Fathers and Daughters

Fathers inevitably change the course of their daughters’ lives—and can even save them.  From the moment you set eyes on her wet-from-the-womb body until she leaves your home, the clock starts ticking. It’s the clock that times your hours with her, your opportunities to influence her, to shape her character, and to help her find herself.

Dr. Meg Meeker (Author of “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters” etc.)

In my experience as a counsellor, over almost two decades now, I have had the great honour & privilege of meeting and counselling many men, and many women. Conservatively, 80-90% of those men and women had been wounded by their fathers, most of them unknowingly of course.

Whenever I meet a woman today, I am able to assess quite quickly, through our interactions, whether or not she had a good relationship with a father who was actively involved in her life.

As award-winning, best-selling Author, Kristen Houghton said,Little girls become strong, competent women by having a dad who is encouraging, compassionate, and loving.”.

Back in August 27, 2013, Sarah Berry, Lifestyle Health Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, published an article entitled, “The Importance of Dads”. In that article, she quoted Dr Linda Nielsen, Professor of Educational & Adolescent Psychology at Wake Forest University, who in turn quoted a U.S. wide poll “Dads talk about their daughters” conducted by the Roper Center For Public Opinion Research in 2004, which stated that “Only 30% of fathers believe that their active involvement in their daughter’s life is “vital” to her health and well-being.

Now if my math serves me correctly, then 7 out of 10 fathers of daughters do not believe that their active involvement in their daughter’s life is “vital”.

That statistic is an alarming one, but also explains quite a lot. You see in 2018, Fathering Adventures will only be facilitating just one (1) of our “Fathering Girls” Father-Daughter Adventure Weekend experiences, in just one location, whereas we will be facilitating four (4) of our “Fathering Boys” Father-Son Adventure Weekend experiences in four (4) locations around our Nation, for children aged 7-13 years inclusive, simply due to demand, or lack thereof.

And all of that is very concerning, because fathers are extremely important and influential, in the lives of their daughters… clearly more than most fathers of daughters are aware. Psychologist and author Dr James Dobson said the following about fathers and daughters, and the importance of the father-daughter relationship… “If I sat here for three or four weeks, I could not adequately describe just how important the father / daughter relationship is.”.

Extremely talented American singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer, John Mayer, understands that truth all too well, which is why he penned the lyrics to his 2005 Grammy Awards winning Song of The Year, “Daughters”, which contains lyrics such as these… “Fathers be good to your daughters. You are the god and the weight of her world.“.

Every daughter (child & adult alike) has a single core question, which is often phrased in any one of the following ways… “Do you love me?”, “Do you notice me?”, “Do you see me?”, “What do you see in me?”, “Will you pursue me?”, “Will you fight for me?”.

How are you answering your daughter’s core question Dad? She needs your love, time, & attention, your appropriate affection, and your words of affirmation. And if she’s not getting those things from you, then she will go looking for those things outside of the home, from another, less healthy, masculine source.

Your daughter also needs you Dad, to be an integral part of her development between girlhood and womanhood. World renowned Australian psychologist & author Steve Biddulph, says the following in his book, “Raising Girls”… “Some time between fourteen and adulthood, a girl needs some kind of marker event, a growing-up rite… Girls have to be deliberately and proactively launched into healthy womanhood. When this is done well, the results are impressive. A girl takes charge of her life and begins to make her unique way in the world.

Isn’t that what we all want for our daughters? That at the appropriate age, they take charge of their lives, and begin to make their unique ways in the world. If you have a daughter aged 13 years or older – no maximum age limit, then we encourage you to provide such a marker event / growing up rite, for your daughter. ‘Fathering Adventures’ can help fathers and daughters with such a process, through their “Prepared for Womanhood” 4 Night Father-Daughter Adventure experiences.

And finally, no matter how old your daughter may be, you will always be her father. Yes, as she grows older, your influence will diminish, as it quite rightly should, but she will always want, and need, you to be actively involved in her life, for as long as you have breath in your lungs.

Whatever your situation… Be sure to act today!

