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The ANZAC Spirit, and the State of Manhood Today


The ANZAC legend was revealed to the world on April 25, 1915, and on countless occasions since… initially through those men who served in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Those men radiated what is referred to and remembered today as, the ANZAC spirit… consistently living out and demonstrating the following honourable and virtuous character attributes… in no particular order… 1. Mateship & Brotherhood 2. Courage & Valour 3. Perseverance & Endurance 4. Transcendence & a Willingness to Sacrifice Truth be known however, most men who lived during that time, whether they served their country during times of conflict or not, lived by the same code. Most knew when it was they became a man, and most knew what it meant to be a man. But oh how the landscape of masculinity in our Nation, and in our world, has shifted… within just one Century. Let’s ask the tough questions of ourselves, and let’s together initiate real and lasting…

3 Benefits of One-On-One Time


One-on-one time between a father and his child is essential, to ensure that child knows, deep within his or her innermost being, that he or she is unconditionally loved, accepted, and belongs... which is the most important message that every child needs to receive from their Dad, in order to live a whole and healthy life, and experience whole and healthy relationships, for a lifetime. For me (Darren), one-on-one time is non-negotiable. It is with great pleasure, that I introduce the following guest blogger... a man whom I respect greatly... a Pioneer in the international "fatherhood" movement... Mr Carey Casey, and specifically his recent short but crucial blog post, "3 Benefits of One-On-One Time"... If you have more than one child, sometimes you still need to go one-on-one. I often challenge dads to commit to that “alone” time with each of their children. Here are three powerful reasons: 1. One-on-one time lets kids know they are very important. Your kids…

5 Essentials for Raising a Teenage Boy


It is extremely rare that I share something from a guest blogger. I think I've only ever done so, on just one other occasion before. But when I read the following article by Mike McCormick, I knew I had to share it with all of the intentional fathers in my spheres of influence. He speaks my language, and the content is good and true... everything I've discovered personally as I've raised, and continued to raise, my own 4 sons into authentic manhood, and everything I've witnessed as I've guided fathers and their teenage sons (and daughters too for that matter) throughout our numerous Father-Son and Dad & Daughter Adventure experiences, over the last 7+ years.   Coming-of-age stories are some of the oldest and most beloved tales in human history—from ancient mythologies to classical literature to Hollywood blockbusters. Most of them tell of a young man’s journey to manhood and how a guru comes alongside him and shows him a…

4 Questions Every Father Should Ask Himself


Psychologists tell us that 80% of who we are today, was formed in the first 6 years of our lives. And of course the key characters in that part of the story of our lives, was our fathers and our mothers. To be the best father we can possibly be… and I truly believe that’s the desire of every father… we must first look back, and examine how it was that we ourselves were fathered, as sons. Throughout the course of each of our Father-Son Adventure experiences… I ask a series of questions to the fathers, that cause them to reflect on how it was, their relationship with their own fathers affected them. Here are just four (4) questions that every father should ask himself, to help him be the father that he longs to be:   1. Did your father ever take you away on some kind of adventure or trip… just the 2 of you? I have no…

Something Every Parent Needs to Know


A person's life is made up of a series of stages or seasons. Between each stage or season of a person's life, there is a period of transition, and those periods of transition are typically always the time when a person experiences his or her most difficult times. Typically the most difficult period of transition in a person's life, is the transition between childhood and adulthood, known as adolescence. Everything changes. And whilst change is good and healthy, change is typically always difficult. And during adolescence, when a boy and a girl are attempting to discover their respective masculine and feminine identities... those difficulties are often exacerbated by the isolation that is typically experienced during those years. Sociologists have actually performed numerous extensive studies, and reported on those studies, which reveal my earlier claim of adolescence being the most difficult time in a person's life, to be true. Below is a Personal Wellbeing Index Diagram, prepared by Dr Adrian Tomyn…

