Father’s Approval—Stealing The Torch of Manhood When It Isn’t Passed

In this extended Father's Day episode, Asher doesn't laud fathers (since that's what everyone else is doing). Instead, he explores the mission of fatherhood to convey a child from uncertain youth to confident adulthood. And what can anyone do about it, if a father abdicates that responsibility?

Show Notes Delightfully un-edited and subject to error (blame the machines who might say ANYTHING).

In this extended Father's Day episode, Asher doesn't laud fathers (since that's what everyone else is doing). Instead, he explores the mission of fatherhood to convey a child from uncertain youth to confident adulthood. And what can anyone do about it, if a father abdicates that responsibility?

Welcome to another episode of man hearted. The show about being a man I'm Asher black, your host powered by spunk. And once again, we'll aim to get to the heart of manhood with father's day imminent at the time of this recording possibly passed. By the time you listened to it, it felt right to go ahead and talk about fathers, uh, for a father's day episode. So, uh, we're going to deal with that. And instead of being the usual thing, which you, uh, you know, it's funny, I think the two days that, um, a lot of men go to church is the, our Christmas and, uh, father's day, uh, there's, you know, usually a father's day sermon, et cetera. And of course they're glowing and they Lord fathers, and we're gonna hear all kinds of pains to fathers all throughout, uh, you know, whether it's on local news or, or wherever everybody's going to bring it up.

And so we're going to distinctly not go that way. Uh, so instead, and talk about a little bit of the trouble, uh, with our fathers, uh, and, uh, see if, if you don't identify with some of this and some of this, I'm going to tell, I'm going to do a little storytelling. I'm going to tell you about my own experience. Um, and the reason I'm willing to do that at the risk of somebody saying, well, this show's too personal. It's about your experience. Is that, uh, almost every man I talked to every other man, let's just say at least half or more, um, have similar experiences and have shared this with me. And so, uh, this is not going to be a cry Fest or we're not going to be hugging and, and beating each other with rubber bats and letting out our primal scream in the wilderness or anything like that.

Don't worry. Uh, but at the same time, I don't have time for it either. I hope you don't. Um, but at the same time, uh, I do think we gotta, we gotta deal with what's up, right. And make it okay. To sort of bring this out for a second and deal with it because father's day is it's like Christmas, right? It's a holiday where you fight with your relatives. Well, that's Thanksgiving. Okay. So thanks for leaving, but no, but father's day is, is a dual edged sword, right. Because you know, you have to deal with your dad, so, or you don't, or you've decided not to, in which case you're, you're at one end of the sword. So maybe you don't have the option. There's obviously many men that don't. Um, but the fact is you still carry your dad with you in, in memory one way or another, regardless of what they were like, uh, if you knew him at all.

So I want to talk a little bit about, um, the trouble with fathers and it, it differs for everybody, right? Some people have the problem of paternal absence. Uh, he's not around, never was some people have the problem of paternal rejection. Your father doesn't respect. You doesn't treat you as though you're an equal or have reached the stage of manhood. Um, or there's the problem of fatherly advocation, where the father doesn't hold up his end of the bargain. And there is one, you know, and says the stuff like, well, I clothed you. I fed you. I put a roof over your head. Yeah. Okay. That's good. That's a baseline. But the state would have done that if you didn't. So, you know, the sisters of charity, the little sisters down the street would have done that, but there was a little bit more required. Right.

So the thing is, we don't talk about this stuff as men very often. And I think it's because there's shame involved in having a frustrated relationship with your father. We don't tend to bring it up at least not without knowing somebody really well. And even then he might know a guy for years and, and not really go there. Right. Um, and I remember that when I first tried to articulate, uh, the confusion and, um, the feelings I was having about it, it kinda just came out as complaints and bitterness and despondency. And those are pretty unattractive features in most people, um, whether it's in business or personal life or, you know, at a cocktail party or whatever, God, I don't go to cocktail parties. Do you? I think I went to a couple of my youth and went, this is not for me. I don't even drink cocktails.

Uh, well, I don't know margarita now. And then, uh, give me a scotch, give me Irish whiskey. So I, I learned to kind of keep this stuff and myself, and stay relatively silent about it. And part of that was reinforced, you know, a lot of manners sort of relieved by that. Um, because the, the meme that we're living up to is that we can take it. Right. So, um, that, you know, we're trying to basically underscore the idea that toughness and unwavering focus are, um, the quintessential, uh, male virtues. And the problem with that is, uh, you can give yourself a heart attack or a stroke or, or something like that, following that meme. So if you, if you really take a close look at the treadmill, some of us are either on, or have spent a number of years on, um, which looks very laudable in its, in his qualities, uh, an endless ambition to reach ever greater thresholds of achievement.

