On raising a man

By Keith Strange Staff Reporter

November 5, 2013

It’s been in the back of my mind for a while now, and Saturday did little more than confirm what I’ve always expected.

Talking with the little lady recently I made the comment that there are only two activities I’m determined that little Mason experience when he gets older: Martial arts and the Boy Scouts. He’s going to participate in each for three years because they teach critical life lessons better than I ever could. If he wants to quit after three years I’m okay with it.

Saturday’s first-ever trip to the Raven Knob Scout Reservation pretty much sealed the deal on the Boy Scouts

What an impressive place.

Now it could be the drive out there that turned my head, with the fall foliage simply bursting with color over the weekend, but the Raven Knob facility is something to behold in its own right.

For me, it’s less about the facilities, though, than the lessons learned.

At this point when I look at my son as he stares into my eyes, I realize that my only job is to turn the lad into a man.

I have no idea how to go about it, but I know where to start.

Which is where my only two mandated activities come in. As far as other activities, I’ll let Mason choose when the time comes — whether they be playing the drums or participating on the debate team.

Martial arts teaches children things like confidence, respect, courtesy, helping others and teamwork. It teaches a boy to walk with his head held high, to look people in the eye with a quiet confidence, to have an inner strength and a mind of his own.

Yes Mason, that’s what I want for you.

The Boy Scouts?

I’ll just let the Boy Scout Law spell it out:

“A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”

Good traits all, if you ask me. (It’s kind of a “do as I say” thing. While I can claim some of them, I’m not the most obedient, thrifty or reverent person you’ve ever met.)

So get ready Raven Knob, in a few short years my little ball of fury will be there, holding his head high and reciting these words from the Boy Scout Oath:

“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the scout law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

Because I have to raise a man, and that’s the kind of man I want him to be.

Keith Strange is a staff writer at The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at or 719-1929.