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    How to Turn a Boy Into a Man

    Time is valuable, so use deep encoding and spaced repetition to reinforce important ideas. Cultivate defining moments to shape your life intentionally.

    enJune 13, 2022

    About this Episode

    A lot of young men today struggle in finding their footing in adulthood. They feel lost, directionless, and unsure of who they are and how to confidently and competently navigate the world.

    Part of the reason for this is that most young men today lack something which was once a part of nearly every culture in the world, but has now almost entirely disappeared: a rite of passage.

    My guest today didn't want his son to flounder on the way to maturity, nor to miss out on having an initiation into manhood, so he set out to create a 6-year journey for him that would help him move from boy to man. His name is Jon Tyson, and he's the author of The Intentional Father: A Practical Guide to Raise Sons of Courage and Character. Today on the show, Jon unpacks the components of the years-long journey into manhood he created for his son, beginning with how he brainstormed those components by doing "The Day Your Son Leaves Home" exercise. We then discuss how old Jon's son was when he started his rite of passage and why it began with him having a "severing dinner" with his mom. We get into what his rite of passage consisted of, from the kickoff ceremony to the challenges, experiences, trips, and daily rituals Jon used to impart values and teach his son the "5 Shifts of Manhood." Jon shares how moving his son's focus from being a good man, to being good at being a man, helped him get remotivated to continue the process, why his rite of passage included a gap year after high school, and how Jon celebrated the end of his son's journey into becoming a man. We also discuss whether Jon did something similar with his daughter. We end our conversation with some key principles any dad can use to start intentionally helping their kids become well-rounded individuals who can confidently step out on their own and into the world.

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    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Fathers have a crucial role in guiding their children towards adulthood, and implementing intentional rites of passage can help them develop essential qualities for success.
    • The presence of a loving father figure is crucial for a child's well-being, and intentional rites of passage can guide young men towards a confident adulthood.
    • Lack of initiation rituals and intentional mentorship can lead to negative outcomes for young men. Creating a conscious pathway for their development is crucial.
    • Building a community of fathers provides crucial support and resources for guiding sons, alleviates individual pressures, aids in identity formation, and fosters a sense of belonging.
    • The transition from childhood to manhood requires intentional guidance and support from both parents, and intentional rites of passage play a crucial role in this process.
    • Fathers and mentors can bring their strategic thinking skills from work into parenting to help their sons navigate adolescence and transition into adulthood with purpose.
    • Sharing family narratives and values helps children understand their place in the world, make informed choices, and discover their own identities and purpose.
    • Parents play a crucial role in guiding their children to develop personal values and understand the qualities that define character, especially in a confusing cultural landscape.
    • Instilling noble values in young men through regular conversations and assigning books and movies helps shape their character, fostering accountability and resilience.
    • Building traditions and guiding boys through challenging experiences can help them develop into responsible and empathetic men.
    • Time is valuable, so use deep encoding and spaced repetition to reinforce important ideas. Cultivate defining moments to shape your life intentionally.
    • By being intentional and thoughtful in our parenting, we can transform ordinary moments into lasting memories that positively impact our children's lives.
    • Being a good man goes beyond societal expectations; it means excelling in various aspects of life, having practical skills, understanding women, being a leader, and finding purpose and passion.
    • Young men need guidance, practical skills, and a support system to navigate life's challenges, interact with women, and build meaningful connections.
    • Understanding life as a series of distinct phases can help us navigate with wisdom, gain insight from others, and find fulfillment in each stage.
    • Exposing young individuals to diverse cultures and challenging their perspectives through experiences like a Gap Year can help develop empathy and reshape thinking, ultimately shaping them into better individuals with a broader worldview.
    • Providing young people with a Gap Year can profoundly impact their development, empowering them to gain maturity, valuable perspectives, and a deeper understanding of the world, while also instilling a sense of identity and resilience.
    • Tailoring parenting approaches and providing intentional guidance can have a lasting impact on a child's character and prepare them for adulthood.
    • Building a strong emotional bond with our children takes time and effort, but it is crucial for their well-being. Consistency and individualized parenting practices are key in nurturing this bond, creating a foundation for successful communication.
    • Prioritize quality time with your children, set goals, and approach them with humility, forgiveness, and consistency to build unbreakable bonds and restore relationships, as the power of restoration is truly transformative.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    This Father Created a Powerful 6-Year Journey for His Son

    Many young men today struggle with finding their footing in adulthood, largely due to the lack of a rite of passage. Jon Tyson, the author of The Intentional Father, recognized this issue and took it upon himself to create a six-year journey for his son to help him transition from boyhood to manhood. Jon's approach involved various components such as initiation ceremonies, challenges, experiences, trips, and daily rituals to impart values and teach his son the five shifts of manhood. This intentional process allowed his son to develop courage, character, and confidence. It is essential for fathers to actively help their children become well-rounded individuals who can navigate the world with confidence and independence.

