This weekend, I received the honor or participating in a birthday celebration that was the start of a tradition that fathers of pre-teens will continue as our guys transition from boys into men. Using a medieval model of a page or squire’s transition into knighthood, The elder (did I seriously just refer to myself as an elder?!) men who influenced this young man’s life during his fourteen years spoke our wisest encouragements and charges to compile a code for strong, influential and Christian manhood. Along with my contribution to the man code, I also participated by commemorating the event with spontaneous visual art.
My first objective for the piece I would create was something that represented the young man’s boyhood. I’ve known him for the last five years, in that time it became quite obvious among his top passions is playing baseball. Using an image shared on social media with a Sports Illustrated-worthy pose (wearing his baseball uniform, echoing his #4 with his right hand), I re-created his silhouette using spray paint on a plywood panel. Quite honestly, I was hesitant to continue with the piece because I was so pleased with the panel at this point! (kind of Banksy, don’t you think?)
The men commenced to taking turns speaking into this new man’s life, encouraging him in some areas and teaching him in others. As each man spoke, I listened intently for the key words appearing in our code for manhood. Using oil pastels and a graffiti style, I applied these words over the shadow of the boy that once was to signify the foundations of the man who will be.
Courage, character, faith, blessing, respect, strength, integrity, excellence – qualities that define a man.