In this episode:
How do the next generation of boys know when they are men?
In our Western culture the idea of a right of passage is all but lost. In this powerful conversation Steve Arms walks through his personal experience as a 13 year old boy and how he came home from this special event without any doubt that he was now a man.
The most important thing we can do as fathers is to model what it means to be a man. Click To Tweet Steven Arms
Welcome to the Lion within a podcast serving Christian man who hungry to be the leaders God intends you to be. I’m your host, Chris Granger. Let’s jump in. All right, guys. It is your meet episode of the week. This is gonna be a good one. It’s gonna be packed information that is guaranteed to serve you, particularly you guys who have sons.
Okay? Now before we get too far, let’s jump right into our scriptures, our scripture of the week. Is in Luke chapter 15, verse 20. Only one verse this God, so it shouldn’t be too hard to keep up. So he got up and went to his father, but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him, and he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
This is right out of the parable of the prodigal son and guys really go back to that spiritual kickoff. So we unpacked some really impactful things that when I’ve studied. The spirit revealed to me specifically around how you can be naturally lost, how you can be accidentally lost, and then how you can be willfully lost, but ultimately the love of the father don’t miss the love of the father.
That is so important, and that that ties directly into what we’re talking about, Dave, because we’re, we’re gonna be talking about that, that transition from boy to man, you know, what does that look like? So have this conversation we brought in Steven. He’s a co-author of a book called Milestone to Manhood, a Christian rite of passage to help your 13 year old son make the leap from boyhood to manhood.
It’s a great book, guys. Him and his dad actually co-authored it. He gives a firsthand experience of what this looks like. He calls it The Rite of Passage weekend, and he reflects on how it shaped him to really be the man that he is today. So he lives in Oregon, guys. Uh, he has a, a wife, Emily, couple kids that has one, one on the.
And this really shows guys a practical way. This book practical way to take these pre-teens and these boys that are coming up and successful, successfully make that transition from boyhood to manhood. So this has been a, a, a great conversation that I had with St. With Steven. I think it’s gonna serve you well.
Definitely opened my eyes up and if you have questions on how to do that right of passage, make sure you hank through towards the end of the conversation. Steve is gonna give you some really good resources to help. Make this as easy as possible, guys. I mean, seriously, this is stuff, yeah, you take some planning, it takes some preparation, but it’s not something that you can’t do.
You can pull this off and I guarantee you it’ll have a huge impact on your son. And if you’re like me and my son’s brand new, be quite a while before he gets there. Think about just the, the young boys in your life that you can mentor. Who’s that young guy at your church or maybe in the youth? Just doesn’t have that strong male role model.
There’s opportunities for you as Christian leaders, as Christian men to step up and do this, even if it’s not your own child. So just really think about that through this conversation too, because there are going to be opportunities if you’re listening to, to, to my voice right now. You have skills that the young men need to know, need to transfer those skills.
This rite of passage that Steven’s gonna talk about is your opportunity to do. Guys, I hope you enjoy this conversation with Steven Arms.
All right, cool. Just wanna make sure I got it right. All right. Check one thing. All right, we’re good to go. All right. Well, Steven Arms, welcome to the line within,
03:27 Steven Arms
how you doing today? I’m doing great, Chris. Thanks for having me.
03:30 Chris Grainger
Oh man. It’s an honor to have you here. I really, really enjoyed your book. This guys, this is gonna be a g a fun conversation.
I know you’re going, going to pick up a lot from this, particularly you guys who have sons at home. So you’re gonna be wanting to pay attention here. But man, Steven, tell us your story a little bit. What led you to to writing this milestone to manhood?
03:50 Steven Arms
Sure, absolutely. So my family has kind of a special fa family tradition when a boy or a girl turns 13, Uh, the men or the women of the family, in my case, the men of the family, uh, took me away for a special Rite of passage weekend.
And really the purpose of the Rite of Passage weekend was to give the boy, uh, exact moment that he could look back on later in his life and say, that was the moment that I became a. You know, when we look at other cultures from around the world, we see these examples of rights, of passages of coming, of age ceremonies.
The, the most well known is probably the Jewish Bar mitzvah. That’s the ceremony. Mm-hmm. in the Jewish faith where the a boy can achieve the status of man. Another example is in the Australian Aboriginal society where they send a boy off into the wilderness for three to six months at a. To survive on his own.
And when he comes back from that, he’s no longer considered to be a boy. But he’s considered to be a man and modern western society. Society today doesn’t really have an equivalent coming of age ceremony, and that’s why my father, my grandfather, as my brothers and I were growing up, decided to create a Christian version of one of these rights of passage.
So I got, like I was saying, I experienced one of these rights of passages when I was 13 years old. My brothers and my cousins all got one of these rights of passages as well, and we wrote the book to kind of share this family tradition with the rest of the world so that other Christian fathers could do something like this for their sons to help their sons make the leap from boyhood to manhood.
05:47 Chris Grainger
so good, man. You’re, and you’re right, we don’t, we don’t have that. As I was thinking about this conversation with you and, and I shared the, uh, uh, a little bit of the prodigal son on our spiritual kickoff for earlier this week. So the guys would’ve heard that and how that father loved his son. And you know, when I, when I was thinking about just me growing up and.
I’m with you. I had moments that were, you know, I remember driving my dad’s truck for the first time, you know, and that, that was a big deal when I drove his truck and I’d have these things. But so far it’s like a ceremony or, or anything official, you know, just, it’s just not something we think about, particularly here in the West, like you said.
