Man, I really hate that title as it makes me sound like I have all the answers.  Yet now just turning 40 I honestly feel like I have more questions than I did when I was in my 20’s.  Maybe my questions are just different.  My hope and invitation as you read these 4 ideas of how a man grows is that they are more mystery than formula. Trust me when I say that answers can be found inside these 4 contexts.

A Community of Fathers

"One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters." -George Herbert

I know this sounds weird but a community of older men is what younger men need, all bringing different skills and wisdom to be passed down.  Men from different walks of life who are white collar, blue collar, spiritual, and practical.  A crucial piece of “evaluated experience” is our need for older men to invest in us and to help interpret our successes and failures.

Brothers

“Brotherhood is not just a Bible word. Out of comradeship can come and will come the happy life for all.” -Heywood Broun

Some things we walk through as men are ours alone, but most of our life needs to be walked out and lived with others.  Life must be processed and experienced with like-minded peers. To play, work, and worship along side other men, unified by a common mission is crucial.  In these relationships, you learn to bleed together and realize your blood is the same color.


Wilderness

"In God's wildness lies the hope of the world - the great fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness." - John Muir

I believe it is significant that Teddy Roosevelt, right after his mom and wife died in the same day, he went west and got lost in the wilderness.  How wilderness affects a man’s soul is a mystery.  Yet it is a deep affect and gives a man a place to get lost, to find oneself, and one’s God. Time in the wilderness is a test of a man where he discovers it’s not all up to him and that the real world is much bigger than his idea of reality. For me personally, the wilderness is a place that gives me the freedom to have more questions than answers.


Valuable Work Experiences

"It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man." -Benjamin Franklin

Blue Collar, White Collar, Green Collar; whatever you want to name it. Diversified work experiences for a young man is invaluable. Besides understanding the heart of woman, work may be the greatest mystery to man and to know how to handle it well. Work is sewed so close to our hearts as men, it is knitted into our identity. Whether he is digging ditches, crunching numbers, wearing a suit, or a hardhat.  A young man finds what he is made of in the workforce, humping it out like every other man. I also know it is imperative that a young man get a paycheck for his labor. We must feel like our labor matters and that it is productive.

Like I said in my opening paragraph, these 4 ideas are an invitation. What if these ideas are calling to us as men?  What if we get to be intentional in these places?  It takes effort and courage to seek out fathers and brothers to share life with.  Awareness and honesty is required to look at your job as more than just a job but as a place of challenge and growth.  What if the wilderness is a place of solitude, reflection, or time to understand who you are and Who’s your are.

-Cory Smith

Co-Founder Training Ground