Seeking Manly Advice - Overcoming Pride to Become Your Best Version -By Fred Workman
“I don’t wanna go,” shouted my fearful 13-year-old self to my 57-year-old fragile ego.
This time I wasn’t a boy in line to ride The Beast at Kings Island, rather, I recently received a call from my friend, Larry, inviting me to a “man skills weekend” at his hunting lodge.
Initially, it sounded fun, because I was sure I had some comfortable skills with which I could enlarge that ego and raise my value as a man to my friends. I asked Larry about doing some shooting there on the ranch, an area of skill and comfort for me. “No,” Larry replied, “we’re going to be doing a lot of fencing and fence repair.”
“Mayday” for the city boy, as I knew absolutely nothing about ranch fencing. Dread ensued and killed any joy of packing and driving three hours to The Lodge, now a potential site for personal embarrassment and exposure of weakness.
For added stress, Larry called me a few days later and told me to bring my bow because a flock of turkeys have been hanging around the lodge. Perhaps I had pawned myself off as an archer to the wrong person. Sure, I have killed my share of rubber 3-D targets with my bow, but I’ve never as much drawn back with a broad head hunting tip or even had any living creature in my peep sight.
Seeking some damage control on my new area of disqualification, I frantically began
to look through my garage for the box of broadheads and uncut Gold Tip Hunter arrows I had ordered two years ago in early COVID. Back then, I had felt compelled to learn how to hunt to feed my family when it all goes down.
The Old Sage
Seeing my panic, my wife asked me what I was doing. After telling her my new source of angst, she referred me to the 74-year-old sage that lived a couple of hundred yards away.
To say that Daniel is an accomplished hunter would be an understatement. He’s killed more Colorado elk with his bow than most hunters have seen through their rifle scope. I believe he had a streak of 18 consecutive successful hunts.
Daniel gladly accepted my invitation for some archery coaching and invited me over. I snuck in a practice round in my backyard and then went to his place the next day. I was immediately out of the quiver in the kill zone from 20 and 30 yards. Graciously, Daniel would say, “dead elk.”
After a few more tips to maintain my consistency, we ventured back to 50 yards. My first arrow was dead center and Dan now affirmed, “Dead turkey.”
He told me in no uncertain terms that he knew I was going to kill an elk this year with my bow and this weekend, a turkey if I saw one. Daniel had that much confidence in this untested archery hunter. Suddenly, I found new confidence amid a Wild at Heart teaching lesson.
Wisdom in Seeking Wisdom
First, I had humbly sought The Sage for wisdom and had taken my question, “Do I have what it takes?” to another man. John Eldredge says that only a man can offer validation to another man.
Daniel demonstrated the patience and Godly wisdom I needed. He bestowed validation and mentoring in his backyard—a model for any man to follow. Secondly, while I didn’t see any turkeys this trip to the lodge, I learned a new man skill from Larry that was well outside of any of my self-constructed comfort zone.
I found it overall more rewarding to stretch myself and a lot of cattle fence than to have had a comfortable pissing contest with some challenger on a gun range.
Stretch Your Fences
Be alert for that opportunity to do something new and uncomfortable. Often times, men invite us into their adventure in their area of expertise and we dismiss it without any consideration. I encourage you to take that opportunity to get to know another man and experience his world.
Ask a sage to coach you in a skill that you see in him. Most times, you will learn more than just what you are seeking.
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About Fred Workman
Fred is a 57-year-old medical doctor, specializing in Hospital Medicine. He is one of our volunteer Men in the Arena National Team Captains. Fred is married to his amazing bride for 32 years and has three grown children. Fred is a self-proclaimed “men’s group junkie with a passion to encourage and mentor men to fight for their spiritual mission.”