So, It’s, I think if they sent some of these boys out for three to six months like they do in Australia, not many would come back , you know, so it’s probably good that we, we don’t go to that extreme, but, uh, but man, I’m curious for you, what, what’s the, like you remember most about that, that write up passage weekend?
Cause we’re not going tell the spoil the whole story for the guys, cause we want you guys to go check the book out. But what, what stood out the most when you think back over that weekend? Cause it, it’s, it’s pretty evident that that made a huge impact
06:50 Steven Arms
on. You know, there, there was so much about the weekend that was beneficial and helpful to me.
One of it is just the simple fact that there’s all these men taking time out of their life to mark this entrance into manhood for you. So for me, it was my dad, but it was also my grandfather and my two uncles. You know, uh, undoubtedly dads are the most important example of a male role model in a boy’s.
But at 13 years old, there’s also kind of this tension that develops between father and son, right? The boy wants to spread his wings, gain more independence, so there can be friction in that relationship there. So by getting other men involved, men who aren’t his dad, it helps for some of the advice to finally sink in with the boy.
You know, it could be one of the men might give some encouragement or words of advice to the boy that dad has been saying for the last six months. But just hearing it come out of the mouth Yeah. Of a man who’s not his dad. It finally sings in and the boy finally listens. So for me, just the presence of other men who weren’t my father, my dad was on the trip too, it was great.
But the presence of all the men was really, uh, one of the biggest blessings, one of the biggest things that made the, the weekend that much more powerful for me.
08:18 Chris Grainger
So I, I coach, uh, youth sports as well, Steven, and, and I think it’s, it’s always funny cuz I coach my girls, my oldest girls. I’ve coached ’em in volleyball, basketball, softball. I’m trying to think of any, any other type of balls I’ve coached ’em in, uh, soccer one year, which we, we got outta soccer. I always think it’s comical, man.
Like I’ll have to many times to get a point across to my girls, I’ll have to go to the other coach and I’ll be like, look, I need you to go tell. So and so, I’m not gonna say their name here cuz there’s an embarrassment. They listen to it. I need you to go so-and-so to hold their, their foot like this on the bag or to twist their hips like this at the plate.
They’re like, why don’t you go tell ’em? I said, cause they ain’t gonna listen to me. They need to hear it from another man. And, and, and, and so many times, I’m sure there’s lots of dads that there agree. I mean just, just having that other man presence, the guys that you trust speaking into a life of your.
That is just huge. I mean, the fact that it was your uncles and your, your grandfather, obviously that was a, a pretty special moment for
09:18 Steven Arms
you all. Absolutely. I think it goes back to that saying that it takes a village to raise children. You know, none, none of us can do it on our own, but we have to, unless the help of other men to, uh, give our sons examples of what it means to be a good, godly holy man.
09:38 Chris Grainger
Now you, you mentioned there was a, a little bit of like, at that 13 year old age, I, I have a 12 year old, so I, I’m totally picking up what you’re putting down about the tension. Like that tension is there, brother. I mean, it’s real. Think you said your kids are younger, you just keep waiting. That tension’s gonna be there.
You’ll, you’ll feel what it’s like. And I’m curious when, cause in the book you talked about when you were, it was your weekend, you were in charge. You got to make a lot of those decisions. You, you and, and to me, I thought that was just a, I had a lot of questions when I was reading it. I’m like, I wonder how I would’ve responded, you know?
So how did it feel when you were in charge? I mean, was it easy to make those calls of, hey, you clean the dishes, Hey, you do the cooking, you, you, you start to fire? Or is it a little bit kinda uneasy? Cuz that’s probably the first time you’ve ever actually directed people around.
10:29 Steven Arms
Absolutely. Yeah. Um, so one of the informal elements of the weekend is that the 13 year old boy is charged with making the leadership decisions during the weekend.
So the 13 year old boy decides who cooks for each meal, who cleans on each meal. The 13 year old boy decides who gets each bed in the cabin or in the. The 13 year old boy decides, you know, who sits in each seat in the car on the drive up and the drive down. And really the thinking is, you know, as our boys enter into manhood, a big part of manhood and adulthood is learning how to make decisions and learning how to make decisions well.
And so the more experience that we can give to our 13 year old boys making decisions, even if they’re just small decisions, like who cooks and who cleans on each. That will help them as they get, get later in life with the bigger decisions. You know what, what to study in college, who to marry, you know, who you marry is the biggest decision that you’ll ever make in your life.
So by giving the boy exposure to making decisions, making leadership decisions, then hopefully that helps him on that journey, on that process of becoming a man and making bigger, bigger decision. I remember for me, you know, when my dad told me that I was gonna be the one to decide who cooks and who cleans, I was really nervous.
Um, because, you know, I, I was the thir the young 13 year old, and it felt, it wa I had never told my grandfather who was in his sixties at the time, you should go do this. You know, it felt very counterintuitive for me. Um, and I was nervous. I was nervous because, I wasn’t sure, you know, what, if a guy gave me guff or, uh, gave me resistance for my decisions, but I think that’s part of, that’s part of the genius of it, right?
Is facing those, giving the boy experience to face those fears of making decisions that not just affect him, but affect other people as. . Mm-hmm. .
12:43 Chris Grainger
That’s so cool, man. It just sounds like that was an, an awesome experience. Cause if I remember correctly, there weren’t enough beds for all you, right? So somebody, was it, somebody had sleep on the on on, not on a cot or something like that.
So I’m sure that wasn’t an easy
12:54 Steven Arms
decision to make . Yeah, so the cabin that we were staying in, there were four beds and there were five of us. And so I remember, you know, they said, well, who gets each bed? And that was the one that I was like, You guys, you’re all old men, right? You guys take the beds, I’ll take the cot.
