A Father's Day gift — from a father

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James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor
James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor
Now that Mother's Day has passed, it's on to the next best thing, Father's Day. This year, one long-term care professional has created an extra special twist to it, even though it's about a month away.

Mike McCormick says he saw a need for males in our culture so he did more than just wring his hands — or thump his chest, for that matter. He sat down at a keyboard and composed what could wind up being a great Father's Day gift for any number of people. Newly out this week is McCormick's “Man Quest: Leading Teenage Boys Into Manhood.”

As the Executive Director at Novi Fox Run, a continuing care retirement community in Novi, MI, McCormick has addressed many problems the elderly face. With this book, he takes on challenges for (mostly) middle-aged fathers and their teen-age sons.

“Just about every culture on the planet actively teaches their teen-age boys what it means to be a man, with Western society being the most notable exception,” McCormick says. “Most men have an innate hunger to teach boys the true essence of manhood but just don't know where to start or what to say.”

“Man Quest” was written to fit that need. It gives a step-by-step approach for fathers and male mentors guiding boys as they “transform into men of courage, honor and integrity.” It's a workbook-style publication that promises to pull no punches.

McCormick, who has held several top senior care posts, started the book as a simple writing exercise to explain to his 12-year-old son what it means to be a man. He found he didn't have a clear answer.

He dug into research and came up with the six guide posts the book focuses on: accept responsibility, lead courageously, pretend about nothing, journey with God, protect your heart, and engage in deep and meaningful relationships. He tested out the workbook with his son and 11 other father-son pairs and decided to disseminate it more widely.

“Dads can't afford to be complacent in our society,” McCormick says. “If you're not actively talking to your teen-age son about what it truly means to be a man, then his concept of masculinity is being warped by the cultural definition of money, sex and power.

“Your window of influence with your son is smaller than you think and his masculine mindset is being adversely shaped right now. It' s not the responsibility of your church, school or youth group to teach your son the essence of manhood — it's the father's role to pass it on.”

The best Father's Day gift a man might have could be the one that he passes on to a son himself.

For more information about “Man Quest,” visit its website. The book is being released by Elk Lake Publishing.

Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.