In 1849, Betsy Bayley of the infamous Stephen Meek (no relation) expedition, lost in route to Oregon, wrote this despairing letter to her sister in Ohio:
“We camped at a spring which we gave the name of “The Lost Hollow” because there was very little water there. We had men out in every direction in search of water. They traveled 40 or 50 miles in search of water but found none. You cannot imagine how we all felt. Go back, we could not and we knew not what was before us. Our provisions were failing us. There was sorrow and dismay depicted on every countenance. We were like mariners lost at sea and in this mountainous wilderness we had to remain for five days…..people began to get sick.” (Wikipedia – “Meek’s Cutoff”)
Even now, 150 years later, the camp’s despair, confusion, frantic searching, and panic are palpable, and all because they lacked an expert. Boys, left to peers, poor role models, or to their own devices run as much risk as the historic Meek Expedition. Safe passage requires a trustworthy guide because:
- There are great impasses. – We face things greater than us. A boy will need a source of wisdom and strength beyond his own.
- It is an unfamiliar journey. – Ancient mariners followed the stars as modern pilots use instruments. Life is a more like a frontier than a familiar path. Men without a knowledgeable leader become lost and their potential parishes with them.
- Their families’ fate is tied to theirs. – We are born, live, and write into a story. Boys have roots and they will leave a legacy. How they live directly affects the chapters that will follow.
- We travel as one. – We are a universe, connected, community. My selfishness costs someone. My generosity affects someone. He is not solo and his actions are not conducted in a vacuum.
- There will be resistance. – Along with the obstacles he will face, there will be those who differ with him. Some will resist fiercely – even threaten war. He can run, resist, or repair. Each is appropriate in its moment, but which goes with when?
These “5-Keys to Manhood” are explained fully in the “Manabouts Manual” and in practical form in the online “Manabouts Course” where fathers and mentors are equipped to leas their sons in safe passage. With these five insights travel is safe and dreams come true. Without them, Betsy Bayley’s letter is prophetic and boys live “like mariners lost at sea in a mountainous wilderness.”