I was, you know, as a 13 year old, I, I could sleep on anything, right? I had no problem sleeping, right. Um, so I said, you guys take the bed. I’ll take the uncomfortable cot. And I got a good night’s sleep anyways. I thought it was
13:26 Chris Grainger
cool too. There was a big element of surprise about it because it’s not something that you, as the 13 year old son can prepare for.
Cuz it sounded like this was a, the, like the, the ultimate surprise party,
13:37 Steven Arms
right? Yeah. So I had no idea that my rite of passage was coming. In fact, I do have an older brother. He’s, uh, about two years older, older than me, and he got a rite of passage when he turned. Um, but my dad and my grandfather told him, don’t tell your younger brothers and your younger cousins about this.
We want everyone who goes through this weekend to be surprised. And the thinking behind that is the element of surprise. For one. It keeps the boy, it makes the boy feel that much more special. Right. He has no idea this is coming. Mm-hmm. kinda like a surprise birthday party and how those birthday parties, you feel special that someone did this for.
Right. And another reason why the element of surprise is important is that it makes it so that the boy doesn’t have any preconceived notions of what the weekend is gonna be like. Right? He’s, he doesn’t go into the weekend thinking, well, everybody gets something like this in my family. It’s no big deal.
Keep having an element of surprise. Keeps the boy on his toes.
14:46 Chris Grainger
Yeah, no doubt about it, man. I mean, it just sounded like it was such a cool how you, how you un unpack that part of the story. I could just somewhat see the look on your face, like your, your uncle’s pulled up and your grandfather’s there. I was like, oh, let’s go.
Getting ready to go down and I, and hat’s off to your older brother for keeping it a, a secret. There’s no way that had to been hard for
15:08 Steven Arms
him to do. Yeah, I think so. You know, for me, I’m also one of the older grandchildren in the family, so I had a rite of passage, but all of my younger siblings and my younger cousins had them as well.
So it, once I had mine, I was also charged with not telling my younger brothers and my younger cousins. Um, one of the beauti beautiful things about the rite of passage is that when you’re, when you’ve done, when you’ve gone through it, when you’ve had yours, you are officially considered to be a man in the family.
And that means that you are eligible to be one of those male mentors for the younger, for the next rite of passage. So I had my own rite of passage at 13, but I was also able to attend my two younger brothers rights of Passage and then my two younger male cousins, their rite of passage. So personally I was able to go on five of these weekend trips and uh, you know, it’s kind of funny, we always said as a.
Man, I wish we did this thing every year. You know, I wish we had a boy turning 13 every year because there’s so much, uh, so much growth in for every man, not just the 13 year old boy, but for all the men on the trip, right? We all experienced a lot of graces, and I think it’s one reason why our family continues to be so tight-knit and so loving today is because we had this beautiful tradition as we were growing.
16:37 Chris Grainger
incredible. Well, look, I, I got something I wanna unpack on this on, on the Rite of passage that really stood out to me. So we’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll be right back guys, and we’ll dig into that.
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So Steven, you, you, and you talk about in the book an area that really just resonated with me. It was called the Ribbon Ceremony and, you know, kind of lead up if you would to, for the listeners out there, what that is. Uh, also, guys, you probably need to know when the way that Steven and the family rolls this, when you went into this, I think this was a cabin you guys were in.
Um, yeah, that, so, so once you’re in that cabin, you want, you didn’t leave like you, you literally, you were, you were in, in that, in that area for the entire duration of the weekend. So I, that’s important too, but I’d love for you to unpack that, that ribbon ceremony, cuz I just think there, there was a lot of beauty in that and I think that’s something that guys could, could really get, get behind and start leaning.
19:05 Steven Arms
Sure. So the Rite of Passage weekend is made up of certain rituals. You know, when we look at other examples of rights of passage in the culture at large, we see that they’re always made up with, they always, they’re always accompanied with certain rituals. So, for example, a graduation ceremony is a rite of passage, right?
Your high school. Mm-hmm. schooling has ended, and college or your working career is about to begin. A graduation ceremony helps us to make the emotionally helps us to make the transition from one stage in life to the next. And when you look at a high school graduation, there are certain rituals that are involved.
There’s an entrance ceremony, there’s a speech made by the valedictorian. There’s the throwing of caps, and then the very end of the ceremony is this, the de conferring of diplomas. That’s when you’ve like officially graduated high. So in a similar fashion, our Rite of passage weekend was made up of seven different rituals, uh, that gives meaning and encourages deep discussion between the men and the boys.
Um, one of the rituals, the entrance ceremony, actually, without going too much into detail, cuz I know we want to get to. Ribbon ceremony, but the entrance ceremony involves the lighting of the, of a fire. So the cabin that we were staying in had a wood stove. And fire, as you know, is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
It, it’s a symbol of God. Moses encounters God in the form of a burning bush. And so when, when the boy lights the fire for his rite of passage weekend, it symbolizes God’s presence. With us during the weekend, but also during our lives, right? Some, sometimes. Mm-hmm. our faith, our faith life is hotter, sometimes is colder, but what’s most important is that that is that our faith never becomes fully extinguished.
So there’s an element of fire that accompanies this rite of passage weekend. One of the later rituals is called the ribbon. and the ribbon ceremony. Mm-hmm. is really, it could be called a character trait ceremony. Every man, um, including the boy gets a stick from outside two to three feet long, and on his stick is six ribbons and they’re, each ribbon has a character trait that the man sees in himself.
