In typical Wade fashion, the group is now introduced to a pretty nifty idea, ego pollen. This boy (or should I say Cowboy?) wonder managed to concoct a term that I think best describes the normal pattern of men when they transition from one stage to another. For better or worse, men grow accustomed to certain characteristics found in each phase, and naturally carry them into the next. Sometimes it's a conscious decision, while at other times it's unbeknownst to him. The obvious question associated with this notion and posited by my good friend is who should be responsible for determining which stage the man is in? What is more, who determines when he has successfully moved into the next one?
In my opinion, the most important accountability partner for a man when assessing his current status is his "inner man." While this isn't nearly as catchy as ego pollen, I think we can all learn a thing or two when letting our conscience be our guide. It's very plausible that Eldredge's lack of attention on identifying individuals who help determine where a man is in his life could be intentional, so as not to force us to seek them out for answers. Moreover, because men have different types of relationships with other men, the author might give men free reign when choosing their "masculine mentor" or "stage guide." Personally, I think it's my responsibility as a man, and child of God, to do a self-assessment, or masculine gut-check, to see where I am at that moment, as well as where I've been and want to go. Knowing the various characteristics and tendencies associated with each stage enables reflective thinking; however, this is not the only method that should be used. In scripture, Christian men are called to hold each other accountable, and this is a great method for doing so.
Example: If a particular issue or problem takes center stage in my life, I instinctively think of what I did right or wrong; yet, it's impossible for me to garner all the answers. Throughout our friendship, Wade and I have often expressed our thoughts and feelings with each other (I know this sounds kind of feminine guys, but stay with me) and what I have found is that HE has aided me in assessing where I'm successful in life or falling short. While it's easy for me to talk myself out of certain things or feel like a failure, Wade has been there to provide objective interpretation and steer me in the right direction.
So, in an attempt to answer Wade's questions, I think it's my responsibility to assess where I'm at in my life, as well as yours. A wise old sage once said you can't go through life alone. In that spirit, this group is here to help each other through [every stage in a man's] life. The best way to do this is identifying the "stage habits" in a man's life.
What do you think?