Rites of Passage: Opening the Door Into Manhood with Bill Winchester

We are discussing rites of passage. This is something that is needed in our culture. My guest today is Bill Winchester and I wanted to bring him on because this subject is a must in today’s society. Bill and I talk about why a rite of passage is important, the things that are most meaningful for these young men to experience when they are going through a rite of passage. 

As far back as he can remember, Bill’s life has been a mix of hard work and the pursuit of fun adventures. His parents, who both experienced difficult and even tragic upbringings, married young and quickly set about doing the best they could to raise a family. But it’s hard to build anything solid on broken foundations. Growing up as the firstborn son, Bill embraced his role of leader and protector for his two younger sisters. And as he watched his parents struggle to overcome the challenges of their childhoods while raising kids of their own, he learned first hand how important healthy families are for the future of our world.

Just before starting high school Bill met a cute girl named Christie, and seven years later they were married. Within months of getting married Bill started his own remodeling company and then he and Christie learned that they were going to be parents sooner than they had planned.

Fast forward 22 years, and Bill’s life has been full with one daughter, two sons, years of watching theater performances, coaching football and baseball, and taking his family on adventures wherever he can find them.

Over the last few years, as his children have grown more capable and less dependent, Bill has felt an increasing urgency to help other fathers prepare their children to successfully transition into healthy manhood (and womanhood). And so, after 25+ years of building spaces, Bill is setting out on a new adventure as a builder of peak moments and HEROIC Men.

As this episode is releasing, he is facilitating his first Father and Son Rite of Passage in the Deschutes National Forest outside of beautiful Bend, Oregon.

If you’re interested in learning more about the importance of Rites of Passage, Bill would love to connect with you and even has a book he’d like to give to you and your son. Just email him at bill@menoftraction.com and put the word Initiation in the subject line.

What You’ll Learn

4:28 Interview Begins

10:47 Leading Your Daughters

Bill talks about how many times as dads we don’t realize the impression they leave on their children, he realized it when his only daughter said that most boys were boring or didn’t do the things her dad did for his family, that’s when he realized the importance of leading by example.

13:28 Care Packages

They say that a woman learns about love by how her dad treats her and how she sees her dad treat her mom, that’s why Bill has a routine that every time his wife goes on retreat, between him, his daughter and his 2 sons, they put together a care package and leave it for her in secret, there they see the effort their dad puts in but it is also an activity that includes all of them

21:02 Complicated Childhood
Bill describes that his parents had a complicated childhood and life in terms of his own parents, so they did what they could with what they were given. But when his two sons were born, he wanted something more for them, some kind of initiation to manhood different from what he had with his family background.

28:08 The Importance of Rites of Passage
Having a rite of passage is important for boys but it doesn’t have to be dangerous, shocking or intimidating. It should be about experiences and seeing it formalized, that is incorporated into the customs of each family, something that younger children expect because they see it in their older siblings.

31:13 The Hero’s Journey
Bill mentions a book that helps a lot to understand the process of moving from boyhood to manhood, in the case of boys, this ritual is also important because one must understand that there is an element that is lost, another that is separated and finally the importance of contributing, counting on others and being part of a tribe; understanding that all this is a process that one must not go through alone.

37:03 Rituals
Mark describes the ritual of passage he created for his son, where he took 6 people his son looked up to and did many activities for 3 days in the woods. He was able to make a tribe for him, with his mentors, his cousins, his brother and some friends. Each mentor wrote him a letter where they listed what they liked about him, what he is good at and what could challenge him. They invited him to keep them as part of his life. Mark mentions that it was very powerful and meaningful to his son.


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