So there are three positive character traits and three negative character traits. Positive character traits might be hardworking. Loyal and faithful. His negative character traits might be lustful, greedy, and lazy. Those are just six that I’m making up off the top of my head. Mm-hmm. . And each man shares with the group why He wrote down what he wrote down, why he sees these things in himself.
And then the boy also has a stick, but his stick starts off empty and once every man has in the group has shared, It’s the boy’s responsibility to go to each man and to untie the character traits that he wants to emulate, that he wants to take from this man, tie it o, untie it from his stick and tie it onto his own stick.
And that shows how as men, we have the ability to emulate or copy certain character traits that we see in other people. You know, for example, my father-in-law is really good at giving words of affirmation and praising people. He’s really good at building people up, and that’s something that doesn’t necessarily come easy to me personally, but it’s something that I see the beauty in.
I see the value in it. So I have tried to emulate that from him as a man. Once the boy has gone through the circle and you know, ideally he’s left with the stick full. Positive character traits. The men are left with their sticks, with their negative character traits on them, and actually at the end of the ritual, they take those ribbons and they place them in the fire, which represents one, their desire to burn away their defects, their negative character traits.
You know, no man is perfect and we all have certain things that we can improve on our, on ourselves. That’s part of being a man is becoming a better version of ourselves and making a conscious effort to improve, but also remember that fire represents God, so we can only improve ourselves with, by God’s grace, by relying upon God to do so.
Right? Not my will, but not my will be done, but thy will be. So that in a nutshell, is the ribbon ceremony, which is one of these severing different rituals that makes up the rite of passage weekend. That’s really cool. So now for you,
24:09 Chris Grainger
the one, the stick that you tied your uh, ribbons on, did that go in the fire too or is that something you kept as, as part
24:16 Steven Arms
No, that’s actually something that the boy keeps. So those are all the positive character trait. Yep. So I took my stick full of ribbons home and I actually still have it at my parents’ house today at my childhood home. So, uh, it’s, you know, stored up in the attic somewhere, but I do still have my stick full of positive character treat ribbons.
Right. That is r
24:40 Chris Grainger
right? That is so cool, man. That is awesome. So, I mean, and it’s a, it’s an entire weekend and I, and I feel like if I remember, it’s been a little bit since I read the book, but when you got home, you had a party
24:50 Steven Arms
too, right? Yeah, so there was an after party that, uh, comes after this Rite of passage weekend.
You know, when you look at, uh, the Jewish Bar Mitzvah or the Aboriginal walkabout, there’s always this celebration from the community afterwards, right? The, the boy, he left a boy and he has come back a man, and that is something that should be celebrated. The after party is, it’s kind of a regular birthday party for the 13 year old boy.
So for me, my brothers were there, my cousins, my friends were there. Root beer, pizza, nothing too crazy. You know, there was still this element of surprise. So I was tasked with not telling my younger siblings about it. Um, So it’s a little bit on the hush hush, but there is this, uh, celebration that follows the weekend, um, and gives the boy just a regular birthday party after all.
25:48 Chris Grainger
That’s really cool, man. Well, I mean, thank you for unpacking that. So I’m curious, when you think about rite of passages, obviously that’s a milestone moment, turning 13. Have you thought about could there be. Rite of passages along the way, or even the ones after that or, or that, you know, some smaller things.
You know, I, like I mentioned for me the first time, uh, I shot, I shot a shotgun, shot my, that, that, for me, that was a pretty big deal. It was a 12 gauge Remington eight 70. I remember it vividly and that was a big moment with my dad. And then, you know, when I drove his Ford F-150 with a five speed and I could barely push the clutch in, but I got that clutch down and was able to drive that thing that I had some of those moments.
So, If the guys are there, are thinking now, you know, I, I, I don’t know how to pull together a whole weekend like this. Are there small little rite of passages that you’ve seen work or that you would recommend?
26:39 Steven Arms
So after a Rite of Passage weekend, the boy, so he’s a man. Now, he’s officially considered to be a man, but becoming a man is also a journey, right?
It doesn’t happen over a weekend, so, You know, when I turned 13 after my write-off Passage weekend, my dad didn’t kick me out of the house and say, you have to get a job now. Get your own apartment, get your driver’s license. Becoming a man was a journey for me still. Um, you know, around the age of 13, physically, my brothers and I were large enough to finally push around the lawnmower.
So mowing the lawn became one of our responsibilities. Um, but having this rite of passage weekend helps with those that giving additional responsibilities to your son because it gives a father context for explaining why this is a good thing. So, for example, my dad could have said, you have to mow the lawn now because I said so.
Right. That’s just a display of authority to a, to a. But instead he said, it’s your responsibility to mow the lawn now because you are a man of this family. And as you grew up, when you have a house and a wife for yourself, you’re gonna have to mow the lawn for yourself. So it’s a good thing. It’s good to learn how to do this now because it will serve you well in the future.
Um, another really cool thing that our family did after the Rite of Passage this weekend was, During any large family gatherings during the holidays, whether it was Christmas or Easter, you know, there were, with the extended family, there were, it was a large group, right? Um, and there was always an adults table and a kids table.
And after the Rite of Passage weekend, the kid, the, the new man or the new woman got to graduate from the kids table to the adults table and engage in conversation with whatever the adults were talking. So that was one really cool way for, uh, for the family to make like a physical reminder that you are no longer a child, but you are a man or you are a woman.
