What A Young Man Needs To Know

It’s the last night of the Time and Space Father and Son Program.  Bill Jennings, our leader and facilitator, gives his final instructions: “Young men, meet with your mentor and answer the question, one to the other, ‘What has changed for you as a result of our time together?”

I look through the throng of men for Jim, a freckle faced young man of 14 years.    We connect with each other and sit on a bench over looking the Cricket Field at Marcellin College in Melbourne, Australia.  I feel a special kinship with Jim.  As his mentor, I helped him in his leadership responsibilities throughout the Time and Space Program and, especially because we paddled together on the Yarra River the week before.  The fact that he has light reddish hair and freckles makes it easy for me to imagine him as my own son.    “So Jim, what has changed for you after all this?”

His answer comes quickly and it belies the truth that he is yet young: “I know my father loves me and that he will be there for me no matter what.  And I know there are other men to help me along the way.  Yeah.”   I am touched by his response and struggle to find words, so I wait, nodding my head in acknowledgement of his sharing.

When the words do come, I say to him, “Do you know how fortunate you are to know that, Jim?  I know many men who cannot say that, but you are just a young man, and you know your father is there for you no matter what comes.   He is a good man, your father. You are so blessed.”

“Yeah,” Jim says shyly.

Later, out on the dimly lit cricket field, a father and son walk arm and arm, their heads tilted towards the other’s.  Who knows what precious spirits are passing out there father to son?   I know only that sacred, holy, things have passed one to the other this night, and throughout the past 22 days.

The rest of the evening is spent in a quiet, humble spirit of appreciation for what I have been so blessed to witness: fathers who made the courageous decision to be actively involved in their sons lives, not just in coaching and parenting roles, but on the heart level.  It is wonderful to witness the flashes of emergent manhood in what were gangly, fresh faced, and socially awkward adolescents 22 days earlier.  Despite the tumult of our culture, the futures of these young men are bright.

Base Camp at Time and Space Father-Son Adventure Weekend, Victoria, Australia


  1. by Craig

    On November 5, 2012

    YO and HO Brother!

    Good to see you at work Down Under!
    Border Collie

  2. by Celeste

    On November 11, 2012

    Excellent work Patrick, and a great posting…I am just coming around to this now. I can not wait to hear about the many amazing moments along your loooooooong journey. I am trusting that it was very fruitful and that you brought God’s light with you into all of your encounters :)

    Stay blessed

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