Oftentimes that is coupled with ironically disappointment when we actually accomplish those things and what those things end up meaning to us personally. Uh, and, uh, in the wake of that, I can't help, but yeah, think that some of that, uh, involves thwarted attempts to gain the approval of our fathers. And, and so the treadmill is not one we created. We're still trying to essentially prove something to the old man. Uh, yeah. And these, these frustrated efforts, um, I'm often are to try to confirm this feeling of adulthood or manhood. And for many of us, those terms are synonymous. It's not a gender thing. It's about whatever it represents to have crossed a certain threshold and now sort of be an independent, uh, liberated adult and be free and be able to take care of yourself, whether you think of that as manhood or adulthood or synonymously as I do, um, those, those efforts to kind of get confirmation of that feeling or to confirm it, uh, are ironic because that's what paternal approval is supposed to confer on us in the first place.

In other words, that is the main role of a father is one, get you there. And number two, recognize when you got there and acknowledge it, and you've, you've come into your own son. You've reached the place you are now, essentially the same as me. You are what I am. You're a man you've you've, you can take your place, uh, at the council of among men. And the, the funny thing is, is that lacking that if that wasn't done or that was withheld or on the contrary, um, in its place was sort of criticism contempt and, you know, uh, general doubt and lack of regard. Um, then sometimes at the root of our anguish over the things we achieve, um, it's actually, uh, that treadmill, which is an attempt to get to a place that we can't get to any other way. And the way we're doing is not working now.

Uh, some of you might find this to be a bit touchy, feely, and a little, you know, warm and fuzzy. I don't think it's that warm, but I don't think it's that fuzzy. Uh, some, some are fuzzier than others, but, uh, I'm gonna leave it there for a second and just, uh, talk a little bit about my own experience and say, look, you know, I'm a lot like my dad, uh, I even looked like my dad. And, uh, sometimes when to get photos, you know, just a certain cut of the jib, I can kind of see what he looked like when he was younger and I'd see him work working or something like that. I'm like, oh yeah, that's what he looks like. This is what I look like. Um, and in a way that, you know, it's kind of gratifying and you would think it would be inspiring, you know, Hey, because that's w wasn't that our goal isn't that the goal of every boy to grow up in sort of be if your dad's halfway okay, to sort of be a cutoff of the old block.

Right. And so seeing, uh, some version of himself and you should be inspiring. Uh, and so growing up, you know, straight up like most young men, my father was the definition of what a man is to me. He was a good looking man by my estimation. Uh, so I'm proud of that resemblance. Uh, but in the next moment, when I look in the mirror, I know it's not him. Or I look at that photograph. I know it's not him. And I remember, you know, I don't know if many of you remember that there's a song out there, cats in the cradle. It's basically about, you know, I don't have time for you, dad, just like, he didn't have time for me. And in the end he just wants the car keys. Right? Well, in a, in a more lighthearted way, many of us grew up and all we really wanted half the time was the car keys.

We wanted two things, girls and car keys, that's it. You know, we knew what we wanted. It wasn't the, you, I don't know what you want. Well, I can tell you, I want the keys to some vehicle. And I would like access to where the girls are. If you have any advice on, on how to get them on top of finding them that's. But if not, we'll just use the car, drive down the main street and whistle and shout and play our music loud and hope they like it. And if any, what we hope is they will get in the car and we can then drive around what we do after that. We don't know. Uh, but you know, there's, we'll figure it out as we, no, but what I'm saying is, uh, in a similar way, um, you know, I grew up wanting to get the keys to sort of my own adulthood.

And I don't find that to be an unusual situation. That's peculiar to me. Um, so I can name and I won't, uh, don't worry, but several what I would call manly men, tough guys, guys that fought in wars, got tattoos up their arms. You know, guys, you know, I wouldn't want to play a violent game of spoons with, if you haven't played violent games of spoons, you really should try it. It's fun. Um, but versus the version where I just take your spoons, you gotta play spoons standing up. Anyway, the point is, um, I've talked to these guys and, and very consistently I hear similar stories. You know, I asked a guy one time, he's a vet, right? He's standing outside of a, of a, uh, liquor store and he's asking for money. And what I like about it is the honesty. He says, Hey brother, can you give me a dollar?

So I can get me a little taste, a little something to drink. And, uh, I said, I don't have it. Which is what if you live in New York, you're asked every year, five minutes. And so you've got to have a line. And so that's my line. And I got about five feet and I thought, wait a minute, did that guy just asked me for a drink in front of a liquor store? Yes. We've got to reward that. This is what I'm talking about. The guys that just like, excuse me, sir, could I talk to you for a minute? We don't have time. You know, play me a song, juggle, do something interesting. Put on a show, tell me a funny story or a joke like while I'm walking and I'll stop and pay and pay for the busking, or just be honest, I need a buck for a drink.