And I think, yeah, I think really the, the benefit of this weekend, even though becoming a man or becoming a woman, is a process. It does take time as we grow and as we mature. The beautiful thing about the rite of passage, Is that it gives the boy a moment that he can look back on and say, that was the moment that I was considered to be a man in my father’s eyes.
And I would say that most men today don’t have that moment that they can look back on and say, that was when I became a man and my dad’s eyes. And what I say is that it’s every father’s responsibility to tell his son at the appropriate age. Son, I want you to know that in my eyes, you are no longer a boy, but I see you as a man.
And that if every man in this country did that to his son at the appropriate age, then this country and this world would be a much better. For
29:56 Chris Grainger
each on that brother, I’m with you. I’m with you all the way. I mean, that’s so important. I loved your analogy too, whether you’re, not your analogy, but the way you made the connection to the kitty table, to the big table.
That’s a big deal. I mean, I remember sitting at the kitty table and wanted to be at the big table. Now I’m at the big table and I wanna be at the kitty table. I don’t know what that says about me, but it’s just, it’s, it’s flipped. I wanna go back to the kitty table sometimes, but , you know, just, uh, to me it’s more fun.
I get to throw food. But anyway, I, I, I love that stuff, man. And, and, and the advice you gave there and the, the critical importance, like you say, that line and the sand. You, you’ve, you’ve done it. I mean, to start our original conversation, you talked about graduating. That’s a, that’s a definite transition. We need to have that for, you know, turning sons into men too.
So I, I do want to throw a little bit, and I have a curve ball though. I wanna get your take on this cuz like I mentioned, I have four kids. My, my youngest is, and now he’s two months old, so he’s brand new, still got the new baby smell right. But he’s, uh, he’s my first boy. So I’ve had old girls. I’ve done nothing but talk about girls for years, you know, being a girl, dad.
Mm-hmm. . So talk to the girl dads out there that are listening. What, you know, what’s. And the rite of passage for the the girl to, to
31:12 Steven Arms
a woman. I come from a family of all boys. I don’t have any sisters. And for that reason, we felt like, you know, my dad and I weren’t the right people to write the book about the female version of a rite of passage, but my girl cousins did get one of these rights of passages at the age of 13, just like the boys did as.
The weekend age itself looked very similar, same age, um, same rituals that make up the weekend. You know, the biggest difference is obviously it’s all the women in her life that take her away instead of all of the men in the, in her life that take her away. And, you know, the thinking behind that is you can’t give what you don’t have, right?
I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman or how to be a good woman. Um, God made me a man. That’s it is what it is, right? So, uh, for me it was the men in my life that took me away for my girl cousins. It was the woman in their lives that took them away for their weekend. There were some small changes, uh, to some of the ceremonies, like the ribbon ceremony, for example.
The, the women don’t use sticks. They actually use tiaras that they wear on their heads and tie ribbons to the tiaras. So there’s some small changes that can be made to the female version of a rite of passage. But overall the weekend looked very similar. Okay. Sounds
32:38 Chris Grainger
good. Well, I got a few more questions I wanna unpack on the rite of passages.
We’ll take a quick break guys and we’ll be right back,
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So Steven, I want I, I gotta dig into a little bit more on this. So, You know, I, I’m mentor, I’m big into mentoring and trying. I feel like we should all have, you know, a, a Timothy that we’re trying to bring along. Particularly, we’re a Christian man and we’re trying to be leaders out there, and not everybody has a son, right?
So, I mean, hopefully the guy, uh, again, guys, hear me talk about it all the time. You need to, you need to have that Timothy in your life. You need to have you, Paul Barnas, Anna Timothy. But for, for the sake of this conversation, we’re talk about Timothy. So let’s talk to those guys. You know, what if, if you’re mentoring a young boy, maybe they have a single.
And in the, in the case of the young man that I mentor, his dad actually passed away when he was a baby. So, you know, I, I really try to be there for them. So what does this look like for guys that are doing that mentorship? Is it the same deal, you just work in the same type of scenario? I mean, or any advice there?
35:09 Steven Arms
No, that’s a great question. You know, a similar situation like that occurred in our family because one of my cousins is adopted. For my aunt who never got married, so she’s a single mother and okay, in that case, you know, my aunt, she saw the benefit of her son having one of these rights of passage weekends.
Um, so she asked my grandfather to organize his right of passage weekend and kind of lead up. Heading up his Rite of passage weekend. So I would say that for, for boys who don’t have a father or a father figure in the house, it’s probably even more important for them to experience one of these rights of passages because they don’t have that example of what it means to be a man, what it means to be a good man in their in their lives day in and day out.
They don’t have that example of how to relate to other men in healthy ways. So that’s why for boys who don’t have a father or father figure in the house, it’s even more important for them to experience one of these rights of passage weekends. And in that case, if you’re a single mother listening to this, I would say identify a man in your life who your son has a prior relationship with.
It shouldn’t be a total stranger that your son has never met. Identify a man who you trust, who your son has a previous relationship with, and ask him to organize one of these rights of passage, weekends. Mm-hmm. . It may sound intimidating, it may sound scary, but the truth is, is that that man is going to get other men involved too.
It’s gonna be three or four men that take this boy away for his rite of passage weekend. So not all of the responsibility, not all of the pressure is gonna fall onto any one man’s should. But ultimately it is important for every 13 year old boy to experience something like this so that he can look back and remember that was the moment that I became a man.
Right? It’s very clear to him when his manhood began. ,
37:20 Chris Grainger
great advice right there. I mean, and I’m just thinking through right now, the young man that I mentor, I believe he’s getting ready to turn 13, so I may have an excuse to pull off my first rite of passage now that I think about that. So, uh, if that happens, man, I’m gonna take some pictures.
