Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Lost Boys

In yesterday’s post I talked about 2 different kinds of men.  The passive man and the Masked man I would like to take a little more time in the next couple of posts to discuss those 2 types of men in more detail.  I’ll start with the Passive man.

How many men out there sit by and watch, as life passes them by?  How many men just sit waiting for life to begin but die before it does?  I would guess that if we look inside many of us would find ourselves in this category.  We are missing an important part of our identity.  We all know at some level that it’s there but few of us integrate it into our lives.  Why do men love movies like Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, Top Gun, Indian Jones, or 300?  Because deep down we long to be part of that story and want to live the adventure.  We long to be William Wallace leading a revolt against our oppressors.  We long for adventure and daring escapes like Indiana Jones.  At our core we are warriors, explorers, and heroes but we deprive ourselves of that due to fear of being something great.  Why do we fear this?  Why are we afraid of our potential?  Why are we afraid of standing up for ourselves and becoming great men?

The passive man describes the way I was and the way I am still working myself out of. In order to become a better husband and father I have asked myself, where did this come from?  Why am I afraid of myself? And while every man has a unique story I believe mine has some components that many men can relate to their own lives.

My childhood home was surrounded by a large field with a small ravine that ran down the middle of it.  We would spend hours and days playing in that field recreating Robin Hood and playing war games.  In that field anything was possible for our free minds that were yet untainted by the world.  In that field a stick and a length of yarn became a bow, a paper bag fastened to our backs with a string over our shoulder became our quiver.  Trees were forts and an old barn a castle.  If you had walked through the field at that time you would have found it littered with pathways pushed down in the long grass.  These paths were formed from us crawling on our hands and knees, dressed in full camouflage, to intercept our enemies in a very intense game of steal the flag that lasted an entire summer.  In that field I could be whatever I wanted and I could dream up anything I wanted.  So what happened where did things go wrong? 

Even at this time of adventure and exploration for my young mind there were already, in my life, things in place that were stunting my masculine development.  I was already beginning to hide that part of myself in a place deep within where I would have great difficulty finding it again.  Early on in my childhood my masculinity was severely injured several times. 

I was a bit of a scrawny kid.  I was by far the shortest kid in my class all through elementary school and junior high and it wasn’t much better in high school.  I don’t think I weighed more than 100 pounds until high school. Due to my size I was severely teased and I didn’t have the courage to stand up for myself as I was never taught how to stand up for myself.  My father who is really a great man traveled quite a bit for work and therefore was not home a lot to assist me in the manly ways of dealing with my oppressors.  Instead my mother would deal with these problems the way that mothers do best, by talking to teachers, principals, and parents in order to protect me.  She did this out of love but in so doing deprived me of a very important lesson, it was important for me to fight my own battles.  Every boy needs a battle to fight regardless if he wins or loses and a parent needs to support and assist but not lead this battle out. 

Having my father traveling, and having my mother be my defender, and being bullied constantly about my size set me up to cower and not reach my masculine potential.  I became passive always allowing my mother to solve my problems.  My mother, as most parents, did this to protect me from the harsh blows of the world, unfortunately this made me see myself as weak and inferior to other boys and men, never thinking that I could possibly be like them.  I became a passive man.  But deep inside I still had that masculine desire evident by me fighting my battles in the field around my house.  I couldn’t fight them for real so I fought them in my play. 

It was not until years later that I began to realize that my passivity was not who I was but merely a cover up of something I buried deep inside, something I had forgotten existed.  It has been an amazing experience finding my true self and I encourage you men to take this step as well.  Acknowledge what you have within and go with it.  Do something this week that pushes you into this direction and enjoy the adventure.

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