I'm dying for a Sam Jones and for a pack of cigarettes, can you help me out? Give me a quarter or anything will work. No problem, man. Here you go. So I went back and I said, tell you what, I don't give anything for free free, but if you talk to me for a second answer, answer some questions. I'm curious about something. Uh, then I'll give you a couple bucks, no problem. And he said, yeah, what do you want to know? And I, I basically said, how did you get from there to here? So, you know, in other words, what, what brought you in front of this liquor store? And so he started telling me, and he was in the military and he was stationed in Germany during the Reagan era and all this, we were talking about the Berlin wall. It was a great conversation.

And, um, you know, he mentioned, he said, look, you know, I got in the military, I did a lot of drugs. And I ended up with fights with my officers, as long as I was doing my job. It was great. But as soon as, as soon as I had downtime, as soon as I had free time to kind of not be focused on doing the actual work, I got into conflict with the authority figures around me. Right. And I said, oh, you know, well, you know, where did you do? You sounded like you had some built up bands. And he says, yeah, it kind of started with my father who used to tie us to chairs and beat my brothers and sisters with things. And then he would never be there and like that. And I'm like, and I know there's somebody out there going, oh, hall hall, Boohoo, south story.

And you and that guy. Who's saying that. Um, cause that's the kind of thing my father would say to, you know, is like, oh, what are you crying now? Um, that's the, that's the line from every that wants to escape the man heartedness of doing your job. Being father is a job deal with it. It's like being a soldier or police officer or a medic being a father is a job. And you there, sir, the requirements like with any job to get it done. And if you don't do it, don't sit there and say that the guy that expects you to do it, the customer, the end user, the recipient, because you didn't put his car together correctly, Mr. Mechanic, or even so him up after you did the operation Boohoo, what are you going to cry now? Yeah. you tow.

I do my job. Okay. So here's the thing. This guy said, you know this stuff with his father, um, you know, hung over his head for years and he's never, still quite reconciled with it. And he, he told me, of course, he took you, you, you know where I'm going to go. He's had kids and he hasn't had it great relationship with his kids and they see them as either absent or un-involved, he's had a hard time giving them what they need. And it's no wonder cause he didn't get what he needs. How would he know what the it looks like? Right. So that was an interesting story that just reconfirmed what these other guys that aren't standing outside, they're running businesses and stuff like that, that aren't standing outside a liquor store asking for a taste are also dealing with, uh, when they sort of let them cat out of the bag and say, yeah, I'm my own man never gave me the, uh, the time of day or never gave me any confirmation that anything I did was right.

Et cetera. Um, in other words, another way of saying is my father didn't do his job. Your father didn't do his job. Let's acknowledge that. All right. So I want to talk about something that you see in all of these sites, manhood, uh, sort of groups and things like that. I'm not suggesting you go join a drumming circle, go into the wilderness, grow a beard, find your, your wooly man, quit showering and howl at the moon. I'm not, you don't have to go off and join a cult or a tribe. Um, but there is a point to some of the things some of those guys are talking about and one of them is called the Rite of passage. Many of you will have heard of this in every culture, in both genders, by the way women have it too. It's just different. Uh, for, in most cultures, there's a point at which regardless of the manner or method that culture use uses the older person, the elder says, um, uh, for instance, in some native American traditions come and sit at the council of chieftains and be one of us.

You're one of us, uh, you've joined us now. You're not the chief. You're one of the chieftains. You're one of your words. One of the men whose counsel will be respected, whose voice will be heard among the other men, for some people it's their, the mitzvah or bat mitzvah, um, for the Cherokee, um, it was surviving a night alone in the wilderness blindfolded. You're right. You take it out in the wilderness. You left there with all the sounds. I don't, if any of you have ever been in the woods without a flashlight for a few hours and I don't mean, and you you've got your trusty knife and your, you know, your hunting rifle. I mean, you're out there alone with just no flashlight and nothing. Um, I've done it. It's an interesting thing. And you have to make some decisions about how you're going to deal with it.

For me, uh, up in the mountains of South Carolina, with the rattlesnakes and the freaking Carolina Pumas, uh, I made the decision to be the scariest thing in the night. So it's the only way. It's the only way you can get from there to the nearest highway. If you're going to, you know, routinely, which is what I was doing. So the Cherokee, they put the kid out there, imagine a boy, you know, he's 11 or nine and they put him out there and he has to survive alone in the wilderness blindfolded. He doesn't just have to be okay out there. He also has to not get eaten. And there are things out there that will blindfold he's blindfolded and the daylight. He doesn't even get to take off his own blindfold. His father comes and removes the blindfold. And when that happens, you're an adult. And then you begin to partake in all the things that adults get.