I’m gonna send ’em to you, Steven. We’ll have to have a, have to have a follow up conversation on that. So, uh, when you think back, just a couple more on this, what was, what was your favorite ritual? Just looking back that weekend, what was the, your favorite part of the entire weekend?
37:46 Steven Arms
I mean, the ribbon ceremony was definitely one of the best, most memorable rituals.
Um, there’s also a scripture sharing exercise where every man comes prepared before the weekend with one of his favorite passages from scriptures, from scripture. Uh, he reads that passage out loud to the. And then gives a short kind of five or 10 minute reflection on why he picked it and what it means to him, how he applies it to his own life.
My grandfather was kind of famous in our family for always picking the story of the prodigal son. Um, and he would talk about how, you know, sometimes we find ourselves in the shoes. The younger son, sometimes we find ourselves in the shoes of the older son. And now that I’m a dad myself, sometimes I find myself in the shoes of the father, which is kind of a new experience for me.
So, uh, that, that discussion, that scripture sharing exercise. Was really an opportunity to pass down the faith from one generation to the next. You know, I was hearing these stories from my grandfather, from my dad, from my uncles, about their favorite, favorite scripture passages and how they applied it to, to their own lives, and that gave me as a 13 year old boy context and an example for when I grew up and I inevit.
Ask those questions about what do I believe, you know, and how do I apply scripture to my own life? I know like my dad, for example, what he shared during the weekend and that that ritual he shared how at work he was, he found it difficult to pray during lunch because he wasn’t sure what his coworkers were.
Think he didn’t want to come off as holier than thou, he didn’t want to. You know, he was afraid of what other people might think about that. But ultimately he shared how the, the be attitudes, you know, blessed are, are you, when they persecute you, how it’s actually a good thing, you know, if he did get that resistance and how that gave him comfort in that situation.
And that was kind of, those were good stories for me to hear because, you know, a 13 year. They don’t really have any valuable life experience, right? They’re still just kind of a kid at 13 years old. So hearing this story, hearing these stories, getting this wisdom passed down from one generation to the next is kind of the whole, uh, one of the major benefits of these rite of passage weekends.
40:25 Chris Grainger
Now, I, I, I gotta ask this one too. This probably be one of our last questions, but I, I, I wanna know cause I’m a planner man. Like we, when we go on vacation, there’s an agenda. Yeah. I’m that weird guy. I wanna know exactly where we’re going, when we’re going to get there. And when things don’t go right, my stress goes up.
When daddy stress goes up, nobody has a good time. So it just, unfortunately, I gotta work on it. It’s something I’m working on. Me, the spirit’s working on me there. So then we talk to the dad right there who is an over planter, because this is a big deal. This is a line of thought that goes into this weekend.
You’re talking about rituals, you’re talking about preparation, you’re talking about, uh, you know, reservations that need to be made and things like that, just to make sure that you can pull something like this off and you’re trying to do. Undercover of some secrecy, you don’t wanna let it all out. So you can’t put it on the family calendar or just announce it.
So there’s naturally things that I can’t help but think that’s gonna go wrong. Maybe you plan a weekend outside and it’s raining. Right. So, you know, talk to the dad out there who’s stressing right now thinking like, I can’t pull something like this off. I mean, you got any advice there? Because you’ve been through five of ’em.
Surely they all five didn’t. 100% without something happening. So, you know, what, what would be your advice to the dads that they’re listening and maybe you’re struggling with how to actually
41:34 Steven Arms
pull this off? Well, there’s actually a number of things I would say to a dad like that. Um, for one, the book is really written as an outline for fathers who want to organize one of these weekends for their sons.
So the whole second part of the book is really a how to guide, and it lays it out step by step how to. One of these weekends. So we’ve kind of given you a blueprint already. Uh, the second thing that I’ll say is that on our website, we’ve put up email templates that fathers can copy and paste into the body of an email and send to their team.
And these emails, they explain what a rite of passage is, why you want to hold one for your son, and exactly what you’re gonna be doing during this weekend. You know, one thing we realized as a family, we have all these emails that went back and forth. Why don’t we just clean it up a bit and give it to guys for free.
You know, uh, we don’t ask for your email address because we know a lot of guys don’t want to be spammed these days. You literally just go to our website, copy these email templates, and paste it into the body of an email. We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for you to organize one of these rights of passage weekends, and give you the actual words that you.
That being said, Chris, you know, to your point, none of these weekends are gonna go perfectly smoothly, and there’s always gonna be a, there’s always gonna be hiccups. But the truth is, is that your son is not gonna know the difference anyways. You know, um, because the weekend is a surprise for him. You, something might totally fall apart and.
You know, one of the rituals might not happen. Your, your rite of passage might only be six rituals long instead of seven rituals. But that’s okay because the boy is not gonna know the difference anyways. And the truth is, is that as he grows up, he’s gonna forget a lot of the words that were shared with him during his Rite of passage weekend.
But he’s never gonna forget the fact that you held one of these weekends for him and you gave him a moment that he could look back on and. That was when I became a man in my father’s eyes. Well, Stephen, I’ve learned
43:51 Chris Grainger
so much from you about the Rite of Passage weekend about ways that guys can really lean into this.
I just, I really appreciate you being so open and transparent. I’m not gonna let you get away, though, without a lightning round. So if you want, if you’re willing to play, we’ll jump in and have some fun. You, you wanna, you ready to go?
44:06 Steven Arms
Absolutely. Let’s do it.
