Although we've already touched on this issue/topic a little, I'd like to impart some of my personal experiences in the realm of being "initiated" into manhood. As Eldredge attests, the most important man-figure in a boy's life has always been his father. Despite the unfortunate growth in the "absent father" demographic, I'm proud to say that I've never lacked the father-figure in my life.
For those of you that know me (at all), my father is bound to come up at some point in just about any discussion we have. It's no secret that I have a deep, sincere love for my father, and I've often said that I am who I am because of him. Although he never taught me to fish, change the oil in my car, or tie a bowline knot, what he did teach me is far more valuable. Growing up, I learned about hard work, commitment, integrity, faithfulness, and discipline just by watching him each day. I'm not trying to put him up on a pedestal, as he's far from perfect; yet he strives for perfection and to give the Lord his all.
Honestly, it's hard for me to sympathize with someone who grew up without a father. Sure, my dad didn't make to everyone of my games, or effectively communicate his feelings; but he was always there for me. Something I wish HE could say about HIS father. One of the most tragic stories he's ever told me was being nine years old and running out to the driveway to welcome his father home after being gone for a little while. As a ran up to hug him, my grandfather stopped him and stuck out his hand. "Men don't hug, they shake hands."
It pains me to tell this story, and think of the many other ones dad's told me over the years. I just hope that none of you have these same stories. Hopefully, this book and these discussions will help us all in becoming the father we always wanted.
By the way, I'm almost 29 years old and I STILL hug my father!