But more importantly, what's really transpired is not, you get some voting privileges or you get to now you get the tasty cuts of meat or some crap like that. You get to, you know, get married. The really cool thing, uh, is that you now get all the self-confidence and self regard that that brings and instills in you a sense of, yes I am. I'm one of these. I have achieved the thing I've reached the goal. It is complete. I am now this thing, it's a fundamental way in which something you do changes what and who you are. It's probably the only time in life that will occur. Some people go on and on about, well, when you have children, it change it, man. There is nothing to compare to the change from being a child to adulthood. Traditionally, it isn't having a kid it's stopping, being a kid that does it.

So more correctly, you end up knowing exactly what you are and who you are. And then you start feeling the acceptance of people like your father, his peers, as your own peers, and your sense of self begins to evolve and change. It begins it's true. Maturation maturing like a wine or a good cigar or a twelve-year-old scotch. Uh, if you're like me, I don't drink the wine, but I draped this guy. Actually I had a 10 year old bottle of wine a few months ago. And that was awesome. So wine actually gets good after a while. It's true what they say? I think, nah, you know, I don't need the wine, but if you'll put it away for a few years, I'll come back. Maybe I'll drink it then. So for most of the people that I know, most of my colleagues, people in business and people I've worked with and know personally, the Rite of passage, wasn't something so fierce as well.

You know, I tied it to a tree side and the tigers didn't eat yet. Instead it was a pat on the back and some moment in which their dad said something like, look, I respect what you've done. You've become like me in the essential ways, but you're still your own man. You make me proud. That's it. Boom, that's it. The words are going to differ forever, everybody. But the meaning they get transferred by that formula, um, is universal in every culture. And the meaning is the same. And by contrast those men who describe an absence and a loss in place of that passage, typically when you listen to them, they tend to characterize their relationship with their father. As essentially unchanged, since childhood, there was a point in which it just freeze framed like the end of a Western where, you know, he rides off into the wilderness and he's always going to be that guy come back,

Shane Shane.

And you know, for those of you who don't know what's going on in that movie are too young. Go watch the movie and then study the ending. Cause that freeze frame has a point to it. But anyway, the, that, that freeze frame, when we apply it to our fathers, that lack of an ongoing relationship, isn't just because they die. There are people whose fathers die and they still feel an active, ongoing relationship through the things they find in their own experience, uh, and the growth they continue to have as men. And then there are people whose fathers aren't alive. That don't feel any of that. And, uh, it's just doesn't evolve or move at all. It's just frozen. And that is typically reflective of people that did not complete the Rite of passage with their fathers. The father didn't do the thing. He didn't do his job.

Um, so I'm going to give you a couple of instances, again, going back to a personal experience to kind of get your relate to this a little bit and see what I'm talking about. If you don't. And I want to point out that when I'm talking about this, you think of your own experience because it's going to be different. It's not going to be the exact thing. I'm not saying boo-hoo be sorry for me and my father. I don't need that from you, uh, or anyone. But I'm saying, think about these experiences and think about whether a similar experience has happened to you and what it might've cost. If it didn't happen to you, it darn sure happened to at least some man that you know, and I don't care if you're a wife, a girlfriend, a sister, or you're just a guy with four or five buddies, I'm guaranteeing you two or three of them.

These stories are gonna apply to. So first, real quick, these are short. My father used to have this old Volvo Volvo, you know, the old Volvos that were stick shift only loved that thing. Man, used to zip around town on this German car. And he spent a lot of Saturdays working on it. Cause he used to say, man, when your older son don't buy a Volvo, they just break all the time. You got to work on them. It's a commitment and the parts were expensive and the labor is expensive and you had to go to a German car place, et cetera. Um, and I used to see him and he had, he, you know, where his white undershirt, he would take off his sport shirt and be stripped down to the undersheriff. He had this grease all over at his grease on his face and hands and stuff.

And didn't have these repair manual spread out on the garage floor and pencil drawings where he's trying to figure out how to fabricate some, you know, linkage or hook something up. And he wasn't mechanic, but he was an engineer. And I used to ask him, why don't you just take it to a shop dad? And he'd say, look, I don't want to be gouged. You remember that's an honorable thing, right? How many men tear down the refrigerator and fix it? Because we know we're going to get gouged. You know, the problem is the new refrigerators. We want to do that. But the new refrigerators are built. They're glued together in weird ways and you can't get at it. And half of it's an electronic circuit board and there's no motor in there anyway. And so on. But in the old days you tore it.

