Mike McCormick is a dedicated father, husband, and community leader committed to teaching developing male minds the essence of authentic masculinity.

Our antiquated, social norms often compel men to resist vulnerability, withdraw, and insist everything is within their control, while larger questions of what it means to be a man go unanswered.

Many men reach adulthood without the emotional skillset or sense of identity required to properly function in the world — they’re little kids trapped in a big kids’ bodies.

In order to combat this cultural deficiency, McCormick curated ManQuest, a spiritual approach geared toward transforming teenaged boys into men of courage, empathy, and integrity while strengthening bonds with their fathers and other male mentors.

This episode is a must-watch for anyone with teenaged sons — the two Mikes discuss everything from media influences on male development, hurdles that deter holistic connection with our sons, and actionable methodologies to help navigate the path to authentic manhood.

Show Notes

[00:29] Mike McCormick’s background and bio as author of Manquest: Leading Teenage Boys into Manhood and founder of McCormick Basketball.

[01:49] Welcome to the show, Mike! You wrote a book and accompanying program called Manquest — what is Manquest and why is it so important?

[02:47] What are the hurdles in our way that prevent us from doing a better job of raising our sons?

[03:52] I imagine social media over the last ten years hasn’t helped. I know raising daughters in the time of social media has been difficult… raising sons must be even harder.

[05:19] Some dads may be listening to this and thinking, “This is uncomfortable… I’m not quite sure how to do this…” What’s your advice to help them get out of that discomfort and talking to their sons?

[06:11] Lots of parents, including yourself, struggle with wanting to be friends with their kids vs. being a disciplinarian, administering tough love, and giving out advice. How do you advise the fathers and mentors you coach on the difference between being a friend and being a parent?

[08:31] Tell us more about the Manquest program! Is there a religious aspect to this program?

[08:56] The book is spiritual, not religious — it’s suited for people who are of faith as well as those who do not follow a specific faith.

[09:37] What is “authentic masculinity?”

[10:27] It can be boiled down into Five Guideposts, which are the “essence” of what it means to be a man: Lead Courageously, Pretend About Nothing, Protect Your Heart, Engage in Deep and Meaningful Relationships, Stay Awake!

[12:39] Those are really good reminders for all of us. Your book also talks about “Rugged Truths.” What does that mean? Can you give us a few examples?

[14:16] The Rugged Truths are basically individual points that examine the realities surrounding the Five Guideposts. While the Guideposts are the goal, the Rugged Truths are the harsh facts that life isn’t fair, we all go through periods of doubt and darkness, and that we aren’t going to be able to embody the Guideposts at all times. But we are still able to and need to get up when we’re knocked down.

[16:50] Because of our archaic cultural norms, teenaged boys are rarely going to demonstrate the vulnerability to reach out and ask their fathers or mentors what it means to be a man. They’re compelled to act like they “have it all together.”

[17:49] Manhood is taught, it is not caught. Men are made, they’re not born.

[18:00] Are you finding the boys want to talk about these issues? Or is this something you have to convince them to talk about and realize the importance of?

[18:55] Movies are a great way to unlock conversation and father-son bonding.

[19:35] This makes me think… in the Jewish faith, once you hit thirteen, you become a man — that’s it. In your program, when do you see the boys entering manhood? Is there a specific age, or is it different for everyone?

[21:04] Being a man is not a specific moment in time. It’s about choosing to live as a man. It’s a daily, moment-to-moment decision that we all have.

[21:42] You mentioned movies… what are some of the best movies that can create an automatic connection and open up lines of communication?

[24:24] You also have a daughter… is that the next book? Is “Womanquest” next?

[27:00] It’s our responsibility to step up and provide these boys what they need to become men, because they’re struggling.

[27:28] Make sure to check Mike’s work on the Manquest website, shoot him an email with questions, and read his book, available on the site or Amazon!

[28:56] Thank you for being so passionate about this, writing the book, and doing what you do, Mike. Thanks so much for being on Open Mike today.

[29:22] Mike McCormick, Manquest — I advise you to check it out! If you know anybody who would gain benefit from this episode, please tell them about it! Comment, like, subscribe — we’re already over 2 million downloads and we’re approaching our magic 100th episode! Thank you for being here, thank you for watching, and stay tuned for more!

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