The Fatherhood Revolution Goes National


Great news! The Fatherhood Revolution continues, and it's going National. Award-winning fim-maker, Justin Hunt, has finally arrived in Australia.Tomorrow (Thursday June 13) signals the commencement of the June 13-29 Australia-wide ‘Bring Back Fatherhood’ ABSENT Premiere Screening Tour. The demand for screenings around the Nation, has exploded. Official Tour Premiere Screenings, where Justin Hunt will be in attendance... include Sydney (multiple screenings), Gosford, Nowra, Brisbane (a couple of screenings), Toowoomba, Townsville, Cairns, Wollongong, Melbourne (a couple of screenings), Canberra, Hobart, Adelaide, & Perth (a couple of screenings). The multi-award-winning documentary ABSENT, includes powerful interviews with John Eldredge (Author), Richard Rohr (Author), James Hetfield (Metallica), Johnny Tapia (former World Champion boxer), Robyn Decker (Model), and many others.   The 60 second teaser video for the 'Bring Back Fatherhood' tour, can be seen here…   And Fathering Adventures' NEW 90 second promo video will be shown as a trailer, prior to each screening of ABSENT, during the tour. You can see that here…

Ceremony in the Process of Initiation


“In many cultures throughout history, a teenage boy is taken through some type of ritual to mark his official passage into manhood. I believe one of the greatest tragedies of Western culture today is the absence of this type of ceremony.”  Dr Robert Lewis (Author) from his best-selling book, “Raising a Modern Day Knight” “Every knight remembers his dubbing as the first day of his existence.”  Georges Duby (French, influential Medieval Historian, specializing in the social and economic history of the Middle Ages) Ceremony marks the transition from one season to another. It says powerfully, forcefully, and regally, “From this point forward, life is going to be different!” The most incredible man I’ve ever met would have to be Dr Robert Lewis. He is a man who has lived well. He has lived a life of great strength and courage, honour and integrity. He’s been like a father to me... a mentor... and I’m honoured to call him a friend.…

“Testing & Challenging in the Outdoors” in the Process of Initiation


“There are some things that words cannot teach. Reading something is not the same as living it, or learning it. By reading something in a book, you may be fooled into thinking ‘I know that’. And so fail to take the journey or have the experiences that actually get you there. … For thousands of years, these secrets had to be earned, by passing through physical ordeals, fasting, vigils, or deeds of courage.”  Steve Biddulph (Australian Psychologist & Author) from his most recent book, “The New Manhood” “It’s one thing to be told you have what it takes. It’s another thing altogether to discover that you do, through some trial brought up in an adventure. … It reveals to you what you are made of and writes the lesson on your heart. For masculine initiation is not a spectator sport. It is something that must be entered into.”  John Eldredge (Author) from his book “The Way of the Wild Heart”…

“Training & Instruction” in the Process of Initiation


“The thing we have lost, the ingredient we men ourselves seem to lack, is the inner secrets, the teachings for becoming a strong and solid man.”  Steve Biddulph (Australian psychologist and author) from his most recent book, “The New Manhood” “Traditionally, 2 things were done to help young men into adulthood. First, they were ‘taken on’ and mentored into adulthood by one or more men who cared about them and taught them important skills for living. And second, at certain stages of this mentoring process, the young men were taken away by the community of older men and “initiated”. This meant being put through some serious growing up processes, including testing, sacred teaching, & new responsibilities.”  Steve Biddulph (Australian psychologist & author) from his book “Raising Boys” What does it mean to be a real man? It’s a great question! And it’s a question that I myself never had an answer to… until I was 29 years of age… after…

A Community of Men in the Process of Initiation


“For 95 percent of human history, boys weren’t launched out into adulthood, they were welcomed into it, into a lifelong support network that would work to ensure their contribution would be a good one.”  Steve Biddulph (Australian Psychologist & Author) “A boy becomes a man only through the active intervention of his father and the fellowship of men.”  John Eldredge (Author) John Eldredge in his book “The Way of the Wild Heart”, goes on to say… “Far too much has fallen on the shoulders of the Father alone. It takes a company of men to bring a boy into the masculine world, and to bring young men along in their maturity.” I’ve felt the weight of that burden myself over the years. Why? Because too few men today experience real community with other men. Most men have male acquaintances… guys they work alongside of… guys they share a drink with socially… but very few actually ever experience real friendships with…

A Dad’s Role in the Process of Initiation


“There’s a saying in the South: ”No man is a man until his father tells him he is.””  Burt Reynolds  (Actor) “The glory of sons are their fathers.”  King Solomon Hollywood Actor Burt Reynolds, was widely viewed in the 1970s and early 1980s as the quintessential man. Appearing in over 50 movies, I remember Burt Reynolds from his roles in the “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Cannonball Run” movies, and their subsequent sequels. Almost every man at the time wanted to be just like Burt Reynolds… an action man and sex symbol. Yet few were aware that he was just like the rest of us men… acting and pretending… hiding behind a persona that we men typically tend to create for ourselves… of what we believe society requires a man to be and do. It wasn’t until an interview with Dotson Rader in 1992, at the age of 56 years, that the truth of this in Burt Reynolds’ life was…