If I fixed dishwashers and washing machines and all kinds of things, right? But this is what I'm a kid is before all that my father was a guy doing it. And um, he said, I don't want to be gouged. And besides what one man can do, another man could do. And what's funny about that is those are the exact words from a film that I adore called the edge. You got to see this film with Alec Baldwin, Anthony Hopkins, uh, and uh, these guys are out in the wilderness and they're, they're in a situation similar to that Cherokee kid, only worse with man-eating beasts. And, uh, Anthony Hopkins that the elder in this scenario says, look, you can survive or you can lie down and die. Most people die. If they die in the wilderness, they die from shame. They die from feeling, how did I get myself into this?

I'm a failure. They die from the exact same, the same thing. A lot of our fathers give us. So there's a, there's an analogy between this film and fatherhood that is palpable, palpable. And, and so this father figure at this point, uh, Anthony Hopkins in the film to encourage people to say, look, we can survive this. He says, what one man can do another man can do. And I love that it's become an ethic by which I live. Um, so, uh, yeah, my father said something else. He said, look, what man can do another man can do. But then he turned to me and says, son, you'll never be the guy that changes your own oil. You'll always have to go to somebody else for things like that. So you hear the contrast, you know, one man can do another man can do, except you. So I wasn't thinking about Volvos and oil changes a couple of years later, as 19 as out of my own.

And I had a 65 Chevy pickup. And many of you, if you grew up, like I did, we didn't have a lot of extra stuff just handed to you a few things, but you really didn't have a lot of money. You didn't have your parents bailing you out every six months, uh, of something big. Um, I had, I had to fix my own stuff. I couldn't afford to take it to a mechanic. He gouged or no couched, and I didn't want to be gouged. But, uh, so I had to work on my truck. I had to figure out how to fix it. And uh, so I got my Chevy truck to run. I rebuilt a carburetor w read a book on how to do it, that I got from the library for free, uh, drew myself some diagrams and stuff like that. Got an egg carton, tore the thing down, put all the parts in different little, uh, containers, cleaned them all in carb cleaner and then reassembled the sucker and bolted it back on.

And the truck, uh, started on the first pole. I remember calling my, and he goes, I don't believe you. I think you're pulling my leg and just trying to impress me. It's never gonna, it's never gonna get through, is it? You're never actually going to say well done. Right? Ever so similarly, um, when I was 15, I went to this brutal mercenary martial art class. I mean, these guys were not in it for the money they charged, oh, it's 10 or 15 bucks a month. They were taking a loss in the basement of a YMC. It's a particularly brutal martial arts style that does not have a non-lethal version. Every version is lethal. So the, the deal is, is these guys. I came home black and blue. These guys would, you know, you couldn't move your eyes around the room. If you look to the left, you like eyes and you had to focus on them.

You couldn't wipe the sweat out of your eyes. And I had some guy when I was 15, it was in my face is like, don't wipe your sweat. That's, that'll be blood when you're in a real fight. And that's when the other guy I'll hurt. You make the other guy wipe his sweat and it'll be blood. And then you'll win. You know, it was like, it was a brutal, rough mercenary type of class. And I remember my father saying, um, after, I don't know, a few weeks, he says, I was sure, yeah, you'd quit. And I'm like, no, I stayed in it because it was tough. You don't, you understand? So do you hear some of the treadmill, some of us get on this treadmill now? I, I love that class. I'm glad. And I'm studying karate again. Um, like I did back then when I was a kid, but still, uh, the point is that we do a lot of these things at times, because we're still trying to get to the place that Cherokee kid is getting to.

We're still trying to get somebody to lift the blindfold and say, you did it. You're here. Well done. You made it. I accept you as one of us. Now you can relax. And at that point, what's funny about that. As the father gets to relax, he's done, his job feels satisfied. You spit one out and you got him from, from point a to the end of the monopoly board. Congrats. Uh, most of us are still just going around in circles. We're passing park place. It's like the 12th time where we're like, am I, am I going to get a hotel room somewhere? Or what you end up at jail? Why do you think at 40 do, do not pass, go at 45? Uh, I had made it my second year in my own business. I started a business. It was the first business. I, well, it was the second one business.

I started the first business and I never got respect for, but I started the first business. And, uh, I remember after two years, my father says, I never thought you'd even make it a year. Well, thanks, dad. It wasn't. You did it. Congrats. Look where you are. It was, yeah. I never believed in you. So am I winded about those things? No. I want you to think about what your father said to you, or didn't say what the vibe is, the relationship and decide for yourself. Did you get it or didn't get it? Did the blindfold get yanked or is the blindfold definitely still there because here's the deal. If the blindfold didn't get yanked, one of two things is true either. It's still there yank it off yourself. And these are options to think about and acknowledge. So that stayed with me. And, you know, I was always looking for that validation, uh, all the time.

