Trailhead Outfitters is designed with the idea that we who are dads must rediscover the lost art of masculine initiation. Look around. Fathers are unavailable, to an alarming degree, in this day and age, and our sons are suffering because of it. Our daughters, too. Gender confusion, senseless violence, stunted men…all have a direct tie-in to fatherlessness. We have lost our intentionality. Fathers have been told for years that their contribution to the family is nothing more than putting on the yoke, hooking up to the plow, and producing. Bringing home the bacon. So dads become workaholics, so much so that their ‘leisure’ time tends to be AWAY time from the very people we should be deeply invested in and engaged with. We hit the golf course, or the gym, or the lake to fish…or the bar to drink the monotony away. Meanwhile, there are young boys, growing into young men, who are having to figure life out on their own, who are asking the all important question “Do I have what it takes, Dad?” and who are getting answers that emasculate them, strip them of pride and dignity. “No, you don’t have what it takes”. “I don’t know, and I don’t care.” “Sorry, I have better things to do”.
Trailhead Outfitters is about equipping (outfitting) dads with the time, the opportunities, and the focus needed to begin to repair the frayed bonds between father and son. Here, at the start, it simply consists of this: I am in the process of scheduling weekends of adventures with my boys, so that I, personally, can learn to be more intentional, and I’m inviting everyone who wants this for themselves and their sons to come along. Camping trips. Day hikes. Whitewater rafting trips. Renting a cabin in the woods for the weekend and learning to build something together. Water gun wars. Whatever it is that gets fathers and sons into close proximity to one another, without distractions from the outside world.
There are phases, two, in fact, that are primary to some of the things we will do. For a more comprehensive idea of what these are, I highly recommend John Eldredge’s book, ‘Fathered by God’. For the younger sons, the adventures are all about time with dad. Dad, your job will be to be completely, totally, and unreservedly available to your boy. They need to feel like the apple of your eye. Prized. Of course, a son of any age longs for this, and, if he hasn’t received it, I don’t care if he’s 4 or 44. He needs it from you in order to better pass it on to his sons.
For sons in the realm of 12, 13, 14, there will be adventures designed to challenge them, hard work-related challenges that father and son enter into together, so that the question “Do I have what it takes?” can be better answered in the affirmative.
There is a double benefit to these things: Yes, the sons get to feel prized, and feel manly, but you dads will receive the same kind of initiation, and embrace, because we all have a Father who loves us, who prizes us, and who wants to initiate us. And He will do for you, what you decide to do for your sons. It’s an amazing thing.
So, that’s what Trailhead Outfitters is about. As it grows, so will we. But the growth is God’s area. Mine is simply to do what I can now, with what I’ve been given. And it’s an incredible thing. I encourage you to join in whenever you see us planning an adventure. If you can’t be with us because of distance, then do it for your sons right where you are.
Let’s reclaim our mantle as fathers, and together we can rediscover the path to intentional fatherhood.