Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I was recently asked to recap my thoughts about a camp out I just attended.

The campout was headed by a boys mentorship program and the theme was the subject of transitioning from boyhood to manhood.

Here is a poem I wrote in response:

Here I sit, among the soaken shoes, denim, and dirty bare feet.  Weary.  Tired eyes.  And yet I find consistent wide, teethy grins.  Waiting.  Under the surface.  Antiquating life.

In the brutal honesty of all this dirt and mud and smokey residue, one question still lingers on from the night before, burning down like cinders from a fireside chat.

"What does it take for a boy to become a man?"

So it still remains, and I'm singed around the edges.  Burning hot coals off the top of my mind. 

For, in the moment, I furrowed my brow, and delivered challenges.  Wagging my finger.  Stooping over.  Looking down.

But in all my banter, and self-righteous tones, I heard a voice in the crowd ring out a question.  Out in the dark, away from the fire, small, innocent eyes, soft, yet strong.  A young voice posed a piercing comment.

"But....what if I'm not willing yet?  What if I don't want to be a man?"

...and there he left it, hanging in the air.  Hovering over our heads, like a swollen, rain soaked canopy in the night.

"What if....?"

What if this young soul, in return, found nothing appealing about manhood to be given?

"What if....?"

I knew the question was really mine.  What could I offer?  What token of deliverance could I place, from his hand to mine?  How was the world I was passing on, anymore brighter or better than the day I first found it?  And why should being a man demand such pomp and circumstance?

And so this question continues to unfold in my mind, as we sit on the ride home.  Riddling and ribbing, and ruining each others' egos, in typical adolescent fashion.  Some engaged in conversation, others pondering off through the windows and down the aisle...

What, in the end, do I have to offer these young lives?  What about manhood have I made right?  Most importantly, it seems I am faced with one last bridge to cross.  One more double-back through time.  A final leap back over the gap.  One more challenge to face, perhaps the last and final question in my life....

...."What, when all is said and done, does it take, for me, a man, to finally become a boy again?"

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