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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Christopher Robbins is a husband and a father to nine children, six boys and three daughters, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an avid backpacker and fly fisherman, as well as musician who plays multiple instruments. Ch… Read More
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