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"Not every successful man is a good father. But every good father is a successful man." R. Duvall

To A Child Love Is Spelled T-I-M-E
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"To become a father is not difficult, but to be a father is." Unknown

"Adventure isn't hanging on a rope on the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day-to-day obstacles of life - facing new challenges, seizing new opportunities, testing our resources against the unknown, and in the process, discovering our own unique potential." John Amatt.

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Welcome to the Blog of Fathering Adventures

G’day, my name is Darren Lewis, I am the founder, facilitator, and fatherhood coach at ‘Fathering Adventures’.

What would you have loved to experience with your Dad? What would you have wanted to receive from, or hear from him? Offer those things to your son now.

Upcoming Adventure Dates.

Thursday
Oct272011

“Testing & Challenging in the Outdoors” in the Process of Initiation

There are some things that words cannot teach. Reading something is not the same as living it, or learning it. By reading something in a book, you may be fooled into thinking ‘I know that’. And so fail to take the journey or have the experiences that actually get you there. … For thousands of years, these secrets had to be earned, by passing through physical ordeals, fasting, vigils, or deeds of courage.  Steve Biddulph (Australian Psychologist & Author) from his most recent book, “The New Manhood”

It’s one thing to be told you have what it takes. It’s another thing altogether to discover that you do, through some trial brought up in an adventure. … It reveals to you what you are made of and writes the lesson on your heart. For masculine initiation is not a spectator sport. It is something that must be entered into.”  John Eldredge (Author) from his book “The Way of the Wild Heart”

My last blog entry emphasized the importance of “Training and Instruction in the Process of Initiation.” It’s true… it’s essential… but just as importantly, a boy, a young man, and even a mature-age man, also needs to be tested and challenged in the outdoors… in adventure.

The late French Author and Nobel Prize winner, Andre Gide, expressed this truth…It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.” How many men today truly know themselves… truly know deep within their innermost beings that they are in fact real men… that they have what it takes to come through in any given situation that requires them to, e.g. fighting for the hearts of their wives and or children, or fighting for a cause greater than themselves? Too few in my experience. Why? Because too few today risk being tested and challenged. Too few have experienced a genuine process of initiation.

I love the words of Steve Biddulph I quoted earlier…There are some things that words cannot teach. Reading something is not the same as living it, or learning it. By reading something in a book, you may be fooled into thinking ‘I know that’. And so fail to take the journey or have the experiences that actually get you there.“ How true is that of most people today. We read books, we watch instruction videos, we attend conferences and seminars, and whilst many of those things may be helpful, they can only assist us in taking part of the journey.

An ancient Chinese proverb reveals the same truth… “I hear, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.” We need to understand this. We need to experience things that take us out of our comfort zones… to be in situations that we cannot control, allowing ourselves to be unsettled… so that our deepest fears are revealed, faced, and overcome. We as men need to be initiated as men. Our families and our world need us to be initiated as men… to engage in the process of initiation, which should always include testing and challenging, the outdoors, and adventure.

I invite you to share some of the lessons you’ve learnt through adventure, and in the outdoors, here. And what are some of the ways that you’ve been tested and challenged in the past?

Thursday
Oct132011

"Training & Instruction" in the Process of Initiation

“The thing we have lost, the ingredient we men ourselves seem to lack, is the inner secrets, the teachings for becoming a strong and solid man.”  Steve Biddulph (Australian psychologist and author) from his most recent book, “The New Manhood”

“Traditionally, 2 things were done to help young men into adulthood. First, they were ‘taken on’ and mentored into adulthood by one or more men who cared about them and taught them important skills for living. And second, at certain stages of this mentoring process, the young men were taken away by the community of older men and “initiated”. This meant being put through some serious growing up processes, including testing, sacred teaching, & new responsibilities.”  Steve Biddulph (Australian psychologist & author) from his book “Raising Boys”

What does it mean to be a real man? It’s a great question! And it’s a question that I myself never had an answer to… until I was 29 years of age… after being married for more than eight years, and having fathered 3 sons at the time. I, like many men, never had a father who prepared me, taught me, instructed me, or trained me in the ways of authentic manhood. In fairness, my Dad, like most other Dads, never had a father himself who provided such things to him, and no man can give what he does not have.