44:08 Chris Grainger
All right. All right. So we’re just got some fun here.
So Lo Love, just to get some insight. So, what’s your favorite thing when you think about God, what’s your favorite thing about.
44:17 Steven Arms
My favorite thing about God is his love and his mercy. What I love about God is he is a loving father and he cares about each and every one of his children, and that all of us are unique in his eyes.
And I would say that’s what I love most about God is just how infinitely loving he is.
44:39 Chris Grainger
Amen brother. Amen. Now I’m gonna flip it 180. What’s your least favorite thing about Sat?
44:45 Steven Arms
My least favorite thing about Satan is probably how tempting he can be sometimes. As much as I hate to admit it, I think it’s something we all struggle with.
It’s just part of the human condition that we are fallen, but I, I wish that I didn’t have this desire towards him sometimes, you know, in the brokenness of this world, if I’m being totally honest with you. Yeah, I know, man. I’m with you.
45:06 Chris Grainger
It’s, it’s very scary how that temptation can take so many guys, a luer, the flesh, luer, the fl, the eyes and the pride of life.
Man, those three things he can really get us each and every time. So maybe le what’s next question? What’s something that you’re struggling with right now?
45:23 Steven Arms
Something that I’m struggling with right now, I would say is getting my iden, getting my identity from my work. Sometimes I think as men, it’s really easy to think about our own self worth and measure it by how much we get done in any certain given day, right?
When in reality we are the sons of a loving father God, and we are infinitely valuable in his eyes no matter what we do. Mm-hmm. . And so I think for me, I struggle with getting my identity from my work rather than getting my identity from my loving.
46:02 Chris Grainger
Hmm. That’s good stuff, man. I mean, I totally get it.
Totally get that. So if you look back over the last year, what did you spend too much time doing? Steven,
46:13 Steven Arms
something I spent too much time doing this last year is too much time on the internet. I, it’s just something that it, you can get sucked in and go down these deep rabbit holes, you know, and then look up and realize, wow, I just spent one hour on my phone, you know, that I could have been spending with my kids, with my wife.
I mean, if I’m being honest with you, which is the theme of this conversation, uh, spending too much time on the internet is something I also struggle with. Brother,
46:41 Chris Grainger
we hear it from all the guys. This is something I struggle with too. I mean, it’s just a big thing. It sucks you in and it’s not even, not necessarily you’re doing bad things on the internet, it’s just, it’s, it’s constantly a, a pull and so many times it pulls us away from what we should be doing.
So I totally get that one. Thank you for being open and honest there. So, what is a new habit that maybe you’ve recently started or something that you wanna start
47:04 Steven Arms
moving? One new habit that I’ve recently started is starting every day with a chapter from scripture. What I’ve realized is that you can get through almost the entire New Testament in one year if you just do one chapter a day.
You know, I love to read. Um, I’m always working on two or three books at a time, but a new habit that I’ve started is. That I don’t allow myself to read anything else until I read one chapter out of the Bible every day. So that’s kind of my morning routine is grab a cup of coffee, read one chapter from the Bible, and then the rest of the day I can read anything else I want.
47:49 Chris Grainger
well that’s a good challenge right there. It definitely gets you in the word and you’ll be a lot, a lot of growth there for sure. So the last question, enlightening round, what is one thing you hope the listeners out there remember from our conversation
48:00 Steven Arms
today? The one thing that I would hope that your listeners get from this conversation is that it is vitally important that every boy experiences a rite of passage around the appropriate age.
Because in the absence of a rite of passage, a boy will try to prove his manhood to himself and to others, and what that looks like. It could be the sexual conquest of women. You hear guys say things like, she made a man, she made a man out of me. Or it could be violence, right? When boys are fighting each other, they’re essentially trying to prove their physical superiority over one another.
Proving himself as a man, if I can beat this man up, then I, therefore I’m a better man than. Or it could take the form of video game addictions, right? In a lot of video games, you can literally slay a dragon or kill a terrorist. That all plays into the male ego. Proving yourself as a warrior, proving yourself as a man.
But if a father steps in and affirms his son’s masculine identity by saying, son, I want you to know that in my eyes, you are no longer a boy, but I consider you to be a. And boys don’t feel the need to prove their manhood to themselves and to their others. And to others because their father has taken the initiative and told him that he’s a man.
Yeah. So good right
49:34 Chris Grainger
there, man. Thank you so much for that. So Steven, where should the guys go to, to connect with you, uh, to, to find the book? Where, where do you wanna direct
49:43 Steven Arms
them so they can learn? People can find out more about me and about the book on our website, which is milestone to manhood.com. You can also purchase a copy of the book on Amazon.
Just type in milestone to manhood and the SER search bar and it will pop right up. Okay, well, we’ll make
50:03 Chris Grainger
sure that stuff’s synced up into show notes for you listeners out there to be sure to check that out. And, uh, you know, is there anything else, Steven, that you would like to share today on the line with Dennis?
50:12 Steven Arms
I don’t think so. Chris, I just wanna say thank you so much for having me on your show. Hey, it’s been an
50:18 Chris Grainger
honor, sir. Looking forward to getting this book into the hands of a lot of these guys out there and, and, uh, you know, Judah, he just turned two months, so I got, I got a little while before I can have to plan out that, write a passage, but I’m looking forward to that at some point in the future, man, so appreciate you.
I hope you have a
50:33 Steven Arms
wonderful day. You too, Chris. God bless.
