Tending The Fire

FirewoodSaturday night, I gathered wood to build a fire behind my house.  It's a favorite thing to do in our family.  The building of the fire though is always a man's job.  Not that a women could not do it but it is a simple task that every man should know.

Building a proper fire without artificial logs or lighter fluid has been a skill passed on from the times of the cavemen.  You must find the initial starter, tinder, small sticks and eventually logs. 

Once the fire is started the job does not end.  In survival situations, keeping the fire going is just as important as starting it. 

I have been reading a lot lately about the early men's movement in the 80's and 90's.  Writers like Robert Bly, Michael Mead, Robert Moore, and Douglas Gillette laid the foundation for many of the mens organizations we have today. 

No matter which writer you read, they all say the same basic concepts. 

Men need to get back to the heart of our masculinity.
Men need to heal the wounds from their own fathers or lack thereof.
Men need to associate with other men.
Men need a mentor.
Older men need to mentor younger men.
Young boys need initiation and a mentor in adolescents.
Only a man can initiate another man into life.

Furthermore, men need an model of a true man to follow.  Over the last 30 years we have seen the macho "John Wayne" man, the pacifist "John Lennon" man and the feminist friendly "sensitive man."

However, none of these role models fit the true model and what is really needed is a mixture of all three. 

Many writers speak of the various traits of a true man:


The true nature of Legacy Dad, for me, is to bring about this role model by my own example and the example of other strong men.  I also want to initiate my children at various stages of their life so they understand that they are ready and they know they are deserving. 

As I sat by the fire Saturday, I watched my son poke at the fire.  He has watched me build a fire many times and soon it will be his turn to start building his own fires.

Once our children start building their own fires, the job is not done. That is the time for guidance, mentorship, initiation and leadership.  It is time for us to tend the fire.