If you have a daughter aged 7-13 years inclusive, then we encourage you to explore our “Fathering Girls” Father-Daughter Adventure Weekend experiences, here, and signal your intent to join us in the future, in either Victoria, NSW, South-East Queensland, or Tropical North Queensland.

And if you have a daughter aged 13 years or older – no maximum age limit, then we encourage you to explore our “Prepared for Womanhood” 4 Night Father-Daughter Adventure experiences, here, and signal your intent to join us in the future, in either South-East Queensland, or Tropical North Queensland.

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 change.

Mateship & Brotherhood
Most men today don’t have even just one true friend… another man alongside him in his foxhole, during his darkest hours. Most men today lead lives of loneliness and isolation. How about you? Do you have a true friend… a brother… another man whom you can call in the middle of the night if need be, and know that he’ll be there for you? Are you that kind of friend to another man? And are you modelling mateship & brotherhood to your children?

Courage & Valour
James Neil Hollingworth wrote, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment  that something else is more important than one’s fear.”. How about you? Do you live, love, and lead with courage, or have you perhaps unknowingly allowed fear to overshadow something or someone else who is more important? And are you modelling courage & valour to your children?

Perseverance & Endurance
I’m sure you’ve heard the famous phrase, and or Billy Ocean’s song in the mid 1980s of the same name… “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”. But how many men today, when the going gets tough, and they are facing overwhelming odds and obstacles, actually stand their ground? Far too many men today seem to leave, run, or hide, when they should in fact stay, stand, and see their circumstance through. How about you? Are you reactive when things go wrong in your life, or are you proactive? And are you modelling perseverance & endurance to your children?

Transcendence & a Willingness to Sacrifice
Are you living in a much larger story than your own smaller story? Are you living for, and willing to die for, something truly grand? Are you engaged in, and investing yourself into a noble cause, a cause bigger than yourself? And are you modelling transcendence & a willingness to sacrifice to your children?

I hope and trust my thoughts here have prompted much reflection… for you and your masculine identity personally, for the betterment of your wife & your marriage, your children & your family, your street, suburb, community, town, city, State, Nation, & world.

I look forward to the honour of meeting you in person, and serving your family, at one or more of our upcoming adventure experiences soon.

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 know your calendar is jammed, and they also know how you choose to spend your free time. If you carve out regular time with them—just the two of you—that makes a big statement, and tells them they are a priority to you.

Do be creative and plan cool outings, but really it almost doesn’t matter what you do; your gift of time makes your child feel valued, needed, secure, even empowered.

2. Kids open up during that time.

Derek is a dad I know who has teenagers, and he confesses things can get a little bit tense from time to time. Usually it’s just minor stuff around the house and personality clashes.

But Derek says it quickly changes when he’s out on one of their runs for ice cream or iced coffee. They get in the car and almost right away his child will start talking about something going on in his life. He knows that it’s dad time, and it’s like he’s been saving up topics or questions. He opens up in unexpected ways.

Dad, don’t miss those priceless opportunities.

3. Things happen when you’re doing something together.

Maybe the car breaks down, or you get pulled over for speeding. Maybe someone you see needs help. Or maybe you see friends and have a short conversation. In all those situations, you are modelling for your child how to respond with maturity and grace. You’re also learning more about your child by watching how he handles situations.

Or maybe you’ll run into someone your child knows while you’re out, and you can ask, “So you know them pretty well?” “Where do you see them at school?” And so on. All kinds of interesting things can happen when you and your child are together somewhere.

Dad, take full advantage of frequent one-on-one adventures. Just go get a frozen yogurt, take a long walk, visit a bookstore, or do any activity your child enjoys. But it’s up to you to make sure it happens. Schedule it; be intentional. Don’t let the busy-ness of life crowd out special time with your son or daughter.

Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering (NCF), as well as a husband, father, and grandfather. He is author of “
Championship Fathering”, co-author of “It’s Great Being a Dad”, and general editor of “The 21-Day Dad’s Challenge”.




And of course we also recommend that you consider experiencing ‘Fathering Adventures‘ … www.fatheringadventures.com.au … with one of your sons, or one of your daughters, in a location near you, or perhaps a location even further afield.

