Tag Archives: Growing up

On Fairy-Stories

“The process of growing older is not necessarily allied to growing wickeder, though the two do often happen together. Children are meant to grow up, no to become Peter Pans. Not to lose innocence and wonder, but to proceed on the appointed journey:  that journey upon which it is certainly not better to travel hopefully than to arrive, though we must travel hopefully if we are to arrive”.
JJR Tolkien

The Son (Updated version)

Last week I read an article about the transition from sonship to manhood entitled, In Defense of Gentlemanly Things, published in Those Catholic Men website. There were two lines that really resonated with me:

“We need traditions, because they are the glue between generations.  A boy’s first cigar does not make him a man, but the man that handed it to him might”.

-Jason Craig

I thought it was brilliantly true. As men we like to do things. That is how learned from our fathers and grow in friendship with other men. In every hiking trip, beach outing, skateboarding road-trips there are a myriad of opportunities to impart life long lessons about the virtues without even saying a word about them. We mostly learn through observation. The misattributed quote to St. Francis of Assisi somewhat illustrated this point:

“Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary”.

-Not St. Francis of Assisi

Properly understood this quote does not relegate preaching the gospel with words to a secondary plane, the words are often utterly necessary, rather what it says, is that actions give the weight to the words. This is especially true in the eyes of a young man. Thinking about my own childhood and all the time with my dad this rings true.

Inspired by this article last week I wrote The Son, a poem about growing up. I rushed it. I thought there was something missing. That line, “A boy’s first cigar does not make him a man, but the man that handed it to him might”, inspired me to write the poem in the first place and yet it wasn’t clear. So here is my second attempt:

The Son (updated)

Men leading their son
to the everlasting hills…

Christening in their hearts
an indelible mark

Of how to be a man!

Rocking oldfangled cigars
racing against time.

In a minute, it will be to late,

for the sun swiftly rises
in young man’s eyes.

In an instant, over time,

along all the miles hiked
models built and stories told

of a bygone time

when men were men
and sanity was sane,

it happen.

The heart met the man.

Hands on courage!

For it is not the cigar nor
whiskey drank,

miles hiked nor models built
that makes the man

but a virtuous life lived
in front of a son’s eyes!