My 16-year-old son challenged me to a beard growing contest. I gave him a three day head start. He was so confident he’d win that he explained that when it was fully grown, in a week, he was going to shave it into a “Victor beard” from the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

His mother told him he’d not be allowed to leave the house.

I quietly encouraged him to keep growing it. After five days, he threw in the towel. “You win, Dad.”

I was unsatisfied. I told him we needed to have an unbiased survey and turn to Facebook. When the survey concluded that I had indeed won, I congratulated him on how well he did. His beard was awesome and far thicker than what I had at his age. He liked that.

Teenage boys want to be men. And while they’re not yet men on the inside, sometimes they are men on the outside. Acknowledging their progress and validating their manhood may help them, one day, become the men you want them to be.
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Living In The Trenches

Christopher Robbins

Christopher Robbins, the Pater Familius, has been in the magazine and book publishing industry for more than twenty years. He is a husband, father of nine children, backpacker, cello player, fly fisherman, and lover of a simple life. He is published ... Read More

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