We look forward to serving you and child (and your entire family in doing so) in 2016.

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 new way. The story pattern is always the same and never grows old: the young man resists his initial training from his master, he struggles to find his inner resolve, and then ventures out to put his new-found strength to the test.

As in these timeless classics, every teenage boy needs to be guided into manhood, and there’s no better person to do this than a father or a male mentor. It needs to be an active and meaningful process because, let’s face it: getting the attention of today’s teenager in this digital age is no easy matter.

Every young man needs an older man to prepare him for and launch him on the journey to manhood. For whatever reason, teenage boys require a catalyst to lead them out of their childhood and into the next stage of maturation. Most cultures across the globe recognize this phenomenon and actively initiate their teenage boys into adulthood.

As a father or male mentor who’s already been on the journey himself, you are the perfect teacher—no matter how imperfect you may feel! If you are the father of a teenage boy, he needs you to step up and step into his life in a whole new way. It doesn’t take gobs of time, just intentionality. And you don’t even have to be a dad to help raise up the next generation of men; mentors, coaches, teachers, grandpas, uncles or brothers are encouraged too.




Here are five essentials to help any man give a teenage boy what he most secretly craves: the roadmap to manhood:

1. Tell him your story.

Don’t tell him any old story. Tell him your story. Every man has a story, and like it or not your story is the biggest influence on the kind of man he will one day become. There’s a good bet he’s picked up some bits and pieces about your life over the years, but he needs to hear your full story. Sit down and tell him who you are as a man and the highs and lows of your life. Tell him the pains, failures and struggles you’ve experienced, as well as your highlights. Tell him your regrets and what you’ve learned from the choices you’ve made because chances are he’s going to follow down a similar path.

It’s most important to share from the heart and be vulnerable. Many dads won’t take this important step with their son because they either don’t want to get knocked off a pedestal or they are too ashamed of their past and want to forget about it. Please know that your story, no matter how imperfect, is essential to your young man’s growth and development.

Sharing your story with your son brings him into your “circle of trust,” which is a euphoric feeling for any young man. It also opens the door for further conversations; he’ll be more likely seek you out for advice in the future. And he will see clearly that adversity is part of life and he shouldn’t be surprised or scared by it. Your story will help equip him to walk confidently into whatever challenges come his way.

2. Give him a roadmap before he starts the journey.

Men are famous for throwing the instruction book to the side, plowing ahead and relying on our own wits to complete a project, or getting hopelessly lost before we ask for directions. Usually when I do this I find myself backtracking to square one just to figure out what went wrong. Similarly, teenage boys do better when they start out with well-defined guidelines for their journey to manhood.

The best gift a dad can ever give his teenage son is the roadmap to manhood before he ever starts his trip. I taught my teenage sons six “guideposts” to communicate what a man says and does in the world: accept responsibility, lead courageously, pretend about nothing, journey with God, protect your heart, and engage in deep and meaningful relationships.

You may have a different concept of manhood and want to communicate something completely different, and that’s ok. Just communicate what matters most to you! In today’s world, being a good role model isn’t enough. Your son’s concept of masculinity is being shaped by the Internet, media and his misinformed friends. Dads can no longer sit idly by and let this happen.

3. Let him know he has what it takes.

Our teenagers live in a mixed-up world that bombards them with non-stop messages that skew their perspective on life. The predominant message in our society is that manhood is all about the accumulation of power, possessions and prestige. No wonder most teenage boys are feeling underequipped and just plain confused.

Don’t believe the tough guy façade. Teenage boys are scared they won’t measure up to the culture’s definition of manhood, and there aren’t many safe places out there to talk about it. Boys at this age are notoriously vicious about putting each other down and exploiting any weakness. Rarely are they ever affirmed for who they are. It’s so important during those teenage years to hear words of affirmation that let them know the journey is worth it and they have all that’s required to figure it out. While they may be a very long way from manhood, hearing positive messages is crucial to a young man’s development and maturation. Here are some examples of affirmations to use with your son:

“You’re going to do great in this world because …”
“You will make an awesome father someday because …”
“You have amazing gifts to share with the world like …”

It’s sure is easy to slip into negativity with your teenager because, quite frankly, he can be maddening at times. But do your best to keep it positive.

