Last night Tim and I traveled with friends to Christ Community Church in Franklin to hear John Eldredge speak. His talk was based on his book Fathered by God, which explores the stages of the masculine journey. As the parents of two sons, we have been greatly impacted by John's writing in this area: first, his book Wild at Heart, and then, The Way of the Wild Heart (newly re-released as Fathered by God).
The stages, as outlined in his talk/book, are boyhood (ages 0-12), cowboy (ages 13-19), warrior (age 19-...), lover (age 19-...), king (age 40+), and sage (age 55+). Each stage is vital to a man, but most often a man's needs in one or more stages go unmet. Even though he will move on to the next stage, he is greatly affected by this lack of initiation.
The good news is that as unfinished men (and women), we have a Father who loves us. God will initiate us in the ways that our earthly fathers did not. He offers the answers to our deepest questions, awakens our hearts, heals our broken places, and even provides others to walk with us in our journey.
There is a process to becoming a man, and when we understand it, we can understand much about ourselves, our husbands, and our sons. I encourage you to read any of John's books, but if you are the parent of sons, then please check out Wild at Heart and Fathered by God. I truly believe they will bless you with insight as you raise your sons to be men after God's own heart.