50:40 Chris Grainger
Let me ask you a real personal. Who are your five closest friends? Are they pulling you closer to God or further away? I know some of many guys that said, man, I ain’t got five friends. You know? Okay. I get it, man. It’s hard. It’s hard to make those true connections. So what we did at the line with Innocence, we started a community.
That community is where brotherhood happens. It’s where guys come together. So guys, if you, if you’re struggling right now, if you feel a little bit isolated or alone, you need to hop in the. You’re gonna find brothers there that are gonna come alongside you, that want to help you. Wherever you’re at, wherever you’re at.
Guys don’t think you have to be some theologian to join. No. We’re all just regular men who want to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ to ultimately be the leader God intends us to be. That’s what it’s about. So hop over to the community guys. We have a lot of live events as well, so you can hop in, you can kind of just sit there and watch.
You don’t have to really jump in if that’s not who you are right now, hop in on a lion lunch. Maybe go to one of our Bible studies that we have going on. Maybe check out some of our courses that we have available. Or, uh, ask me anything events where you had previous guests come in and share their expertise.
All this is available within the community that is part of the membership. So if it sounds like there’s something you wanna. God, 30 day free trial. Just jump in, see if it serves you, and if it does, guys, we would love to have you in our community. As we’re growing, we’re serving, we’re helping others be the leader that God intends them to be, and I know we can help you be the leader God wants you to be as well.
So again, hop over to the line within us. Click on join for that 30-day free trial so you can get started. I look forward to seeing you inside the den.
Well, guys, that was an action packed one. I told you we were gonna get tactical, told you we were gonna get really practical as well. So you have some tools now you have some tools to have your own right of passage weekend. So my prayer is go do it. Go do it. Get to work. Find that opportunity to lean in, to serve, to grow guys.
Don’t make this harder than it needs. You know, use the resources. Go check out the show notes. We’ll have links there for, for the resources that we talked about. But then actually put it into action guys. Put it into action. Make that impact. You heard Steven, he’s gonna remember this his entire life. One weekend.
Just one weekend, but his dad took intent, intentional action to make that happen. So I pray it served you well. Cause I really want you to thank the question. This week. We’ve been talking about it all week. How do. Turn sons into men and guys, you have to do this. You have to turn your son into men. Your wife can’t do it.
A woman cannot turn a boy into a man. A man has to do that. You need to step up and do that, guys. And I know that’s not popular to be said and the culture we live in, but I’m, that’s okay. I’m not, I’m not trying to go after popular. I’m trying to go after what’s right and what the truth is. And that truth is God is very clear.
He made us distinct man. He made his woman and he need men to teach young boys how to be. Okay, so guys, hopefully you enjoyed this one. Again, check out the show notes. If you haven’t given us a rating or review yet, I would encourage you to do that. Please just, just check that five stars. Write a couple sentences that makes all the difference in the world.
Go to the line within us, line within.us. Join our community. You haven’t taken advantage of the 30 day free trial. Guys. What are you waiting on? Seriously, it’s a great way just to jump in to see what we’re all about, to see how we can. You have nothing to lose. We have the, we have our ask me anything events, our bible studies, our line lunches.
Uh, I go live every day and read scripture. Guys, we’re trying to pour into you to help you be the leader God intends you to be, but you can’t do that sitting on the sidelines. You gotta jump into the game, guys. I prayed that you jump in, go check that out. Maybe you need some one-on-one coaching. You have one-on-one coaching as well.
We can serve you there. We can help you there. Maybe you’re, you’re struggling with your finances, we’re struggling in your marriage, struggling with your kids, whatever that area is, you’re not alone. I know you feel like you’re alone, but you’re not. You can go right there to our community. We have Christian brothers that are in there right now that are ready to serve you.
Jump in, come along beside you to help you. That’s what it’s all about, guys serving you, helping you grow. So again, the line within us for all those resources, blog, uh, the, the store, all the stuff we have that’s right there on that website guys. But highly encourage you to check it out. Click on that 30 day free trial and jump in and let’s have a conversation.
Cause I look forward to talking to you. Cause I every week have conversations with guys inside the, the, the lions den. And I’ll tell you what, we’re all growing. I prayed. If you take that advantage of that, jump in appre. Thank you for listening. Keep sharing this stuff out. If you know someone who has a son that qualifies for this in this age range, share this episode in particular.
Maybe you’ve never shared one of our episodes, but you have someone who qualifies here. Definitely share that. Share it out cuz they may not have even thought about that. If you can have a huge impact and maybe you just come along beside them and help ’em plan that. Get back at it. Come back on our fun Friday.
I have some really good tips. I think we’re gonna serve you well as you move forward to try to lead your family. So come back for those fun, for those tips on our fun Friday. Look forward to serving you next time. And remember to unleash the lion within.
Steven shares how his father, grandfather and uncles planned an epic right of passage weekend which impacted him tremendously. He unpacks details from the weekend including:
- Events from the weekend
- Getting his first taste of true leadership
- Entering a cabin a boy and coming out a man
- Ribbon ceremony that set the course of who he strives to be
- Scripture that rocked his core
This is an action oriented conversation that you can begin applying right away. For the girl dads out there he offers ideas on how to help with that right of passage as well.
Listen up guys – it is us to US to teach our boys to be men. Even if you are not a father or that season of life has passed you still can make an impact. Churches are suffering to lead their young men because the strong men are not there. It’s time to take action and implementing something like a Right of Passage experience is something that could have a HUGE impact on young men.
It’s time to take action and to stop making excuses. Pray for an opportunity to serve, keep your eyes open, be obedient and watch how He moves in you to unleash the Lion Within!
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