4. Make sure to keep it real too.

While teenage boys certainly need important affirmations from older men, be careful not to heap on too much praise just to bolster their self-esteem. Teenage boys have a great “BS” detector and nothing makes a teenage boy cringe faster than false flattery. It’s important that dads “keep it real” with their teenage sons.

They need to know that life is no longer simply cake and ice cream, and that more is required of them. During those teenage years somebody needs to challenge them, call them out, and help them make sense of things when they are prone to take the easy path or make the reckless choice. Remember, men are not just born, they are made. Teenage boys need to bump up into something (or somebody) they can’t control, manipulate or bamboozle. Teenage boys don’t respect anything they get for free, so somebody needs to keep putting price tags on things for them and encouraging them forward.

5. Take him on adventures.

While they often appear lazy and disinterested, teenage boys yearn to be tested and pushed beyond the edge of their limits. Our young men enjoy a false sense of control because most of life can be accessed by the touch of a cell phone, joystick or keystroke. It’s hard to find activities these days that take young men out of their comfort zones and into the wild. Extracurricular activities like sports, robotics, band, theater, or youth groups can all teach valuable life lessons, but at the end of the day, these are all structured activities. While amusement parks, sports games, music concerts, video games, monster truck rallies are all fine father-son activities, at the end of the day they are just entertainment.

Today’s teenage boys need to encounter the wild—where life is unpredictable and anything can happen. Too many of today’s fathers are so wrapped up in our kids’ activities and enjoying our own personal comforts that we’ve forgotten to take our boys on adventures and teach them the lessons that only nature can teach. The opportunities to adventure are all around us: kayaking, mission trips, service projects, camping, fishing, canoeing, surfing, hunting, hiking, etc. Seize them with your son!


Mike McCormick is the author of ManQuest: Leading Teenage Boys into Manhood, a guidebook designed for fathers to have intentional conversations and engage in activities that help boys become men. Mike is married with two teenage sons and a daughter and lives in Birmingham, Michigan.

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 memory of my father ever doing something with just me. And that unknowingly affects a child. When a father does make his c
hild a priority, and takes him or her away with him, and they share an experience together… one-on-one… the child comes to know that he or she has been chosen, that he or she is truly loved by his or her father, that he or she is indeed the apple of his or her father’s eye. And that knowing deep within his or her innermost being, does something powerful in the heart of a child. It establishes a true identity, on a strong and solid foundation. I’ve discovered that like me, very few fathers today… far too few… were ever given the opportunity to share such an experience with their Dads. We as fathers ourselves now, need to remedy that, when it comes to our children, and our relationship with each of them.


2. Did your father ever tell you all three of the following things…

  1. I love you, including the things he loved most about you.?
  2. I’m proud of you, and why it was he was so proud to have been your Dad.?
  3. I see you, I see what you are good at, and I believe that you have what it takes to be a good man or woman.?

If so… you have heard your father say the things that you needed to hear from him the most. If not… then please know that you are not alone. Unfortunately, that is once again the experience of far too many… including our own fathers, from their fathers. For me, I finally heard the words “I love you.”, just 3 weeks before my father passed away, more than a decade ago now… and those words came, only after I had initiated the exchange, like on many occasions before then, that went unacknowledged.

3. Did you ever receive the “What every boy needs to know about being a man” speech?

I wish my Dad, or some other man for that matter, had taken me aside at an appropriate time in my life, and told me what it meant to be a real man, what a real man does, how a real man treats a woman, children, & others etc… but like so many other men I’ve met, that was not my experience. To be fair… my Dad had never received such a speech himself… and therefore was unable to offer it to me, or my younger brother. How about you? Are you equipped and prepared to offer such a speech to / cast such a vision upon, your son, as he stands on the threshold of manhood? And how about your daughter? Have you been instrumental in ensuring that she knows what it means to be a healthy, secure woman?

