When author and father, Zeke Pipher, thought about how to give his 12-year old son a picture of masculinity, he wrote a fable – The Wild Man.
Our culture is confused about the idea of masculinity. Articles and books are published each year attempting to answer the question: What makes a man a man? The answers we’re providing as a society are all over the map. It’s no wonder fathers are afraid to have sons, and young men are failing to grow up, lead with strength and courage, and enjoy healthy relationships. We are not giving boys a clear path into manhood.
For young men to find this clear path, older men must bear the torch and get involved. Fathers, grandfathers, and father-figures are essential to a boy’s process of becoming a man. Many cultures understand the vital role the older men play in initiating young men. For example, in his book, Iron John, Robert Bly describes the process of initiation into manhood employed by the Kikuyu tribe in Kenya. When a boy is ready to become a man, the adult men in the tribe take him away from the village—away from his mother, sisters, and all the other comforts of his boyhood world—and they lead him to a sacred place where only the men go. They require the boy to fast for three days, and then on the third night, they join him around a campfire—a tribe of elders and one hungry boy.
The initiation begins when one of the older men takes out a knife and opens a vein in his own arm. He collects some of his blood in a gourd and passes the knife and gourd to the next man. That man takes the knife and does the same thing. The cutting and the collecting continues until each adult male in the tribe has contributed to the bowl. At that point, the bowl is passed to the boy, and he is invited to satisfy his hunger by drinking from the gourd.
That may sound gruesome to our “civilized” minds, but the young man learns several valuable lessons through this ceremony. He discovers that his elders take seriously their responsibility to pass on masculinity; so seriously, in fact, that they’re willing to bleed for it. He learns that only men can initiate boys into manhood. He sees that a knife can be used for deep and wholesome purposes, and not merely for playing or fighting. He also gains a picture of how blood represents the life of another person and how, through the blood of his elders, he has been invited into the life of every man in his tribe.
The Wild Man fable is book designed to give men – young and old – a vision for courageous, strong, faithful masculinity. It’s the perfect gift for a father, grandfather, or father-figure to give the young men in his life. This fable is a perfect first step.
But, men, we can’t just take the first step. Our sons and grandsons need us to walk with them on a journey of discovery, having important conversations, praying through relevant Scriptures, and practicing the qualities and virtues that make a man a man. This is where the Wild Mountain Tribe 14-week guidebook is designed to help. It is a resource for older men to use as they faithfully pass on the vision and practices of courageous, strong, faithful masculinity.
It started with a fable a father wrote for his son. Where it goes from here… well, that is up to YOU. Pick up both books, form a TRIBE, and let the journey begin.
NOTE: The Wild Man & Wild Mountain Tribe are only sold on www.thewildmountain.com and www.zekepipher.com. The Wild Mountain enjoys working with schools, churches, and ministries to provide discounts for books purchased in bulk. To inquire about bulk discounts, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this contact form.