There’s a scene in the movie “Secondhand Lions” where a gang of youths (unfathered and uninitiated young men) encounter a real man… the character of Hub McCann, played by Robert Duvall. I don’t want to give anything away in regards to such a powerful scene, but a few scenes later, Hubb McCann, having earned the right to speak into the lives of those young men, engages them in what seems to be quite a passionate monologue… though the viewer doesn’t get to hear what he’s saying. Looking on from a distance is Hub’s younger brother Garth, played by Michael Caine, and their 14 year old great nephew Walter, played by Haley Joel Osment. Here’s the dialogue that goes on between Walter and Garth…

Walter – What’s he saying to them?

Garth – “He’s giving them his ‘What every boy needs to know about being a man’ speech. A lot of men have heard that speech over the years. A lot of men.

Oh how I wish that were true. That a lot of men would have heard the ‘What every boy needs to know about being a man’ speech. The truth is… very few have heard such a speech. Very few know what it means to be a real man. Very few know what a real man does. Very few know how a real man treats others. Very few know what a real man devotes his time to… what a real man is prepared to live for, and what a real man is prepared to die for. Very few.



The good news is that change is afoot.
Part of what fathers and their sons (ages 13 and above) receive during our 5 Night Father-Son Adventures is just that… training, instruction, imparting, equipping, and empowering. No-one leaves our 5 Night Father-Son Adventures without an answer to the question, “What does it mean to be a real man?”. Fathers and sons alike are initiated over 5 Nights / 6 Days, and to the question, things for them and their relationships are for the most-part, never the same again.

Our next 5 Night Father-Son Adventures are already filling quickly, so please register now to avoid disappointment.
If you’d like to see more photos and read more testimonials from the sons and fathers at our most recent 5 Night Father-Son Adventures, than follow the following web-link here… http://fatheringadventures.squarespace.com/blog/2011/7/13/inside-one-of-our-5-night-father-son-adventures.html .

I hope to see you and your son there.


Wednesday
Oct122011

A Father-Daughter Adventure Weekend described as "Life-Changing and Wonderful"

“If I sat here for three or four weeks, I could not adequately describe just how important the father / daughter relationship is.”  (Dr James Dobson - Psychologist and Author)

"Life-Changing and Wonderful" seems to be the theme of all of the feedback I'm still receiving from last weekend's Father-Daughter Adventure Weekend at Mt Tamborine in South-East Queensland. Fifteen (15) father-daughter relationships that will never be the same again.

Oh how hungry and thirsty each girl was for her father to offer her his love, attention, affirmation, and affection, and oh how thankful each man was, that that was still the case. Dads learnt what their daughters needed from them, and then they had numerous opportunities over the weekend to apply what they had learnt.

The hearts of the daughters turned toward their fathers last weekend, because the fathers had turned their hearts toward their daughters. Simple, yet profound! Life-changing and wonderful indeed!

And now for some feedback from the daughters…

“This weekend has meant a lot to me. It has helped me to know my Dad a bit more and what he thinks of me as his ‘PRINCESS’. This weekend has brought Dad and I together more because I don’t get much 1 on 1 time with him because I have to share him with my 3 brothers and my Mum  My favourite memory was from Saturday night, when Dad told me who I was as a person in his eyes. That was GREAT!”  (Zoe – Age 13 – Sydney)

“This weekend has meant that I have been able to get away with my Dad and talk, and just be with him alone. It has given us a chance to bond more while doing fun stuff together. That’s why this weekend has meant a lot to me. My favourite memory is how all the fathers got up and said things on their heart about their daughter because as a girl I think it’s important for not just me but for all other girls to hear what her Dad loves most about her, and I think I speak for everyone when I say all the daughters would have been proud of their Dads.”  (Tessa – Age 13 – Brisbane)

“This weekend has helped me to understand my Dad better, and have a positive and fun time. I don’t have one favourite memory from the weekend… it was all very special.”  (Hannah – Age 13 – Brisbane)

“This weekend has shown me that my Dad loves me and that I love my Dad. I love just me and my Dad being together like friends.”  (Christyn – Age 12 – Brisbane)

“This weekend meant a lot to me because I got to spend a lot of time with my Dad. I loved our time at Adventure Parc because it was like Dreamworld, but better.”  (Emily – Age 12 – Brisbane)

“Spending time with my Dad this weekend was great because he is at work a lot and I usually see Mum more than him. I really enjoyed it. My favourite memory was seeing the glow-worms and going to Adventure Parc with my Dad and watching him doing everything so easily. And the FROGS. This CAMP ROCKS!”  (Chloe – Age 11 – Sydney)