4. When did you become a man?

Can you remember a specific moment in your life, when you were told that you were no longer a boy, but a man? I can’t. I was engaged at age 18, married at age 20, and had my first son at age 23… but when I look back over those years, I was still very much a boy, in a man’s body, and in a man’s life. Again, very few men are able to recall such a moment. And once again, as fathers, we need to do this differently. We need to bestow a masculine identity upon our sons, and a feminine identity upon our daughters. We need to usher our sons, and our daughters too, into and through a rite-of-passage type experience… providing a moment, and even better, several moments, that they will never forget.

‘Fathering Adventures’ is an organization that offers Father-Son and Dad & Daughter Adventure Weekend experiences, which equip fathers of children aged 7 to 13 years inclusive, in numerous locations around Australia, to offer exactly what their children really need from them most.

We also offer 4 and 5 Night Father-Son Adventure experience packages, for fathers and their sons (minimum age of 13 years, with no maximum age limit), which provide the all-important process of transitioning boys & girls into young manhood & young womanhood respectively, and young men & young women into authentic manhood & healthy womanhood respectively… ensuring that they respond to my above-mentioned questions, in a very different way to that which you and I have had to respond.

So if you would like to share in an Adventure experience with either your son or daughter, or your very own father for that matter, then we encourage you to explore all of our Father-Son and Dad & Dauhter Adventure experience packages on offer today, online at  www.fatheringadventures.com.au, or by phoning Darren Lewis on 0431 839 035.

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 from the School of Health Sciences, at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, which graphically illustrates the correlation between a person’s satisfaction with life, and a person’s age. I hope you find it as shocking and disturbing as I do.

As a parent, there is no greater time to richly invest into the life of your son or daughter, than between the ages of 13 and 18 years. Doing so, will undoubtedly change the trajectory of their lives, for good. That said, your relationship with your child prior to them entering their teenage years, is foundational to the years that follow.

If you are a parent of a teenage son or daughter, then we urge you to consider registering for one of the following Father-Son or Dad & Daughter Adventure experiences in either 2015 or 2016, now…

1. A 4 Night Father-Son Adventure in the Brindabella Ranges of NSW, North of Canberra, here.
2. A 5 Night Father-Son Adventure in Tropical North Queensland, here.
3. A 4 Night Dad & Daughter Adventure in Tropical North Queensland, here.

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 right now…

Screening details can be found at the new ABSENT Australia website
, here. Please do forward the link to this Blog article to all of the Fathers and Mothers you know. And if you’re a Facebook user… please “Like” the ABSENT Australia Facebook page, and “Share” the details with your friends on your wall.

Thank you for playing your essential part, in this ever-increasingly significant movement. By raising awareness of the importance of a father’s presence, involvement, engagement, & intentionality… we will strengthen families, and strengthen our society.

An Initiation Ceremony in a Rite of Passage

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.
In Robert’s best-selling book, “Raising a Modern Day Knight”… he lists four common characteristics that every good ceremony possesses.
I felt it important to share them here…

1. Memorable ceremonies are costly.
The more time, thought, planning, effort, and money you give to a celebration, the more memorable it will be.
Memorability  grows in proportion to cost.
The more you give, the greater the impact.

2. Memorable ceremonies ascribe value.
By setting aside time, making an effort, spending money, and employing meaningful ceremony, we declare the high value of an individual.
Effective ceremony says, you are important!
And this moment is important!

3. Memorable ceremonies employ symbols.

4. Memorable ceremonies empower a life with vision.

One of my personal favourite moments from each of our “Rite of Passage” Son and Father Adventure experiences, is definitely the Initiation Ceremony on the final evening.
The look upon the face of every son who kneels before his father, as he listens intently to what it is his father is calling him out of (boyhood), and up and into (the higher ground of authentic manhood), is simply priceless. Their eyes are always as wide as saucers.
It is a moment in that young man’s life’s journey that he will never forget, for as long as he lives.
The culmination of a week of adventure & fun, and training and instruction, alongside his Dad or father figure, within a community of men… sealed by a ceremony.
Now that’s a real process of initiation in action.
That’s a true rite of passage.

