What does it mean to be a man? When did you become a man? In this corrupt generation, what is a boy to do?
In many cultures, they mark manhood by unique rites of passage. The ancient Spartans called upon a boy to become a soldier. If he enlisted, he became a man. Deep in the Amazon jungle, the Salere-Mawe triberequires a boy to stick his in a glove covered with bullet ants. If he can do it and survive, he becomes a man. The Masai in Kenya holds an elaborate series of processes in which the older men of the tribe bring the younger into manhood.
What do we do in our culture? That depends on who you ask. Some boys are taught manhood comes with their first beer, others with their first conquest of a woman. Then some believe enlisting in the military, having your first child, or winning a sports competition is the pathway to manhood.
Included among our poor definitions of manhood are poor processes for boys to follow to become a man. As a result, many men maintain a level of wandering and frustration well into their advanced years as they continue to look for the passage and the blessing to manhood.
My friend Mike Schultz and I developed this podcast series, A Record of Manhood, to ask the question, “When did you become a man?” Interviewing six good men from various backgrounds, we looked at their stories to consider what it means to be a man and when they knew they had become men.
We are releasing the episodes in this series before and after Father’s Day in 2022.
- Episode One – Fighter, Soldier, Farmer: Terrell Spencer
- Episode Two – Basketball, Calling, and Kids: David Priest
- Episode Three – Drug Dealing, Jail, and the Inheritance: Antwan Davis