As the parents of two boys, my husband and I were intrigued by the Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit. This is a program for fathers and sons, published by Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio. This program is designed to give boys (ages 8-17) the tools they need to become Godly young men. While it is designed to be a mentorship between father and son, I'll preface this review by stating that it can be used by any man who has a "fatherly" role in a boy's life, such as stepfather, grandfather, uncle, or another trusted mentor. The program, and I, use the terms father/dad and son, but I fully recognize the importance of other men in a boy's life. I'm only using these terms for simplicity, and because that is the relationship in which this program fits our situation.
The Starter Kit contains:
Group Discussion Guide
1 on 1 Discussion Guide
DVD of the introductory videos for all six modules
Wise Guys: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom from the Men Around You by Kent Evans
There are two discussion guides. The Group Discussion Guide is designed for the leader of a Manhood Journey group. It is full of ideas for opening activities each week, as well as discussion questions, suggestions for keeping the dialogue going if participants are unwilling to open up at first, verses to discuss, closing prayer and father/son homework. There are blank pages for notes as well.
Then there is the 1 on 1 Discussion Guide. While it can be used with multiple boys at once, it's designed to use with just a couple of boys at one time, so Dad can really get to know his son and have personal discussions with him. It is designed so that it can be used in conjunction with a Manhood Journey weekly group meeting. You will see the references between the two guides. However, it can be still be used without going to weekly meetings, and there are simple instructions for this as well. It has an introduction to the program and discusses how to use the guide as a starting point for discussion, learning together and prayer, rather than an agenda or "lesson plan." Each week starts out with A Word to Dad, to prepare him for the upcoming week. There is a reference to review the group meeting (it's suggested to skip these references if you are not participating in group sessions), along with more than enough discussion questions. There are activities sprinkled throughout, such as working in a Manhood Journey Notebook (to become a spiritual journal of sorts), hands-on activities, and games. Some of these activities seem lighthearted on first glance, but lead to deeper discussions. There are also verses that can be used for more exploration. The reason so many activities are included is so that Dad can choose the most appropriate discussions/activities for their son. I really appreciate the versatility and adaptability of this program in that respect, because it allows my husband to meet my son where he is emotionally and spiritually and go from there.
Wise Guides: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom from the Men Around You was written by Kent Evans, cofounder of Manhood Journey. The book encourages you to find Godly men who are full of wisdom and experience that can benefit you, and to learn how to learn from them. Mentoring is practically a lost art, but can be an invaluable tool for helping a person grow in so many areas of their life. This book could certainly be used separately, and would make a great read for young men leaving home for the first time as they are entering college or the workforce.
Embarking is the name of this study, and it is the first module in the full Manhood Journey program. The Maprochure is a little brochure that you might give out to perspective group members about the full Manhood Journey program. It has a "map" of the full program on one side; while the other side has descriptions of the remaining five modules: Clean Hearts, Working Well, Standing Strong, Manhood Myths, Leading Lessons. Each module lasts six weeks.
Overall, we feel this is a great tool for fathers or other men to use with their sons or young boys who need Godly male influence in their lives. It opens the door for discussion on many topics, and if you are doing the fully journey with a group, will allow boys to find other young men that can hopefully be a good influence in their lives.
City on a Hill
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