“This weekend has meant so much to me because I am the oldest in my family and don’t get much time with my Dad alone, so this means so much to me and I will never forget this Daddy & Daughter weekend. Also because this is the best weekend ever, because of all the fun things we did and all the fun movies and Dad’s speech. I loved that very much. My favourite memory would be when Dad gave a beautiful speech. I nearly cried. It was so nice to hear that from my Dad. I also loved Adventure Parc with the flying foxes and yeah, I have a lot of good memories from this weekend.”  (Molly – Age 10 – Sunshine Coast)

“10/10. This weekend meant a lot to be with my Dad. I loved every part of it, and I loved going on the high ropes.”  (Rachael – Age 10 – Brisbane)

“This weekend meant that I could have fun and spend some time with my Dad. I especially loved hearing my Dad telling me how much he loves me.”  (Annaleise – Age 10 – Dubbo)

“This weekend has meant everything to me… being able to spend time with my Dad, have fun and enjoy myself. I loved going to Adventure Parc. I was afraid of heights, so I didn’t want to go, but I had so much fun. I faced my fear of heights, and made it to the Black level. I recommend these camps to everyone.”  (Senayit – Age 10 – Sunshine Coast)

“This weekend has helped me to know my Dad better than I did and I had a go at everything. I loved the high ropes. It was scary, but I tried and did it, and so did my Dad. I also loved the glow-worm caves. This weekend was great.”  (Emma – Age 10 – Brisbane)

“This was a special weekend for my Dad and I to get along. My favourite memory was when I went on the flying fox, even though I was scared.”  (Emily – Age 10 – Townsville)

“This was a fun weekend with my Dad and myself. My favourite memory was when Dad and I stood in front of everyone and he said things that made me feel very happy.”  (Sarah – Age 9 – Dalby)

“This weekend has meant I can get away and spend time with my Dad. My favourite memories were seeing the glow-worms, the high ropes, and spending time with my wonderful, magnificent Dad.”  (Emma – Age 9 – Brisbane)

“I loved being with my Dad and making friends this weekend. I also loved going to the Glow-worm caves.”  (Brook – Age 7 – Sunshine Coast)

And finally some feedback from the Dads…

This weekend has meant everything to me! Fun, joyful, life-changing. A great experience to ‘break-away’ from the hectic week-by-week routine of a big, busy family and full-on job and to take one of my children on a one-on-one intentional experience – real quality time.”  (Alan – Age 52 – Brisbane)

This weekend has reaffirmed just how important my role is as a father.”  (Mark – Age 52 – Brisbane)

This weekend has been the best investment I have ever made, as a father to my daughter. You read about these things in books, but to actually discuss it and experience it, is something quite different. I really get it!!! It has impacted me enormously.”  (Peter – Age 50 – Sydney)

I have always spent time with my children, however there have been dimensions to this weekend that I could not have created on my own, and those elements have been priceless and precious. The format and process was perfect. I have been relaxed, challenged, encouraged, and I have had a beautiful time with my daughter.”  (Dale – Age 49 – Brisbane)

This weekend has taken my relationship with my daughter to a deeper level. I plan to continue giving her all of the love, affection, affirmation, and attention she needs from me, even after she’s married.”  (Steve – Age 45 – Sydney)

This weekend has helped my heart to continue to soften and strengthen, and I am continuing to become a man who increasingly loves well.”  (Alan – Age 45 – Brisbane)

This weekend has caused me to spend time with my daughter, and helped me to learn more about being a father.”  (Steve – Age 45 – Dalby)

This special time alone with my daughter has been a real eye-opener. We have always been close, but this has brought us a lot closer. I am hoping that it will open further communication as she gets older.”  (Warren – Age 42 – Brisbane)

My daughter and I have not always had the best of relationships. She has been difficult, and I have been negative. This year we have started to see a big improvement, but this weekend has really helped me to see the positives, and the need to affirm them. To be able to publically draw out her qualities and to verbalise how I am proud of her, will not only affirm her, but also help change my heart, and the way I see her. It has been a wonderful time of interaction and fun and I know she has appreciated being the centre of my attention.”  (Norman – Age 40 – Sunshine Coast)

This weekend has been more than I had hoped for. I knew it would be of worth, but it was honestly well beyond what I had expected. It has provided me with guidance that I know I needed, and now I have some direction and thoughts to take away.”  (Mark – Age 40 – Townsville)