And I remember, um, at one point, you know, my father said something about my business. How do you even know that, you know what you're doing? People go to school for this. Maybe she read a book or something and I'm like, ah, God, it's just gets worse. I spent, uh, in that time I spent, I would say I spent 25 years of my adult life working for my dad. Not literally as an employee, not working for my dad, not directly, but when I bought a house with a lawn and a painted fence and in ground sprinklers and a car port and a garage and a driveway, it was all very much for my family. Right. But it was also still, you know, partly for my dad. Do, do you respect it now? Is it good now? Did I reach it? Am I here? This is what you said it was, I was supposed to get to, is this it?

When I set up an IRA, Roth got life insurance, health insurance wrote a will, did stuff that made financial sense. Did wise risk management. It was also, is this, did I get it? I'm here now. You know, it is a pension. Is that what I need to have? Uh, if I couldn't get that stuff, if I couldn't get, uh, the answer at some point, I just stayed on the treadmill and it might think, oh, well, good. It's just hold, uh, the approval and the well done stage from your kid. And he'll chase that forever. The funny thing is, I mean, if you want to him up, it'll make him chase it for sure. But he won't enjoy it. It's like the guys that have all kinds of unlimited money that buy the Corvette, they buy the third house, they buy the trip, they have the lifetime, they get the trophy girl and they're, they're looking up.

And the next thing you know, they're leaping off a building because it, it's not satisfying them. It's not filling the void. Right? So at every stage what's, what's really haunting a person at that point is doubt waiting for some cosmic declaration of weld-on or you've moved beyond me. Uh, well, good, good job. Welcome to the club kid. Uh, the fact that, you know, I was waiting for that and, uh, hadn't adequately let, um, hadn't adequately had that effect. My decision-making meant that I was still sort of waiting around for my father to rip off the blindfold. And I think a lot of us are waiting for our father to rip off the blindfold. And what we actually got to do is reach a point when we know the they're not coming. You're still out in the wilderness, tied to a tree. You're going to have to get loose, get the blindfold off yourself and the person, it may be their job, even just their one job.

It's all you really need from them. Show up, don't die, put foot food in my belly and get me to the end of the, of the monopoly board. Uh, we want them to set their stamp of approval on the boy, enabling us to think of ourselves as men. But why, why do you think out there there's so many guys that use substitutes. I'm a man, because I have a giant truck, an F three 50, that stands taller than a semi that you, that gets four miles to the gallon, bigger than your truck. See, I'm a man why I have 20 assault rifles and I wear cammo and I have body armor. Cause I'm a man we've done shows. We talked about, yeah, that's not manhood. That's wiseness you wouldn't need the body armor if it was me, but there's substitutes for manhood, whatever. Yeah. Where they are, I'm going to go out and you know, I'm going to buy a Harley and get in fights.

You know, there's nothing wrong with Harley. There's nothing wrong with boxing. I'm not knocking that. I'm just saying for a lot of us, these obvious to everyone around you, substitutes for manhood, uh, our partners, because we're still trying to get to the, the blindfold off. We're still trying to you get that, that stamp of yup. You're you're in the club and when you finally rip it off, because no one comes and you're cold, you're half starved because you haven't eaten. You've been out there all night and you're afraid. What are you? Are you a man? Or did it not count? We like to romance. It's a size thing as say, I ripped my own off. You know, I had a yeah. Yeah. But it isn't that easy. Is it? There's no real substitute. If you ever talked to somebody that never had had siblings and goes, I don't know what that's like the bond between a brother and sister.

I didn't have a father around. Yeah. He was never there. They were born. Their mom was there and they, you know, left home with, they lived with their mom for 18 years. They can't tell you what it's like. It's not, you don't become your own father, man. That's not how it works. So can you look at your baby business, your work regarded as admirable work? The truth is you don't know. I didn't know. Um, and I finally told my father that I wanted that recognition. I think a lot of the men I've talked to did, they went to their fathers and they said, look, I need this from you. I need to hear that I've got your respect. And then I've reached a place. Cause if, what w what I'm going gonna do, if we do not get in something we want, we describe it.

That's part of being man hearted. Right? Uh, and so I want to recognize that I'd achieved an honorable adulthood, a livelihood worthy of respect. And my father laughed and asked if I wanted a pat on the head and a lollipop. And it was basically the last time we ever spoke. And I realized that at some point, uh, you have to make a decision. Uh, so I can't give it to myself in the same way. I'm never going to get it. So what do you do? Do you just, a lot of people descend into all kinds of bad choices at that point, you know, they go on heroin or they do something crazy dumb, right? Or they now go and wreak havoc on other people's lives and wreck their, uh, childhoods, et cetera. That's not really a solution. Is it? Um, so I want to say that we are more than what happened to us.

