Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Man in Training

"The glory of young men is their strength; and the beauty of old men is the gray head."
Proverbs 20:29

Raising boys to be men in our modern world is a continual challenge.  It is quite an easy task to raise boys to be boys - simply leave them to their own devises.  Hand them a game controller and a pocket pizza and they will apply themselves rather diligently to the tutelage of the "Xbox" or "Playstation".  If, in fact, you want to raise your boy to become a man, you will have to exchange his game controller for a gray headed man, wise in years, given to instructing and employing said young man.

Years ago, Sir Knight and I committed to raising Master Hand Grenade to take his place among the men in our community.  We wanted him to know how to work, how to think and how to reason.  We wanted him to be more comfortable in a room full of men than he was with his "peer" group.  We wanted him to listen and learn from his elders, to "sit at their feet", so to speak.  We wanted Hand Grenade to value the wisdom that is wrought through the failures, successes and knowledge that can only be gained over a lifetime.

Since he was a little boy, Hand Grenade has worked side by side with his father.  He has cut wood, sawed logs, built fences and rebuilt generators.  He has changed oil, changed tires and changed propane bottles.  He has rewired lights, maintained our mechanical fleet and serviced deep cycle batteries.  He has prayed for our family, comforted his siblings and bandaged little wounds.  He has spent his young life being a "Man in Training".  He has lent the strength of his youth to the gray headed wisdom of his father and together, they have built an empire.

The time has come for another gray head to give counsel and guide the strength of our young man.  Master Hand Grenade will be leaving soon to take up residence with his grandparents.  He has secured a job with a local entrepreneur and will be spending his summer working....hard.  He will be doing everything from lawn maintenance to construction to operating big equipment. In his "spare" time, he will be helping my parents with whatever they may need.  My dad, his grandpa, will be the gray head to Master Hand Grenade's strength.  Together, they will slay dragons.  The two, working in concert, will be better than either could be by themselves.

Our young men need our old men.  Young men are strong, and rash and foolish.  Old men (however imperfect) have experience, wisdom and quiet determination.  Although they no longer have the strength they need to accomplish what they want, they have the knowledge.  Imagine what our men could do if they only combined their strengths!  If our young men would listen to the wisdom of their elders and our old men would take the time to teach the young they would be unstoppable!

Oh, to harness the strength of young men and recognize the beauty of old men!


  1. I am sure you will miss him but, what a wonderful experience for him. Congratulations on your plan for his upbringing. It will bring rewards to all concerned. Yes! Unstoppable!

  2. Ah! Such wonderful writing and prose!

  3. Enola Gay,

    I think it's great Hand Grenade will be living with his grand parents and helping them out while working during the summer.

  4. Growing up at my Grandmother's feet, I learned so much more than I could ever have otherwise...if you have children, give them this opportunity to develop character from those who have spent a lifetime developing it!

  5. Your discription of how you intentionally have raised your son is exactly how we have worked to raise ours. In this world we are considered odd.
    Thank you for your discription it gives me the words to explain our stand.

  6. Your beautiful description of your intentional raising of your children, specifically Master Hand Grenade is inspiring. Thank you!

    I remember back in 2000, my husband and I had looked at a house on 20 acres. We thought it was overpriced, but the realtor's main concern was that it wasn't big enough, did not have a family room for the kids. We told her it had a barn for our horses and 20 acres and a great little open kitchen-eating-living room; we didn't want our kids to hide out in a family room. There was a room upstairs for the three boys and a little room for the only daughter left at home. We had a bedroom and there were TWO baths! We thought the house perfect in size. At the time it wasn't selling because families were buying BIG McMansions.

    We got it for our price and moved in. We had two teenagers, a pre-teen and a just turned one year old; at times we seemed to be shoulder to shoulder as we worked and played together in the little house that really was not little at all. Our kids each had their own bed and we had table that we could all sit at. I have had several much larger homes, one a beautiful Victorian that I have fond memories of redoing together with my mom (we like power tools!), and I currently live in a way too big house, built in case our children, their spouses, and the grandkids need to come live with us. By far, the "too little" house that bustled with children learning life skills and how to make do and live without because there wasn't room for "stuff" is my favorite. On Saturdays, the kids spent time in the garage and driveway, changing oil and cleaning the cars. The barn was never neglected because the kids weren't hiding out playing some video game. Horses were ridden and "horse apple" wars were fought. The kids rotated in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day to each fix the dish they had chosen.

    Yes, my favorite house was the best life classroom.

    Thank you Enola, for reminding me of all of this and for sharing your son's big step that you and Sir Knight have well prepared him.


  7. Young women can be just as rash and foolish , as well. I have two older cousins, each with a twenty-something daughter-they are polar oppposites. One daughter has a job, gone to a two-year college, and is slowly working her way up in the world. No overnight miracles, but she's chugging along.
    The other hasn't gotten her high school diploma or GED, and has the snotty-little-princess attitude..and no job(or driver's license/car). Given the economic conditions and her education, her employment choices are limited to "flip or strip"-maybe not the burger flipping..I think even Mickey D's and other fast food places require at least a high school diploma. Both had the same chance at life, as far as I can tell.
    I"m glad I had the chance as a teenager to spend time with the "gray heads" of my family, for the reasons you describe.

  8. Enola,

    One day, Master Hand Grenade will graduate from MIT, and when he has a son, he'll be able to pass on his grey-haired knowledge on down the line. This country needs more MIT graduates (and I'm not talking about the fancy school in Mass.!)

  9. The ability of being able to interact with adults is one of the wonderful things about homeschooling. My mom would take us to minister to the elderly folks in our church. We would sing for them, do some house cleaning and just visit. You are an adult for the majority of your life, why would it be seen as lack of socialization to homeschool when we are skipping the part where you learn to relate to people your own age and move right ahead to adult socialization? What a blessing it is to remember the conversations held with your grandparents over the growing up years that otherwise might have been missed.


  10. Hate to be a wet blanket, but with the exception of a very few, I beleive this is another lost value. Between 'government' schooling, the media (of all forms), peer groups and the constant hammering of our government, young people do not grow up, learn life skills or otherwise have a work ethic (in my opinion). We have lost several generations of hard working 'make do' individuals who live by principal(s).
    Just another facet of what has gone wrong with our country.

  11. Thank you for this post. It gives me faith that others raising sons may take heed of doing the same. I pray for the boy that God has chosen for our daughter as he is growing up that he is in training to be a man. When they meet and he ask her father if he may court her (yes court and not date) that he will have had the experiences and guidance that your son will have. Sons raised to be men will be the heads of their households and the protectors of our freedom.
    God Bless you and your family,
    Stuck In CA

  12. Enola, you are so right. I keep looking for a young man to mentor but sadly most are too busy fiddling with gadgets. Equally troubling is the fact that many are married yet their wives appear content that they remain the boys they married. Even in Montana many live like highly dependent city dwellers. They hire others for such simple tasks as changing their car's oil, shovelling the driveway, mowing the lawn, growing their own food, and the list goes on. They building nothing, not even basic skills. And don't get me started on their failure to protect their families (self-defense, emergency food water and heat preparations). Just wait until the grid goes down.

    Congratulations to you and your husband on raising Master Hand Granade to become a real man.
    Montana Guy