As Westerners we do a pretty poor job of introducing our boys to manhood.
By the time my youngest boy Zac was about to turn 13, I thought of a couple of things I could do to help him journey from ‘boyhood to manhood’.
I didn’t think they were all that special, but this story came up when I was having coffee with Gareth Andrews of ‘Life Again’ – a foundation that targets men who struggle with transitions in life.
Our discussion highlighted that we are mostly ill prepared for these transitions, not just as ‘young men’ but also when we ‘retire’ or even when at 40 we may be married, have a family, mortgage and yet also have many unfulfilled goals.
Zac was nearly the end of his 12th year on this planet. I said I would take him to breakfast for his 13th Birthday. As he was dressed in school uniform he thought we would be going around the corner.
Instead we headed to Avalon Airport – “I’m taking you to Sydney for breakfast” (I had packed a bag for him which was concealed in the boot) – “school can wait!”
That night we did the Twilight Bridge climb over Sydney Harbour and the next day canyoning in the Blue Mountains before heading home!
A day or so later, I got together a bunch of my special mates together and invited Zac as the special guest. Although we did talk about a lot of light stuff, my mates talked about the challenges (and delights) about being a bloke.
The highlight for me was my good friend Bill Sayers who handed $100 cash to Zac and said, “Take your mum out somewhere special for dinner”
I’ve always remembered Bill’s generosity and clear message to Zac to always respect and honour his mum.