You can find a list of dates for all of our upcoming “Rite of Passage” Son and Father Adventure experiences, and all of our Father and Son and Father and Daughter Adventure experiences for both young sons and daughters, and older sons and daughters, at our website, here.

For those of us who are married… we’ve experienced first-hand the power and weightiness of ceremony and celebration.
But how many of you have experienced such a ceremony and celebration when it came to your journey to become a man? We’d love to hear from you.

“Adventure – Testing & Challenging in the Outdoors” in a Rite of Passage

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 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”

My last blog entry emphasized the importance of “Training and Instruction in a Rite of Passage.”
It’s true… it’s essential… but just as importantly, a boy, a young man, and even a mature-age man, also needs to be tested and challenged in the outdoors… through adventure.

The late French Author and Nobel Prize winner, Andre Gide, expressed this truth…It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.
How many men today truly know themselves… truly know deep within their innermost beings that they are in fact real men… that they have what it takes to come through in any given situation that requires them to, e.g. fighting for the hearts of their wives and or children, or fighting for a cause greater than themselves?
Too few in my experience.
Because too few today risk being tested and challenged.
Too few have experienced a genuine process of initiation.
Too few have experienced a rite of passage.

I love the words of Steve Biddulph I quoted earlier…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.

How true is that of most people today.
We read books, we watch instruction videos, we attend conferences and seminars, and whilst many of those things may be helpful, they can only assist us in taking part of the journey.

An ancient Chinese proverb reveals the same truth…
I hear, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.
We need to understand this.
We need to experience things that take us out of our comfort zones… to be in situations that we cannot control, allowing ourselves to be unsettled… so that our deepest fears are revealed, faced, and overcome.
We as men need to be initiated as men.
Our families and our world need us to be initiated as men… to engage in the process of initiation, which should always include testing and challenging, the outdoors, and adventure.

I invite you to share some of the lessons you’ve learnt through adventure, and in the outdoors, here.
And what are some of the ways that you’ve been tested and challenged in the past?

Training and Instruction in a Rite of Passage

“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 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 being married for more than eight years, and having fathered 3 sons at the time.
I, like many men, never had a father who prepared me, taught me, instructed me, or trained me in the ways of authentic manhood.
In fairness, my Dad, like most other Dads, never had a father himself who provided such things to him either.
And no man can give what he does not have.

There’s a scene in the movie “Secondhand Lions” where a gang of youths (unfathered and uninitiated young men) encounter a real man… the character of Hub McCann, played by Robert Duvall.
I don’t want to give anything away in regards to such a powerful scene, but a few scenes later, Hubb McCann, having earned the right to speak into the lives of those young men, engages them in what seems to be quite a passionate monologue… though the viewer doesn’t get to hear what he’s saying.
Watching on from a distance is Hub’s younger brother Garth, played by Michael Caine, and their 14 year old great nephew Walter, played by Haley Joel Osment.
Here’s the dialogue that goes on between Walter and Garth…

Walter – “What’s he saying to them?

Garth – “He’s giving them his ‘What every boy needs to know about being a man’ speech. A lot of men have heard that speech over the years. A lot of men.

Oh how I wish that were true.
That a lot of men would have heard the ‘What every boy needs to know about being a man’ speech.
The truth is… very few have heard such a speech.
Very few know what it means to be a real man.
Very few know what a real man does.
Very few know how a real man treats others.
Very few know what a real man devotes his time to… what a real man is prepared to live for, and what a real man is prepared to die for.
Very few.

The good news is that change is afoot.
Part of what fathers and sons (aged 13 years and older – no maximum age limit) receive during one of our “Rite of Passage” Son and Father Adventure experiences, is just that… training and instruction, imparting, equipping, and empowering.
No-one leaves one of those without an answer to the question, “What does it mean to be a real man?”.
Fathers and sons alike are initiated over the either 4 Nights / 5 Day period, or the 3 Full Day period, and things for them and their relationships are for the most-part, never the same again.

Our “Rite of Passage” Son and Father Adventure experiences do tend to fill quickly, so please be sure to register now to avoid disappointment.
I sincerely hope that you and your will join us for one soon.