    You won't believe the shocking impact of absent fathers!

    The presence of a loving, involved father figure has a significant positive impact on a child's life. Research shows that children without fathers are more likely to experience poverty, behavioral issues, risky behavior, and even infant mortality. The importance of fathers often goes overlooked in discussions about justice and cultural advantages. Furthermore, many men lack a sense of identity and purpose when they transition into adulthood without a ritual or initiation process. This leads to confusion and a longing to fill the void in their souls. Without proper guidance, young men may engage in destructive behaviors as they try to channel their energy. Establishing intentional rites of passage can provide a healthy outlet and guide young men towards a confident and blessed adulthood.

    The Surprising Reason Why Modern Society is Failing Young Men

    The lack of initiation rituals and rites of passage for young men in today's society can be more damaging than the intense initiation cultures of the past. Jon Tyson emphasizes the need to reclaim these rites of passage and create guard rails to channel male energy for the good of society. Brett McKay compares masculinity to electricity, where the energy needs to be directed through a culture of manliness or manhood to prevent it from becoming dangerous. To guide his son's initiation, Tyson used a framework called the-day-your-son-leaves-home exercise, inspired by Stephen Covey's "Begin with the end in mind." By asking questions about what he wanted his son to know, be, and do, he created a conscious pathway for his son's development, including knowledge, character, skills, and experiences. This conversation highlights the importance of intentional guidance and mentorship in a young man's formation.

    How building a tribe of fathers can transform young men

    Building a community of fathers or mentors is crucial for the development of young men. Jon Tyson emphasizes the importance of creating a tribe or a cohort of fathers who can support each other in guiding their sons. This involves creating an asset map, where each father identifies the resources and connections they have available to contribute to their sons' growth. By involving other men in the process, the pressure on an individual father is alleviated, allowing for a more balanced and effective upbringing. Additionally, having other male figures present during a rite of passage helps boys establish their own identity separate from their fathers. This sense of community and support is vital for young men to flourish and find a sense of belonging.

    Father organizes powerful event to help son transition into manhood

    The transition from childhood to manhood requires intentional guidance and support from both parents. Jon Tyson emphasizes the importance of severing the strong bond between mother and child to allow the son to be formed by the community of men. He organized a severing dinner in which his wife played a critical role by taking their son out, giving him gifts, and offering a prayer of blessing. She made it clear that while she will always be there for him, he needs to turn to his father for guidance and mentorship in becoming a man. This powerful moment helped his son understand the significance of being formed by men and jump-started his journey into a different stage of life. To further solidify the transition, Jon Tyson and three other dads organized an initiation ceremony on a beach, where they shared stories and personal lessons with the boys. Overall, the key takeaway is that intentional rites of passage and guidance from both parents are crucial in helping young boys transition into manhood.

    Unlocking the Secret to Successful Fatherhood: Apply Workplace Strategies

    Fathers and mentors should apply their skills and strategic thinking from their work to their parenting. Often, men excel at casting vision and strategizing in the workplace, but fail to bring these abilities into their relationships with their children. By approaching fatherhood strategically, men can create meaningful rites of passage for their sons. These rites of passage should typically take place around the age of 13, when boys experience physical and hormonal changes, becoming more interested in competition and discovering their vocations. By providing guidance and support during this confusing and disorienting time, fathers can help their sons navigate the challenges of adolescence and transition into adulthood with greater clarity and purpose.

    Why sharing family stories is crucial for our children's future

    Providing a sense of context and history to our children is crucial in a world that promotes self-centeredness and lacks meaningful connections. In a society focused on personal projects and narcissism, it is important to guide our children towards a bigger picture of life. By sharing our family narratives, traditions, and values, we can help them understand their place in the world and the stories they are a part of. This not only gives them a sense of continuity and history, but also equips them to navigate through the bombardment of different stories and make informed choices. By providing a compelling and honest family story, we give our children a solid foundation to lean into or push against as they discover their own identities and purpose.