It’s been a goal to get one-on-one time with my kids, because I’ve had a concern that they may not truly know how much I love them and why. This time provided me with the opportunity to stop doing all those other things in work and in family life to deliver what my daughter really needed. It’s a great start to a new way forward!”  (Jamie – Age 39 – Brisbane)

This weekend has helped me to see the hearts of my daughters, and my wife, and a way to get there.”  (Byron – Age 38 – Sunshine Coast)

This weekend has given me a language to speak to my daughter in a way she needs so much from me as her father. It has set the bar so much higher, and will benefit our relationship forever.”  (Nathan – Age 36 – Dubbo)

This weekend has been an opportunity to claim my daughter’s heart, and an opportunity to see what I have been missing, and also what my wife missed as a daughter. I see a way forward for both of them as I put into practice what I have learnt here.”  (Grant – Age 35 – Brisbane)

This weekend has reaffirmed what my amazing wife has continuously looked to instil in me, through her knowledge of the family make-up and the importance of a father to his daughter. It has also given me the encouragement to work on my relationship with my daughter, by applying “the 3As”.”  (Scott – Age 34 – Sunshine Coast)

Tuesday
Oct042011

I Received More from This Experience than My Son did...

"I received more from this experience than my son did." That seemed to be the statement, the theme, that most encapsulated our recent 5 Night Father-Son Adventure. Why? Because most men are like you and I, i.e. they have never...

1. Had a Dad or significant male other who understood the significance of his role,
2. Belonged to, nor received an invitation into a community of men,
3. Received any training or instruction in the ways of Authentic Manhood.

The truth is however...
these men's sons needed their fathers' experience to be just as significant, if not more significant than their own. Because ultimately it's Dad who must himself walk the path of Authentic Manhood, so that his son may in turn follow. The masculine journey is not one that a boy or a man is able to walk or negotiate alone.

So another successful 5 Night Father-Son Adventure it was... men and young men walking taller than they had before... men and young men armed and equipped with what they need to successfully complete the next leg of their masculine journey... men and young men who have been Initiated! And that's a win for relationships, for marriages, for families, and for our society. I honour the strength and courage that each person demonstrated throughout the course of last week.

So here's what the sons and fathers each had to say about their experience...

Feedback from the sons…

This experience has been a real eye opener for me, and I feel that it has been a fantastic experience. This trip has meant to me a new & deeper perspective on the father-son relationship, and I will look back on this time and cherish it deeply
As far as the outdoor adventures go, I thoroughly enjoyed the scuba diving, as it was quality time with my Dad, and the white-water rafting, as it was a great time to bond in the company of other men.
In total truth, I came with low expectations, as I felt that it was chewing up my holidays, but I’ve got to do things during this time that I’d never get to do at home.
”  (Matthew – Age 17 – Sydney, NSW)

This experience has shown me that there really is more to being a man than age, and that there are other truly great people in the world who lead by example, and are changing the world. My favourite memory from this week was definitely the time on the hike with my Dad. When Dad first suggested this, I thought it sounded kind of lame, but it really has changed my life. Priceless.”  (Jadon – Age 16 – Melbourne, VIC)

This experience has been a good time to bond with and get closer to my Dad. White-water rafting was my favourite outdoor adventure of the week, but my favourite memory was simply getting closer to my Dad.”  (Josh – Age 15 – Canberra, ACT)

This experience has meant that Dad and I have gotten to spend time together, and learn more about each other. My favourite outdoor adventures this week have been the day on the Great Barrier Reef, and the white-water rafting.”  (Rowan – Age 15 – Townsville, QLD)

This experience has meant a lot to me and my father. We were always close, but I believe this has helped us to know each other and experience great things with each other. Thank you very much. There have been many great experiences and memories made this week, but my favourites were scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, white-water rafting, and the initiation ceremony. Any suggested changes or improvements? Nope, zero, nada. It was brilliant, fantastic, and awesome. My favourite evening presentation was the 4 Marks of a Real Man, due to its ability to lead me and guide me in the future .”  (Ryan – Age 13 – Cairns, QLD)

This experience has meant that I can spend time with Dad, and bond. I had so much fun all week, and my favourite outdoor adventure was definitely the white-water rafting.”  (Harrisen – Age 13 – Mackay, QLD)

Feedback from the Dads…

This experience has been a practical culmination of a journey we have been on for some time, providing fantastic opportunities to make it all happen. The initiation ceremony on the final evening was what I will remember most.”  (Rick – Age 58 – Newcastle, NSW)

