found three key words that helped us form an answer.
1—Make=to fashion, to put in order
2—Create=to shape, to fashion
3—Formed=to fashion, to frame
It appears this being called man was shaped, framed and fashioned by God to resemble God. But, how long did that take? We decided not to travel down that path–just to conclude that it was a process that involved God seemingly taking a “hands on” approach in this creating process.
We concluded that if God took so much time creating this man—who looked something like God—that it makes sense that he would want to spend time with him. Perhaps this will be an important part of our map! We will set this aside and see.
As we sat down today we realized that one more key word needed to be understood; the word Breathed. The book of Genesis says that God breathed—to blow out—into this creation of his. The breath of God caused this creation to come alive. The scripture states it this way, “And the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” It was here that we recognized that man has three distinct parts, a spirit—the God breathed part, a soul—the capability of having thoughts, feelings and emotions and the body—the part God formed from the ground.
This raised another question, why was man formed? Here is what we have so far.
1—Man was created to be like God
2—Man was created to take care of something
The “man was created to be like God” part was too deep to try to come to some understanding about, so we left that one alone—for now.
However, the “man was created to take care of something,” was easier to tackle. Here is what we settled on.
Man was created to take care of the earth and the things in the earth.
We decided that didn’t help us much in understanding how to take this journey, so we started asking some other questions like, “What am I to take care of?”
Here is what we are settling on right now.
I am to take care of:
1—the Holy Spirit—If the breath of God is on the inside of me, then it makes sense that I
have some responsibility towards the Holy Spirit within me to take care of my body. 2—my family—this discussion will be saved for a later day.
3—God’s possessions—we kinda wrapped up the whole “take care of earth” in this
It was from all of this that we began building an answer to our central question: What does it mean to be a man?
To date, this is our answer.
1—to look after the earth and what is in it
2—to look after your family
3—to build a relationship with God