    Father shares powerful lesson for instilling timeless values in children

    Parents have the opportunity to instill important values and a sense of identity in their children. Jon Tyson wanted his son to understand their family's legacy and to know that he comes from a line of people who have taken risks and made sacrifices. By showing his son the places where he made significant decisions in his own life, Jon provided him with a pattern to follow when making his own important choices. Jon also emphasized the importance of classical virtues such as justice, wisdom, courage, and self-restraint. In a culturally confusing time regarding the definition of masculinity, Jon focused on teaching his son these timeless values. It is crucial for parents to guide their children in developing their own personal values and understanding the positive qualities that define character.

    Discover the powerful impact instilling noble values has on young men

    Instilling noble values in young men is crucial in shaping their character and preparing them for adulthood. Jon Tyson emphasizes the need for just, wise, courageous, faithful, hopeful, and loving men in a world filled with negative influences. He actively took part in instilling these values in his son through regular conversations and assigning books and movies that exemplified these values. The daily check-ins allowed for meaningful discussions and the opportunity to impart wisdom and guidance. By consistently sowing these small seeds of wisdom, Jon Tyson was able to witness the positive impact it had on his son's character development, with one of the key takeaways being the importance of being accountable for one's actions when no one is looking. This approach highlights the power of ordinary, everyday activities in shaping young individuals.

    Discover how one dad's cookie traditions and manhood shifts transformed his relationship with his children!

    Building traditions and guiding boys through meaningful experiences can help them navigate the journey from adolescence to manhood. Jon Tyson shares how he created a bond with his daughter through cookie traditions and embarked on a rewarding journey with his son by exploring the five shifts of manhood. These shifts include moving from ease to difficulty, from self to others, from the whole to a part, from control to surrender, and from the temporary to the eternal. By engaging in activities that challenge and push boundaries, such as facing fears of heights or visiting a graveyard, boys can learn important life lessons and experience a sense of progress. This intentional approach instills a sense of purpose and growth, enabling boys to develop into responsible and empathetic men.

    Discover the secret to making every moment count!

    Time is a valuable gift that should not be squandered. We must be conscious of how we use our time and make it count. One way to do this is through deep encoding and spaced repetition to reinforce important ideas and lessons. By consistently revisiting and reinforcing core concepts, we can internalize them and carry them with us throughout our lives. It is also crucial to recognize and create defining moments in our lives, especially during adolescence and early adulthood. These moments have the potential to shape us and become powerful memories that impact us for years to come. By consciously cultivating and preparing for these moments, we can make them part of a larger, intentional rite of passage, rather than allowing them to become random, unguided experiences.

    Discover the secret to creating unforgettable and meaningful experiences for your children!

    We have the power to transform ordinary moments into unforgettable and meaningful experiences for our children. By adding a little extra energy and thoughtfulness, we can shape their memories and create positive impacts on their lives. Jon Tyson highlights the missed opportunity of a driving test, where a simple congratulations and encouragement could have turned it into a memorable milestone. Similarly, he shares an example of how he turned a casual cigar meetup with dads into an extraordinary experience through elaborate presentation and thoughtful gifts. These instances remind us to be intentional in our parenting, to plan and create moments that bring healing, blessing, and growth for our children.

    Discover the key to being a truly exceptional man!

    Being a good man is not about conforming to societal expectations or simply avoiding negative behaviors. Instead, it is about being good at being a man and excelling in various areas of life. Jon Tyson realized that the traditional vision of a good man as an overwhelmed, suburban dad driven by obligations is uninspiring and lacks depth. He wanted his son to be confident, have practical skills, understand women, navigate social situations, and be a leader, friend, and sage. By unleashing the archetype content of what it means to excel in these roles, his son's motivation skyrocketed, and he willingly took responsibility for his own growth. This approach transformed their relationship, allowing his son to develop a strong sense of purpose and passion.

    Discover the essential steps to help young men thrive!

