Better Manhood Skills: Fun and Adventure

This current series about creating a roadmap for better men is intended to help change the optics of today’s manhood. It is my experience that most guys need more fun and adventure to have a well-balanced life. In this post, I will suggest that this fun and adventure should come in the form of getaways, retreats, and outdoor activities with high-quality men which is vital to the maturing process of men. 

So far in this series, I’ve provided several posts that became the foundation for why we need to help young males learn to become better men. I then began detailing the skills needed for proper manhood (see the links to all the hard skills so far at the end of this post). This post serves as the bridge to the upcoming subset of soft skills that are also crucial to keeping males from going “off the road” in their manhood. Fun and adventure provide an outlet for our masculine energy. Getaways and retreats also provide learning opportunities to learn about how to become a better man. 

Fun and Adventure Overcome Loneliness

Over the past decade, stress, depression, anxiety, and suicide levels have risen in the male population all around the world. As I wrote in a 2019 post titled, Loneliness: a Huge Threat to our Health, men are more susceptible to depression and anxiety from stress than women since guys are more likely to isolate themselves rather than seek help. In fact, men die from suicide 3.3 times more often than in females. That’s a very scary statistic! 

Sadly, many men tend to deal with issues on their own because they are taught to “man up” when faced with a challenging situation. This causes us to keep our problems to ourselves rather than share our struggles. We gloss over the more serious issues in our lives with many guys turning to drugs, alcohol, or sex to mask the pain of what’s really going on inside. 

Throughout this blog, I stress that men need at least one other man in their life who knows them well enough to see behind the mask and come alongside them through their struggles. These are what I call GodBuddies; men who know the importance of time away, both in solitude but also for adventure with other like-minded guys. 

Retreat vs. Isolation

Let’s first understand some important definitions:

  • Retreat: (Noun) a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy. (Verb) To withdraw, retire, or drawback, especially for shelter or seclusion.
  • Get-Away: an act or instance of getting away; a place suitable for a vacation, especially for a brief duration.
  • Isolation: (Noun) the action of isolating; the condition of being isolated. 

—Adapted from Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

The key difference is that retreats and getaways are good for a man’s personal growth and his spiritual soul, whereas isolation is not. 

Men Need to Get Away 

Historically, certain cultures and times encouraged males to engage in adventurous activities as a way to demonstrate bravery, physical prowess, and leadership, while females were expected to prioritize other aspects of life, such as family and caregiving. However, societal norms and cultural expectations have changed so taking time away is not exclusive to males. It’s crucial for everyone to get time away to recharge their batteries. The means may be different though for each of us

Adventure can come from a variety of activities and interests. Some men prefer time away to rekindle their sense of adventure; living out of a tent or cabin in the woods while hunting or fishing or just being away from the hustle and bustle of life. Others prefer alone time and the solitude of a beach or vacation home to read, sleep, and relax to recharge their batteries. Especially for introverts, alone time recharges, rather than drains, their batteries.

That said, I believe that all men need fun and adventure to keep from becoming boring and stale. I also believe that every male needs “guy time” with other men of high quality and character to help them become better men. 

Reasons for Fun and Adventure

There are several reasons why fun and adventure hold particular significance for some men:

  • Evolutionary biology: From an evolutionary perspective, men were often the hunters and protectors of their communities, requiring physical strength and risk-taking abilities. This might have contributed to the development of a preference for adventurous activities.
  • Thrill-seeking and risk-taking: Seeking excitement and taking risks can be attributed to individual personality traits since some people have a higher propensity for seeking thrills, while others prefer low-key activities.
  • Connection with nature: Many adventurous activities, such as hiking, rock climbing, or wilderness exploration, allow individuals to connect with nature. The outdoor environment can provide a sense of freedom and tranquility.
  • Escapism: Adventure offers an escape from the mundane aspects of daily life. Engaging in thrilling activities can break the monotony and provide a temporary escape from everyday responsibilities and stressors.
  • Social bonding: Adventure activities can be a great way to bond with friends, family, or like-minded individuals.  Shared experiences in challenging situations can create strong and lasting connections.
  • Personal growth: Adventure can challenge individuals physically and mentally, promoting personal growth and development. It pushes people beyond their comfort zones and fosters resilience and adaptability.
  • Sense of accomplishment: Conquering challenges and accomplishing adventurous feats can lead to a strong sense of achievement and self-confidence. Men, like anyone else, may seek these feelings of triumph and empowerment.
  • Stress relief: Adventure activities often induce an adrenaline rush, which can be a natural stress reliever. Engaging in adventurous pursuits allows individuals to release pent-up energy and tension. 

