Dads Mentoring Boys



Up to this point in time, dad is still out in the fields working his land and his herd. Everyone could look out the window, and there he was. Dawn to dusk. Tilling the soil, harvesting the crops, tending his flock.

But wait! Besides tending for his family, there’s another role dad played for the family. A critical function that he had been in charge of since the early cave days.

Mentoring the next generation of men.

Since his days in the cave, a crucial role for dads and uncles was the transfer of knowledge to the boys of the tribe, about how to hunt, till the soil, protect the family, etc. An apprenticeship. The boys would work beside dad to learn the essential skills that would assure the tribe’s survival into the future.

But in the 12th century, the Chinese invention of paper was making its way to the civilized worlds of Europe and other parts of Asia. With it, an alternate method of transferring knowledge was emerging.

For the first time, civilized man had an easy means to spread, transfer and preserve knowledge, beyond dad’s voice and example.

Suddenly, dad and uncle Hiram were not the only source of knowledge and learning. In fact, they may not have necessarily been the best source.

With Gutenberg’s development of the printing press in the 1400s, and the dramatic lowering of paper costs by the early 1800s, the printed and written word were finally affordable to the masses. Knowledge transfer through encyclopedias and books of instruction on every topic imaginable, supplanted dad’s limited knowledge of how to be the breadwinner. Suddenly, there was no way any father could compete with the flow of knowledge that mass distribution of the printed page provided.

Suddenly, dad was not the wisest source of knowledge available.


First, dad’s role as protector of the family was altered. Then, his role as elder and wise man of the tribe was quickly evaporating.

How do you spell… identity crisis in the making?

But wait. This is not where our story ends.