    Young men need guidance and support in fulfilling their roles as adults. By providing direction, teaching practical skills, and instilling confidence, they can develop a strong mental framework to face life's challenges. It is crucial for them to understand how to interact with women, become leaders, warriors, brothers, and wise men. They should also cultivate faith, embrace friendships, and maintain long-term relationships. This support system will help them navigate the awkwardness and complexities of social media and establish meaningful connections. The ultimate goal is to empower young men to believe that they can handle anything and build a brotherhood that celebrates their milestones and supports them through joy and sorrow.

    Discover the secret to making wiser choices and finding fulfillment in life's stages.

    Understanding the stages and seasons of life can provide clarity, relief, and direction. By recognizing that life is not a continuous journey but rather a series of distinct phases, we can navigate through them with wisdom and purpose. Just as we have an orientation when starting college, we can apply this concept to our entire lives. The life arc interview, where one seeks advice from those who have lived through different stages, is a valuable tool for gaining insight and perspective. We can help our children by connecting them with older individuals who have successfully navigated these stages, learning from their accumulated wisdom. By embracing the idea of life as a journey with distinct stages, we can make wiser choices, avoid unnecessary pressures, and find fulfillment in each phase.

    How a Gap Year Can Transform Young People's Perspectives

    Exposing young individuals to a multigenerational community and the world at large can greatly impact their growth and development. By placing them in different cultural settings and challenging their perspectives, they have the opportunity to internalize the lessons learned from their community. Initiating such experiences, like a Gap Year, can serve as an ordeal or initiation process to test their understanding and abilities. This helps them break away from their privileged bubble and develop empathy towards others. Experiencing the pain of global disparity can reshape their thinking, making them less likely to complain or exhibit negative qualities. Encouraging young people to embrace these experiences and learn from them will ultimately shape them into better individuals with a broader worldview.

    This Dad Reveals Why Gap Years are Essential for Teens!

    Providing a liminal space, such as a Gap Year, can have a profound impact on a young person's development. Jon Tyson shares his experience with his son and emphasizes the importance of allowing young individuals to explore the world and figure things out beyond their regular lives. By immersing themselves in new contexts and experiences, they can develop maturity, gain valuable perspectives, and deepen their understanding of themselves and the world around them. Tyson also highlights the significance of proper debriefing and reflection after such experiences to reinforce the lessons learned. Ultimately, this journey of self-discovery can empower young individuals, instill a sense of identity and purpose, and equip them to overcome challenges they may face in the future.

    This Father's Unique Approaches to Parenting Will Blow Your Mind!

    Father-child relationships can be transformative and meaningful, regardless of gender. Jon Tyson shared his powerful experience of guiding his son into manhood through a blessing ceremony and a symbolic tattoo. In contrast, he described his intentional year-long program with his daughter, focusing on 50 key deposits of wisdom and a trip to Iceland filled with beauty and lessons about life. This highlights the importance of tailoring parenting approaches to meet the unique needs and interests of each child. Both experiences show the significance of parental involvement and guidance during key transitional stages of adolescence. Jon's story emphasizes the lasting impact that intentional parenting can have on shaping a child's character and preparing them for adulthood.

    This Dad's Heartfelt Story About His Daughter Will Melt Your Heart

    Building and maintaining an emotional bond with our children is crucial. Jon Tyson shares a heartfelt story about his daughter needing more time with him before leaving for college, emphasizing the importance of spending quality time together. He admits that being busy and having responsibilities made it a sacrifice, but looking back, he realizes he would have gone even harder because it was worth it. Tyson advises that consistency is more important than intensity in parenting practices. Finding what works for each individual child and adjusting as needed is key. Ultimately, the number one goal should be nurturing that emotional bond because it becomes the foundation through which any challenges or conversations can be navigated successfully.

    Discover the Simple Daily Steps to Building Unbreakable Bonds

    Maintaining a strong bond with our children is crucial, no matter how busy or overwhelmed we may feel. It's important to prioritize quality time with them, even if it's just one night a week or a few moments each day. Taking the long-term approach, we should set goals and plan ahead to ensure we are actively involved in their lives. Remember, something is always better than nothing, so don't be discouraged by what you can't do. For those who may have regrets about their past actions, it's never too late to make amends and rebuild relationships with their children. By approaching them with humility, forgiveness, and consistency, amazing reconciliations can take place. Hope should never be given up on, as the power of restoration is truly transformative.

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