I like the phases that John Eldredge describes in Fathered By God:
- Boyhood stage – a time of wonder
- Cowboy stage – a time of adventures and testing, a time of daring and danger, a time of learning that he has what it takes
- Warrior stage – he gets a cause and encounters evil face to face and learns to defeat it, he learns discipline and resolution of spirit where he sets his face like flint like Jesus did and he cannot be deterred from his mission. If he does not find a mission, he will take his longing need for validation to his partner and expect her to give him validation and meaning in his life. Passivity and masculinity are mutually exclusive. In this stage he becomes a lover and offers his strength to his partner.
- King stage – here he begins to rule a kingdom and draws around him men in the warrior stage, he becomes a father to younger men.
- Sage stage – he has a wealth of experience and knowledge and his mission is to counsel younger men, he steps down as president and his influence increases.
It will be my delight to encourage my son, or younger men who I walk with, to go through those stages.
I agree that passivity and masculinity are mutually exclusive. Young men need to find the limits to their strength and they do this by pushing physical boundaries.
Girls explore and understand their world by talking and interacting, but boys must run, jump, climb and fight in order to grow, understand and find their place in the world.
The cowboy behavior – always jumping higher and further and harder – is not silly nor is it ADD, it’s the beginnings of a warrior who overcomes evil and sets the captives free. A warrior can protect women and children. A warrior who has learned to defeat evil is useful to the whole of society and will be able to rule a kingdom or a domain which God gives him.
To stop the development of a young boy is to deny the world of a future king who overcomes evil and releases men, women and children from captivity.