Harrison is 13!

Writen by: Hank Wethington

Posted on 06 February 2010

IMG_6469.jpgI have been waiting for this day for a long time. About 8 years back, I took part in a “coming of age” or “rite of passage” ceremony for a friend’s kid when he turned 13. I thought it was a fantastic idea and decided then and there I wanted to do the same thing for both my boys.

The idea was to invite some men in Harrison’s life to come and  share with him their opinion of what it means to be a man, information on becoming a man, responsibilities of being a man, etc. Each of the guys came prepared to speak for about 5 minutes. They were all awesome. In talking to Harrison tonight, he was very touched and couldn’t stop talking about it. Here’s what I shared with him:

Esquire published this guide to being a man last April. Lets listen to some of the ideals of manhood:

“A man carries cash. A man looks out for those around him — woman, friend, stranger. A man can cook eggs. A man can always find something good to watch on television. A man makes things — a rock wall, a table, the tuition money. Or he rebuilds — engines, watches, fortunes. He passes along expertise, one man to the next. Know-how survives him. This is immortality. A man can speak to dogs. A man fantasizes that kung fu lives deep inside him somewhere. A man is good at his job. Not his work, not his avocation, not his hobby. Not his career. His job. It doesn’t matter what his job is, because if a man doesn’t like his job, he gets a new one…”

You get the idea. The article continued with this insight into a man. While some of the listed qualities are nice, many of them are kinda ridiculous.

Becoming a man, obviously, means many things, you’ve heard some of them today. I’m sure you’ll hear more in the future. And like the article above, some will be ridiculous, while others important. I liked what some of the people here said.

Figuring out what is truth and what is folly is an important part of being a man. Advice from friends or strangers, ads, books, magazines will be ever present. Advice on everything, from cooking, to travel, from being a man to being more in touch with your feelings. Only you will be able to determine what you should listen to and follow. Knowing how to make those choices and decisions is what separates you from childhood.

When you were a young, your mom and I made almost all your decisions for you, but gave you opportunities to make decisions. “Wear this outfit or this one?” “Eat carrots or an apple.” As you got older, bigger decisions were allowed, more open ended. “Karate or Baseball?” Even deciding to go to public school, was a decision we ultimately left in your hands. Now, bigger and harder decisions are yours; Drama class or advanced English? And you’re going to be presented with even tougher ones; to drink alcohol with your friends or leave a party? To stand for what you believe and face hardships or deny what you believe and be accepted. These are all things you, and only you will ultimately decide and the wisdom to make those decisions is what it means to be a man.

I will always be here for you to help make those tough decisions. The men here are all committed to helping you through the tough decisions in life. And most importantly, Jesus stands besides you, His Spirit willing to help guide you. I’m proud of the man you are becoming and look forward to the continued life journey ahead with you. Happy birthday Harrison!

I want to thank the guys who came and shared from their hearts today. Additionally, I want to thank Narineh for the awesome cupcakes. She writes a great design blog at http://traditionallymoderndesigns.blogspot.com/.

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