This experience has taught me again what it means to be a Dad and how great a relationship with a son can be. There is no limit. All of the outdoor adventures were fantastic, and the public affirmation of my son, and the initiation ceremony were very powerful.”  (Joe – Age 49 – Cairns, QLD)

This experience has been a journey I needed probably more than my son. My favourite memory is simply sharing this experience with my son.”  (Robert – Age 47 – Townsville, QLD)

It was very special to have a one-on-one, intimate time with my son. It was so good to have the time to know my son’s heart even better, and he getting to know my heart more intimately.”  (Paul – Age 47 – Sydney, NSW)

This has been a very moving experience. I loved the initiation ceremony, and I loved affirming my son in public .”  (Ian – Age 47 – Canberra, ACT)

This has been an opportunity to share a beautiful experience with my son. It has also been an opportunity to witness an “authentic” man. The initiation ceremony on the final evening was powerful. I came with an open mind, and it exceeded my expectations. Excellent value for money.”  (Chris – Age 46 – Melbourne, VIC)

This experience has truly blessed my life, and my son’s life, and the generations to come. My favourite memory of the week was the laughter that I witnessed which flowed from my son as we rode the Tully River together as father and son. This experience has been worth every cent. Simply the best.”  (Steve – Age 45 – Mackay, QLD)

This experience has been very rewarding. It has enabled me to talk through “issues” that had been weighing. My favourite memory was simply spending time with my son. Excellent value for money.”  (Nick – Age 44 – Noosa, QLD)

For more photos of our September 24-29, 2011 - 5 Night Father-Son Adventure... you may view the photo album here.

Wednesday
Sep142011

A Community of Men in the Process of Initiation

For 95 percent of human history, boys weren’t launched out into adulthood, they were welcomed into it, into a lifelong support network that would work to ensure their contribution would be a good one.  Steve Biddulph (Australian Psychologist & Author)

A boy becomes a man only through the active intervention of his father and the fellowship of men.”  John Eldredge (Author)

John Eldredge in his book “The Way of the Wild Heart”, goes on to say… “Far too much has fallen on the shoulders of the Father alone. It takes a company of men to bring a boy into the masculine world, and to bring young men along in their maturity.”

I’ve felt the weight of that burden myself over the years. Why? Because too few men today experience real community with other men. Most men have male acquaintances… guys they work alongside of… guys they share a drink with socially… but very few actually ever experience real friendships with other men, who share a common purpose, larger than themselves, like initiating this generation of boys into authentic manhood.

But I have been extremely proactive over the last decade to ensure my sons would be able to have other good, masculine influences to draw upon, and be mentored by… men who have skills, gifts, talents, and abilities that I myself lack. But none of that has come easy. I have had to selectively seek out other men, to offer them a vision worth pursuing, to inspire them, to lead them, to serve them, and in some cases, actually mentor and father them.

Together as a band-of-brothers, we have experienced adventures… with, and without ours sons present. We have invited them and involved them, in our missions to various communities where we’ve helped men to establish band of brothers themselves. And we have affirmed, validated, and played a part in initiating one another’s sons. You can read about part of my eldest son Brandon’s journey here, and part of my second eldest son Isaac’s journey here. All of my sons know… what too few kids do these days… that they have men, other than Dad, who love them, who have invested into them, and who are there for them… no matter what!

So Dad, if you want your boy to one day be a real man, then you too must be intentional in enlisting other men, and establishing a community of men of your own. You’ll have to fight to find them, and you’ll have to fight to keep them, but it is worth it!

One of the things that I love about our 5 Night Father-Son Adventures , is that a community of men are brought together from all over Australia, and the world, for a single purpose, to ensure the success of a great mission… to initiate our sons. You can register for our next 5 Night Father-Son Adventure here… http://www.fatheringadventures.com.au/5_night_father_son_adventures.php .

You can see some photographs and read the testimonials from the fathers and the sons, from one of our recent 5 Night Father-Son Adventures here… http://fatheringadventures.squarespace.com/blog/2011/7/13/inside-one-of-our-5-night-father-son-adventures.html .

So how about you? Were you as a boy ever invited into a community of men by your father or another man? And what about now? Have you made it a priority to be a part of a community of men… to find, or establish one yourself, for yourself, and for you to invite and welcome your sons into when they enter their teenage years?

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