My youngest son, 4 years old at the time, decided to hang out with me while I cut some wood in our garage. He would stand back and cover his ears each time I triggered the miter saw and made a cut.
My wife came out to ask a few questions about something, then started asking my son some questions. But after just two questions he was done.
“Mommy, can you please just go inside?”
She laughed, then did as she was asked, understanding the moment.
Even at that age, my son desired some time alone with his father. Not only that, he instinctively felt that the atmosphere had changed once there was a female present.
Men need male-only spaces. They need them early in life. The stereotypical clubhouse with the “no girls allowed” sign reflects a deep truth.
Introduce the feminine to a male space and everything changes. Even before there is the mysterious thing known as “attraction” to contend with, the female presence has a marked effect. It is a neutralizing agent for the volatile mix of masculine pursuits.
This is part of a woman’s glory, to settle things down so a space can be crowned with beauty. But some things need to remain wild. The bump and tumble of masculine pursuits need the freedom to be dirty and unpredictable. They need to be able to speak and rebuke without the risk of offending a woman’s sensibilities.
Add feminine energy too early and you risk a stillbirth of potential genius. Attention and energy will be directed toward that female presence instead of toward the mission. The woods need to be cleared and the cabin built before the window trimmings can be measured. The wilderness must be tamed before civilization can be moved in.
So be sure and spend time alone with your sons on a regular basis. They need to be away from their mother and sisters. Carve out this time and resist any intrusion by the women in your life.
Cultivate your own male-only spaces, where you spend time with like-minded men to push each other to grow.
- Book club
- Gun range
- Boardgame nights
- Hunting/fishing trips
- Basketball league
- Build or do something together (maybe an elderly couple needs yard work)
These spaces should be aspirational for your sons. Once they have proven themselves to be men, they should be invited to participate.