"The glory of young men is their strength; and the beauty of old men is the gray head."
Raising boys to be men in our modern world is a continual challenge. It is quite an easy task to raise boys to be boys - simply leave them to their own devises. Hand them a game controller and a pocket pizza and they will apply themselves rather diligently to the tutelage of the "Xbox" or "Playstation". If, in fact, you want to raise your boy to become a man, you will have to exchange his game controller for a gray headed man, wise in years, given to instructing and employing said young man.
Years ago, Sir Knight and I committed to raising Master Hand Grenade to take his place among the men in our community. We wanted him to know how to work, how to think and how to reason. We wanted him to be more comfortable in a room full of men than he was with his "peer" group. We wanted him to listen and learn from his elders, to "sit at their feet", so to speak. We wanted Hand Grenade to value the wisdom that is wrought through the failures, successes and knowledge that can only be gained over a lifetime.
Since he was a little boy, Hand Grenade has worked side by side with his father. He has cut wood, sawed logs, built fences and rebuilt generators. He has changed oil, changed tires and changed propane bottles. He has rewired lights, maintained our mechanical fleet and serviced deep cycle batteries. He has prayed for our family, comforted his siblings and bandaged little wounds. He has spent his young life being a "Man in Training". He has lent the strength of his youth to the gray headed wisdom of his father and together, they have built an empire.
The time has come for another gray head to give counsel and guide the strength of our young man. Master Hand Grenade will be leaving soon to take up residence with his grandparents. He has secured a job with a local entrepreneur and will be spending his summer working....hard. He will be doing everything from lawn maintenance to construction to operating big equipment. In his "spare" time, he will be helping my parents with whatever they may need. My dad, his grandpa, will be the gray head to Master Hand Grenade's strength. Together, they will slay dragons. The two, working in concert, will be better than either could be by themselves.
Our young men need our old men. Young men are strong, and rash and foolish. Old men (however imperfect) have experience, wisdom and quiet determination. Although they no longer have the strength they need to accomplish what they want, they have the knowledge. Imagine what our men could do if they only combined their strengths! If our young men would listen to the wisdom of their elders and our old men would take the time to teach the young they would be unstoppable!
Oh, to harness the strength of young men and recognize the beauty of old men!