The Process of Initiation – from Boyhood to Manhood


“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”  St Paul “In many tribal cultures, it is said that if boys were not initiated into manhood, if they were not shaped by the skills and love of elders, then they would destroy the culture. If the fires that innately burn inside youths are not intentionally and lovingly added to the hearth of community, they will burn down the structures of culture, just to feel the warmth.”  Michael Meade  (Author) Why are really alive and mature men so rare today? Steve Biddulph (Australian Psychologist and author) in his most recent book, “The New Manhood”, provides the answer. Because the majority of boys and young men today are not guided through “a carefully managed process” of initiation… something that all cultures offered in some form, prior to the commencement of…

Inside one of our 5 Night Father-Son Adventures


One week ago today marked the close of yet another successful, and more importantly, significant 5 Night Father-Son Adventure. Because we do so many more Adventure Weekends (for boys & girls aged between 7 & 13 years), and because those experiences are always so much more powerful than one ever expects, I myself can tend to forget just how incredibly life-changing and life-giving our 5 Night Father-Son Adventures actually are. We had a full contingent of twelve (12) Father-Son pairs join us for their adventure of a lifetime, and once again, they came from all over Australia, and the world. Two (2) father-son pairs flew Down Under from Washington State in the U.S.A. (Seattle and Spokane), five (5) father-son pairs flew North from Victoria (2 pairs from Melbourne, one pair from Ballarat, & 2 more pairs from Wodonga), two (2) pairs flew North from New South Wales (one pair from Sydney, and the other pair from Wollongong), and finally three…

A Mother’s Role in the Masculine Initiation of her Son


Dear precious Mother, Firstly I would like to encourage you, to encourage & support your son and his father, uncle, grandfather, mentor, or significant male other, to participate in one of our 5 Night Father-Son Adventures. I acknowledge that it would be a sacrifice for you… especially in regards to time and finances... although I firmly believe that you will all be richly rewarded for those sacrifices... as has been the case in the lives and families of so many already. I imagine that in so many ways, it seems like just yesterday that your now teenage son was born. The birthing process was not complete until the umbilical cord between he and the placenta which your body grew to sustain & nourish him during pregnancy, was severed. The cord was cut, and it was then that I imagine you held your baby boy in your arms, and nothing else that was happening in the world seemed to matter. It’s highly…

Isaac’s Invitation into a Community of Men Weekend


It was early Saturday morning December 11, 2010, and I had organised 5 other men to join me… to call my second son Isaac (14 years of age) out of the world of boys & women, and call him into a community of men, as I had done for his older brother 3 years earlier. This was to be just one of the numerous moments Isaac will experience during his 2-year long vision quest, which commenced on his 13th birthday, and will conclude on his 15th birthday with a final ceremony and celebration. It’s his rite-of-passage… the years set apart for him to transition out of the stage of boyhood, and initiated into young manhood. I had planned a weekend away for us all… a weekend of adventure (abseiling… rappelling for those of my American friends reading… and fishing)… a weekend of masculinity bestowing masculinity… a weekend where my son would experience first-hand how real men have fun together… preparing…

The Importance of the Outdoors in Raising Children


One morning I posed a very simple question to my sons that resulted in some very interesting responses and lengthy conversation. “What are your all-time favourite experiences / memories?” Immediately their answers began to flow like a river in flood. Visits to theme parks, the beach, camping, and the first time ever riding a motor-bike. One’s memories would spark another’s. One common theme was that all of their favourite experiences involved the outdoors. Another common theme was that I had been present. Perhaps if I hadn’t, my kids’ favourite memories may have been very different. Introducing your son into the great outdoors is an essential part of his development, and you don’t have to be a hunter or extreme adventurer to lead him there. Simply provide him with terrain to explore, rivers to fish, and adventures to live and enjoy e.g. rafting and swimming. The outdoors will provide countless opportunities of calling forth daring and courage, and will undoubtedly provide…