Get-Aways Build Friendships 

I first began to understand the reasons men need time away after attending my first Spring Men’s Get-Away Weekend at our church. 

Soon after I began attending the Saturday men’s Bible study, I was invited to join the guys for their annual long weekend in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  The tradition of this men’s weekend began several years earlier when one man at our church invited a few others up to his cabin the weekend before Memorial Day to help him put in the boat dock for the opening of the summer season. The weekend has slowly evolved to where upwards of two dozen guys ranging from their early 20s to older than 60, go up for 3-days of fishing, golfing, eating well, and enjoying some adult beverages. Often, there are deep conversations but it’s mainly just guys sitting in a boat or walking a golf course enjoying each other’s company. 

Retreats Help You Grow

I also saw the importance of making time to grow personally and spiritually. A few years into attending our church’s Saturday AM Men’s Bible Study group, we began conducting a weekend away each fall at a Presbyterian Camp in Saugatuck, Michigan. We discussed topics such as The Quest for Authentic Manhood (that I wrote about here), Every Man’s Battle with Sexual Temptation (an essential book by Kenny Luck), Every Man’s Marriage (also by Kenny Luck) and some home-grown topics like “A Man’s Guide to Friendships” (which began to formalize my thought-process for God Buddies), one on work-life balance, and the “Un” Retreat (where we learned how “unChristian” we Christians can be). These weekends included Bible study and fellowship time that helped us grow as godly men.

One particular retreat that impacted many men I know is The Great Banquet (also known as Cursillo, Road to Emmaus, and Tres Dias). This 72-hour weekend experience examines Christianity as a lifestyle to help you strengthen and renew your faith. Guests hear fifteen talks on the theme of God’s grace and love. There are separate weekends for men and women. The Great Banquet helped elevate my understanding of grace and forgiveness to a new level while helping me re-prioritize my life around being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Small GB logo

GodBuddy Focus

Time away for fun and adventure is critical to your maturity into as a man. It allows us to burn the “stink” off and recharge our batteries.

But time away in solitude for personal reflection and time away learning at retreats is also critical to our personal and spiritual growth as a godly man.

All men need getaways and retreats to meet other guys, who may become closer friends. We need to learn together and encourage each other to rekindle the fun and adventure of our youth.

Now, I don’t mean acting like “toxic” males who are still boys at heart. (Read more in The Four Faces of a Godly Man since there’s nothing wrong with some laughing, horsing around, and just being a guy). I mean learning what it means to be a mature and proper man. I mean becoming a better man; maybe even a more godly man!

For discussion:

  • Do you prefer solitude or fun and adventure to recharge your batteries?
  • Why is it important to have some high-quality men with you on your adventures?
  • What are you doing for your spiritual growth? 

[Feature Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash]

Roadmap to Better Manhood
IntroductionTime for a Change
The Secrets to Becoming a Real (Godly) Man
Start Being a R-E-A-L Man Here
FoundationA Man’s Identity: Knowing Who You Are and Whose You Are
Discovering Your Purpose as a Man
A Man and His Worldview
Using Your Masculinity Properly
First, Manage Yourself Well
Hard-skillsBetter Manhood Skills: Money Management
Better Manhood Skills: Good Personal Hygiene
Better Manhood Skills: Time Management
Better Manhood Skills: Navigation, Transportation and Travel
Better Manhood Skills: Education and Employment 
Better Manhood Skills: Organizing Your Belongings

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