All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Purchases as a Rite of Passage

As a boy grows into manhood their are some things he should buy, preferably with his own money.  I say preferably because in some cases young men are gifted certain items by the men in their life who want them to have a special memento.  I have no objection to boys getting these items as gifts, but there is a special sense of achievement when a boy pays for them with money he has earned himself.

These are listed in order of age from youngest to oldest.  I assume that the boy making the purchase is doing so with his father permission and oversight.  The boy should earn the money either from his allowance or paper route or doing odd jobs.  Mom or dad shouldn't just fork over the cash.  There is no achievement in buying stuff you want with money that cost you nothing to get.
  • A pocket knife about age 9
  • Fireworks, of the pop bottle rocket and fire cracker variety 10 or so
  • A BB gun
  • Earn a hunters safety certificate (age 12 most states)
  • Small game hunting license
  • Fishing license
  • Big game hunting license (the age for the licenses will depend on your state)
  • Pay for his drivers license and insurance age 16
  • Shotgun, rifle age 18, a boy obviously should already have his own 22 before this time,  I'm talking about going into a store and purchasing new guns, which by law means age 18. 
The young man should give considerable thought and research to these purchases as they will be his first step into accepting responsibility for his life and those who depend on him. 

You may have noticed that I have left buying a car off the list.  This is not a mistake.  Yes, I bought my first car when I was 18.  No, I have no objection to boys buying cars.  Yes, it is an important step in securing independence and manhood for most.  Owning a car isn't absolutely necessary to manhood, and in some cases paying for the responsibility of a car might be the best way for the boy to go.  A young man going into the service or away for education or training may not need the extra expense of a car as he focuses on his future.

Men provide protection and safety to those they love.  Being prepared to do this is a boy's acceptance of manhood.  He should buy his guns ideally on his 18th birthday.  He should do it before he fills out and signs his selective service card or his voters registration paperwork. 


  1. Part of the father son bonding in the boy's youth should also be devoted to dad preparing his son for those purchases by mentoring and advising him as to what to look for when the time comes.
    As the Proverb says, train your child in the way he/she should go and they will never depart it.

    I imagine that you and Nate probably will have the best prepared sons when they get to all these life marks and are ready.

    Having spent years building those precious memories with your child is just a great perk too. Your sons will never forget those times with their dads as they spend time with their own children.

    Something else to think about too dads. Have your daughters hang around you when you are doing auto maintenance. One of the biggest rackets today are mechanics who know that most girls/women don't have a clue when it comes to their vehicles.

    Teaching and letting them help you with the basics like oil changes, how to change a tire, checking fluid levels etc will be life gold when they get of that age for their own vehicle ownership.
    Plus as a teen, if they know how to change the tire, they will get incredible awe and respect from their friends who have no clue.

    1. Auto maintenance is a series in its self. The truth of the matter is that most cars are now designed to require specialized equipment to work on, placing more common fixs out of the ability of the average person.

    2. Susan3:05 PM

      That is very true. However, it never hurts to educate a daughter, or even son in the basic mechanics to give the son/daughter's wallet a fighting chance against the mechanic if they need to take the vehicle in.

      Just knowing how to sound educated when talking to the mechanic is putting them way ahead of the game. Even if they can't do a repair themselves, just a basic knowledge works to their favor.

      I personally prefer a garage where there isn't a service writer type character that you have to trust to translate a problem correctly to the mechanic. I always prefer face to face with the mechanic.

  2. WaterBoy6:31 PM

    Excellent post.

  3. black4:32 PM

    No Wii's, XBoxes, or Nintendo's? How about smart phones or tablets?

    Seriously... it's great to be putting some thought into these things before time slips by and you're looking back on what should have been.

    I appreciate your insight cuz my father disengaged when I was about 9yo.

  4. No Wii's, XBoxes, or Nintendo's? How about smart phones or tablets?

    Not a priority here, although Res Jr is getting a Atari for Christmas. My dad would never buy me one as a kid and I've got a hankering to play some Pong.

  5. My dad was awesome at PacMan... We might need to pull out the old ColecoVision and play some Qbert.

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