We are more that, what then what didn't happen to us. Uh, and this is not a preachy show. We're not talking, nobody's trying to give you advice on how to be a man. Remember the premise of this show is screw the culture of advice. Nobody has. Nobody has to, or gets to tell you how to be a man. All we're saying is, you know, man, man, heartedness is reaching down and finding your manhood and lifting. It's locating it and, and dealing with what it implies. It is not and describing and enjoying it and having fun. That's what we're about. It isn't really, um, a course, you're not going to see a course on manhood here. So, uh, I want to say at some point you got to move past it. I had to move past it. It wasn't easy. And I want to pause there and say, when do you decide to do that?

Um, the first thing that you deal with is not actually, well, how do I do it? The first thing you deal with is, well, what is that? What's the role left for your dad? How do you think your father, other people might be listening now and go your father's a prick, a Royal graded, ugly. Don't there look, man. If, if my father was a prick, a third of the fathers out there were pricks, and that may be true, but it's not useful. It doesn't help. That's you know? Uh, so what I want, that's like saying white people shop at Starbucks. I mean, you know, it's, it's, it's probably true on, on the whole, but it's not useful. Uh, so what I want to say about that is no characterization of a man, whether it's your friend or your, uh, or it doesn't have to be a man, but no characterization of another person is entirely fair.

It's not entirely comprehensive, no description, no summary. You're an. I love it. When men called me and asked, I'm like, that's it, you got a one word answer. I mean, isn't it more like, aren't I a perfect or, you know, a benighted or a devious? Is there nothing other than just undifferentiated assholery? Uh, but people are more than this. Just like, we're more than this. If we're more than what happened to us or didn't then so our, our fathers, and in many ways I have to say, my father is an addict, honorable and formidable, man. I never stopped admiring the reasons for that. I didn't stop admiring the fact that he worked on his Volvo and other things. He was a problem solver. Uh, in other ways he failed and he failed at the one thing he was charged with doing on the day of my birth.

And that's a serious failure. Um, and the reason I can forgive it is not because, you know, I was just, okay, nevermind. It doesn't matter. It's because these days I don't allow those things to continue to have power over me. And so that's about finding your own Rite of passage, which is incredibly difficult. It's not something I wish on everyone. It has elements of a heroic tale, but the pain isn't worth it. You don't throw your kid in the deep end of the pool. And it turns out the pool is an ocean and walk away and go, well, it made you stronger. We've all heard the song by Johnny Cash, a boy named Sue, and he finds his dad's going to kick his. Dad's say, well, I knew I wouldn't be there. So I need you Sue. See, it'd be tough. Thanks dad. But you know, that's a country song, but it isn't how things really should work.

Right? So the problem with that, it is he won't be stronger until he's 40 or 50 and possibly too late to enjoy it, uh, and has to rethink half his life. Half the stuff he could have built by then is wasted. So you didn't save him anything. Uh, and he's going to spend years agonizing, uh, over trial and error, getting his bearings, navigating some maze of confusing, you know, tools and clues and signals. He doesn't really trust. So I can only say what I did. How do you, there's no recipe here, no class in finding your own Rite of passage. What I did was build businesses. Uh, I built the first one, it got me through college. I built another one. My dad says, I never thought you'd make it. I kept going. I built a third one on the backs of that. I built a fourth one on the backs of that.

I started, I built a fifth one, a six one and a seventh one. Yep. I'm a serial entrepreneur. And that's not the only way I'm not saying go out and build a business. Some people, uh, you just need to build a car. Sounds like a huge task, but actually it might solve something. Some people they needed to turn to their music and their guitar and be accepted in a crew of musicians. Other people are going to do this different ways. Some people do this by joining some kind of violent gang that comes out and shoots it. The rest of us, like the Boogaloos or the proud boys, uh, you know, there's freaking anti-American thugs. I don't think that's healthy. Um, do they have father issues? Yeah, they'd probably say it was being a cry baby, but they're just exuding that wiseness of not dealing with it appropriately.

I'm not arguing for that. But what I did discover is doubt was always there. And so whether you're working as an employee or you're building a business, you're pursuing guitar, you're going after some task, maybe you run, you do races. Like you're, you're in a sport, you ski competitively, or, you know, you do car races or whatever, whatever it is, doubt can get in the way. Right. Doubt kept slowing me down. And it's that doubt, um, that represents the lack of a Rite of passage. And you've got to fight that to get through it. And you've got to overcome it. That really is the thing. The new darkness is not as simple, the new darkness in which you are blindfolded is your own self doubt, your own lack of self-confidence. Uh, so for me, the win, the ripping off the blindfold consisted simply of learning to trust my own judgment when no one else would when, not just my father, but other colleagues would say, I wouldn't do that.

