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.
I've always thought that you need to e well-read to escape boyhood. I would recommend CS Forestor's nautical novels (the Hornblower books, in particular) as something that helps define a man. I don't say those novels are the be all and end all, but they are about a man trying to be the best man he can be, while understanding and respecting his personal limits.
I've had some initiation rites in my time. Scouting is full of stepped initiation rituals from when a Cub gets his first badge all the way through a Scout getting his Eagle.
If you need any steps to manhood as a young adult, here goes:
Understand and follow the Biblical injunctions about Pride, Charity, Ethics, and not thinking like a child.
Give your house key back to your parents. Real minor, but it can solidify the notion that you're no longer their "baby."
Cut the cord, and don't re-tie it. You really don't want to be Robert or Raymond Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond), constantly running back to your parents' house.