Bear Hunting with Grandpa: Leading Your Grandson into Manhood

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Grandson, grandpa

Boys have always had a special place in my heart. With the entrance of our first grandson into our family, my love for boyish wonder took on an entirely new charm. 

Today’s boys are a bit different than the boys we raised on the farm. Boyhood and manhood have taken a few hits over the years. Masculinity in particular, and so, boyhood in general–and it’s showing.

The traditional tools of men, like guns and knives, are largely forbidden to boys these days. Once, it gave men a way to step into a boy’s life and guide him through dangerous territory. That’s all but lost on this video-generation.

Therefore, we have to get creative. 

Take your grandson on a bear hunt.

Your prime candidates are your grandsons eight years old and under. These little guys still have very vivid imaginations. They don’t have to actually see a bear. They are on a mighty hunt. If you provide the surroundings and the atmosphere, their minds will fill in the gaps.

Imagine for a moment how excited he will be when you announce you are taking him on a big game hunt–for bears.

We did just that a few years ago. My husband took two of our grandsons out into a few acres of woods. Armed with BB guns, and completely decked out in hunting gear they set out to hunt a bear. 

Of course, before they went, their grandpa began telling them tall tales about the bears he had seen in those woods.

As they set out, they listened carefully. Of course, the boys heard all kinds of noises. They followed the sounds, looked for tracks and smelled broken limbs. 

There was a time or two the boys got scared. That’s when grandpa talked about bravery, and looked for more tracks. 

grandson, grandpa

Every boy wants to be brave.

It takes a man to lead a boy into manhood. Sometimes fathers are not in the home. Often times, even good fathers are too busy just trying to provide a living for the family. Dabbling in boyishness is too often crowded out by organized sports, and after school meetings. 

That’s where grandpas are custom made to reach into their grandson’s lives. Every boy wants to know if he has what it takes to be a man. Too many boys are not getting the answer they need. 

Boys are in crisis.

So much so, that the president called for a White House Council on Boys and Men. What they found is frightening. 

From Dr. Warren Farrell

“Boys’ suicide rate goes from equal to girls’ prior to adolescence to five times girls’ between 20 and 24. Among the elderly, men over 85 have a suicide rate 1300% higher than their female peers. Other symptoms of male emotional challenges range from ADHD to violence, crime and the 5 D’s: depression, drinking, drugs, disobedience and delinquency.” 

Will a bear hunt fix all of our society’s ills? No. 

But our boys are lost–they need the wisdom, the humor, and the guidance only a grandfather has to offer. So why not start with a bear hunt?

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