That seems risky. I would say. Yeah. Um, but I see it. And I'm going to go down this path and learning that I could affect the world around me, trust my judgment and succeed on my own terms. That stuff became the Rite of passage. That stuff allowed me to rely on the strength of my own vision, regardless of skepticism, fear and doubt on the less I doubted myself, the more I knew that I was man hearted. So I think it's incredibly powerful to act consistently and solely on your own judgment. I think it's cumulative. I think that stuff allows you to then make the next choice and the next choice and the next choice and build a lifestyle over this. I have two more points to make, and then we'll wind down this rather lengthy father's day episode. So I want to say that again.

I admire my father in some ways my father and I both have analytical minds. We're both problem solvers. As I mentioned, we're both skeptics. We don't just buy a thing because it's handed to us. And so I have kind of an involuntary gratitude for, uh, those genes and the byproducts of destiny there. But culturally, uh, we're pretty far apart. I take some pretty incredible risks and I act very quickly. Uh, my father is cautious. He acts and plans in tandem. Uh, he plans and then acts, he thinks, and then speaks. I speak in an exploratory manner. Uh, so I, I talked to find out what I think, and I have a greater comfort level than my father ever had or ever exhibited when I was growing up anyway with the unknown and all that comes from mapping my own way out of the wilderness. Um, doing that thing where I, I act on my own judgment.

That was the, not only the taking off of the blindfold, but finding your way back. Right? So I don't mind that. I don't mind the difference. The reward there, the, the really precious outcome is that it puts increased power in my hands. And so when I work, who approves it, my choices in my father it's me. I approve of them. I like what I do. I like what I have become when I see all these kids, man, you see them out there and they're in these malls and boutiques and they try different things. One of them's got like a wristwatch, that's a four-inch leather band that, you know, it looks like he's a gladiator in an old Roman theater. Another guy's like, well, he's got a weird, you know, old west mustache and beard thing. And his mustache is curled around in little circles.

Some other guys going, you know, am I an aviator glasses, kinda guys, this they're all trying on different hats and costumes and different versions of their manhood. Uh, what I like is that when I buy my watch, I know which one's mine watch. I see it. I'm like, that's it. That's the one. When I get my haircut, I know what haircut I want my desk, my city, these are not the ones that I have an open question mark at, who am I? I need to find myself, no man. Uh, and they're not the ones my father or anyone else would choose for me. Uh, so I don't need the award from somebody else or the approval from somebody else at all comes from me. And at the end of the day, I look at what I've built. I approve it. No other repo approval is required.

So ending on that note with the show, uh, we'll have a few more things to say in the other segments about other topics. Uh, but I'll just say that, you know, as you go into father's day or have just come out of father's day, depending on when you're hearing this, it pays not to blame your father, not to point the finger, uh, or also just, um, worship you father, but to have a realistic appraisal of your father's relationship chip with the thing that he was required to do, uh, to make you the son and then to become the man yourself, uh, and possibly even a father yourself. And if it's deficient, um, I, I think there's a need for us to not only talk about it and acknowledge the deficiency among ourselves. I don't think there's any shame in it. Uh, almost every man, I had a, a Rocky relationship with their father.

That's not a commentary on the number of men that did. It's just commentary on the kinds of men that I relate to and know. And many of them, you are listening to this show. Others had perfect relationships with their father. You know, it was my three sons and you were chip and Bobby and you had a, you had a great, he taught you little lessons to me at the end of the day. And in the end he was like, well done. And you know, he was Andy Griffith. That was all fine. And you were open. And I welcome that. Um, but I would encourage you if, if that's you understand we're not all that way. And you've got friends and family who don't feel that way. I know people well in the same family where one brother ha has the Andy Griffith and the other brother has, you know, Otis, sometimes it's even the same father.

He has two faces for the two sons. So these are things we got to deal with. If we got to not be ashamed of talking about, I'm not going to not bring it up in this, uh, show on father's day. Uh, and those are my thoughts. I hope some of them are useful if you relate to them, leave your comments in the comment section@manharthearted.com. Be interested to know what you thought and tell your story, love it. If you could share what your experience is, you don't have to, but you know, it's not the view, you know, uh, as much as I like Whoopi Goldberg's, she's not looking over our shoulder. Uh, so, but if you, if you want to, if you think it's valuable, I'd like to hear it all right, that's it. I'm Asher Black have a great day.

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Asher Black

Asher is a fabulist, maximist, humorist, and raconteur. By day, he works with companies to find and tell their story effectively. By night, he is a human bonfire.

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