What kind of experience do you men think help to develop a male into a man? We all likelt have different ideas about this, and they many not be universal. Try to name one experience that you think ever boy should have that will help him develop into a man.
I will start . I think every boy should have been in at least one fight growing up. It helps you know what you are made, helps you learn to think on your feet, and make you a little tougher. i would not say that if you have not been in a fight it makes you less of a man, but it is a useful experience in a boy's development.
Make money completely on your own. For me this was when I was about 12, and I got a set of stencils and went around the subdivision my family lived in at the time and re-painted house numbers on curbs for $5 per house. I still remember the surprise and pride my dad couldn't hide on his face when he found out I'd profited about $130 in a weekend. I overheard him telling someone at church about it and remember hearing him say "He knew how much he spent on paint and stencils"
I think every boy needs to go to summer camp. In my case, it was Boy Scout summer camp. A week away from his family, semi-self directed learning, ample time to daydream, explore, fish, get into trouble, what have you. I even look back upon the bad parts with fondness- poison-ivy-anus, crotch-rot, mosquitos big enough to stand flat-footed and mate with turkeys. It gives a young boy a chance to step outside his normal life and learn a bit of self-reliance. If you want to eat, you're going to have to hump your way up to the mess hall at meal times. If you want a merit badge, you're going to have to spend time on that lanyard or wooden figurine. If you don't want to be in agonizing pain from crotch-rot and blisters, you better hike up to the shower house. Good preparation for entry into the job market and independent life. As well as a good opportunity to pick up some less-legitimate things. I learned to smoke, swear, pick locks, and fleece others at poker, all at summer camp. I still go back every summer to teach First Aid merit badge, just to feel a taste of those glorious Halcyon days of yore. It's still great- the year before I met Melanie, I taught rock-climbing and COPE. Ended up hooking up with one of the female counselors on top of the climbing tower at midnight, nothing but the vast sky and crying coyotes around. Ah, fond memories.
I also wrestled junior-high through college, and I find it odd that it was always ridiculed by my peers. I guess adolescents- and even college-age people- are loathe to look beyond the close physical contact to see the strategy, training, and brutality behind one of the world's oldest sports. I sacrificed three teeth to get an entry for the state meet, and still get occasional ribs from my former classmates about "cuddling". Yes, I've had people deride it as "cuddling". Burns my ass.
Interesting stuff. I'm small 5'4" and in high school 122lbs. Wrestling was for me really natural and I took down most of the boys in my class. (and not because I dug the dudes as some guys on this site might stupidly guess) Never found it cuddly or any of that stuff. Good for me with a low center of gravity. Often wished I had gone out for it. As I type this I'm at the university I attended after h.s-Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. A big wrestling school here in CA. Anybody who thinks wrestling is not "man" doesn't know what they're talking about.
Cal Poly-- one of the best universities in the nation!
Having a job that works the snot out of you on a daily basis until you drag home exhausted. Not McD's fry cook, but farming, commercial fishing, roofing, etc.
Date a Lady out of your league.
Be in a rock band with three or four of your friends and actually perform in front of people.
Learn a second language.
Learn how to do basic home repairs.
Learn to pray with all your heart.
Learn how to safely use a firearm.
Learn to have excellent personal hygiene.
Learn how to dress like a Man instead of a slob.
Learn how to befriend a strange dog and a three year old.
Well, yes and no. I was in a fight in military school with a kid who was my best bud until the afternoon he baited me into it. Didn't want to, but finally there was no choice but to go physical. We were both small kids. Broke his finger. Hid Dad threatened to come after my Dad with a lawsuit but no go. The two Colonels in charge of the academy didn't give me any shit for it. After that none of the other boys came after me ever and I continued to make rank and lead a platoon. So, yeah, it was good for me and my ego being a small kid, bad for Bradley's finger and as for a useful experience? I guess so....
It's a shame that the fight ended the friendship. I've had a couple of experiences, albeit already as a grown man, that a fight (actually a boxing match) made or cemented a friendship for me.
As a boy, I had fights with buddies. We would fight it out, and afterward we would be just fine.
For me, going from boyhood to manhood was all about taking total responsibility for something that could really have terrible results if you screw it up.
1. Rock climbing belaying: if you do it wrong, your friend will fall and die.
2. Strapping objects to the roof of a car with ratchet straps that would cause a big accident if they fell off.
3. Buying non-refundable airplane tickets.
4. Traveling alone in a foreign country with a high crime rate.
5. Leading a friend's son through a cave (his dad wanted to wait outside, making me solely responsible for the child's safety)
6. Being financially independent and making all relevant decisions.
7. Camping alone.
Basically anything that requires you to be totally responsible for your safety or that of others, financially, legally, or physically.
When you find yourself in a situation where mechanical know-how is involved and you trust yourself to do it more than anyone else standing around, you're on the road to manliness. Basically as a kid you trust others to know what's going on. As a man, there's no safety net and you are okay trusting yourself and your own judgments when the penalty could be death (like jumping off a waterfall for example).
Along these lines is something I have observed to be fault in many women I've known, though maybe there are lots of women who aren't this way. Many women "freeze up" when something bad happens. When the sh!t hits the fan, many, many, many times I've seen a girl just go to deer-in-headlights mode. They have this normalcy bias that can't switch off when things aren't ok. I notice a gift of manliness seems to be to react to an emergency quickly with a straight head on.
There was recently a real fire in my school building, and while all the female teachers just stood around believing it to be a drill (which it wasn't), I, knowing something about the speed at which a small fire becomes a big problem, grabbed a fire extinguisher and led my students down 5 flights of stairs as quickly as I could. We could smell smoke and one teacher even ran to get her purse, despite me yelling most insistently at all the kids to leave all their stuff behind. It's like women's brains sometimes don't compute danger and know when you must overreact, though doubtless there are plenty who do. I know a big thing they stress in self-defense courses for women is to overcome the social awkwardness and really forcefully tell someone to back off. It's a big challenge for women to stand up to an emergency, but it seems to be the mark of many a man that they can quickly switch gears when they know something ain't right.
I can remember being approached by weird people and trying to blow them off, then having to go from Mr. Nice Guy to "DUDE BACK THE F&^K OFF RIGHT NOW!" There's a time to throw civility to the wind, yet plenty of girls get grabbed and groped and fail to do anything reactive about it.