THE SUMMER OF BECOMING A MAN
I am known for having ideas. Lots of ideas. So many ideas that my 2 sons have trained themselves to just say an enthusiastic "great idea mom!" multiple times every day to whatever thought I throw into the air that lands on their ears. They know that most of them will never come to fruition, so they just give an encouraging nod to my latest vision of how to make the world a better place. This could be as simple as how to open a banana more effectively (peel from the bottom instead of the top) or a complete re-design blueprint for a Syrian refugee camp in Greece to be more of a village with a community vibe with jobs, schools, gardens, builders, and open markets within a healthy system.
But this summer I came up with a doozy - and we did it. I called it THE SUMMER OF BECOMING A MAN. This idea was born out of the limited time I have left to raise my sweet son Corban. We are on countdown mode. Counting down the months until he leaves for college in 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours 20 minutes and 7 seconds no 5, 4, 3.... This makes us panic. Panic. Did we raise him as best as we could? Did we teach him all he needs to know to be a man in the world without us looking over his shoulder? Hovering by his bedroom door peeking in and asking him questions about the latest task we hoped he had completed. How will he survive without us much less thrive? This was the heart of my latest fantastic idea!
My husband and I talked about all of the things that a GOOD man would do, know about, be aware of. We made a list. Things that he had yet to do or needed to grow in just a bit. It looked something like this:
1. Have a good job - He left Burger King job and as applying for Starbucks. Not bad for 17.
2. Drive their own car. Check!
3. Play a sport well. Ping pong and golf even pickle ball, yes pickle ball. Done.
4. Grocery shop (we can't be sexist you know, and hey, it's a basic) Love how guys just get the list.
5. Cook a healthy fresh dinner - Thank you Blue Apron!
6. Know how to change the filter in the furnace. He didn't know where or what this was.
7. Climb to the roof on a ladder (every boy's dream really) to get his Gumba's half-ball. Don't ask.
8. Change the oil in a car. We nixed this as no one needs to know how with $30 oil changes.
9. How to change a tire.
10. Ask a girl on a date and show her a nice time. We may have to give up on this one. He is SO SHY.
11. Play in a rock band. (Juan thought this was important.)
12. Take Dave Ramsey's Full Online Personal Financial Management Class. Check.
13. Take John Bevere's Full Online Workshop on how to know your Calling in Life. Did it.
14. Plan, prepare, pack and execute an overnight camping trip with his little brother. (It rained the WHOLE time but he had a great attitude and they had a great time anyways)
15. Help the poor. Going on The Relief Bus in NYC to help the homeless is a staple in our family.
16. Invite over friends to have a fun time and be a great host with drinks and food.
17. Run errands for the family.
18. Build something out of wood for the backyard.
19. Study 2 hours a day for the SAT with consistency and diligence.
20. Lead a devotional that is from the heart.
I am sure we could come up with many more things. And we did do a few that seemed more like chores in the yard to be honest, but for the most part, we tried to stick to things that would help Corban to "BECOME A MAN."
We are missing some of these "rights of passage" in our American culture. The Jewish culture has the Bar mitzvah which happens at the ripe old age of 13. But what about when a young man is on the cusp of venturing out into the world? Why not have a "Right of Passage" created by his very own family full of activities, ideas, and adventures that will help to make the transition more fun. The last night of Summer, the day before his first day of Senior year, we are going to hold a ceremony. A right of passage of our own making.
The ceremony will consist of our oldest son Corban leading a devotional at Washington Rock. A special place in New Jersey where we live that General George Washington looked out to see the British movements to keep his troops safe. We will then give him a token, a gift to wear that will remind him of his "Summer of Becoming a Man" and of his commitment to integrity, purity, and to be a man of God. Oh, and a BIG knife. Men like that.
Maybe you would like to create a "Summer of Becoming a Man" for your son one day? If so, enjoy every moment as the countdown clock is ticking... tick tock tick tock.