One afternoon Pop took me into town, to my favorite store. It was a combination feed and tack/hardware/ranch supply shop. It smelled of hay and linseed oil, of leather and gunpowder and kerosene—all the things that thrill a boy's heart. That summer Pop was having a problem with an overrun pigeon population on the ranch. He hated the dirty birds, feared they were carrying diseases to the cattle. "Flying rats" is what he called them. Pop walked straight over to the firearms counter, picked out a BB rifle and a quart-sized milk carton with about a million BBs in it, and handed them to me. The old shopkeeper looked a bit surprised as he stared down at me, squinting over his glasses. "Isn't he a bit young for that?" Pop put his hand on my shoulder and smiled. "This is my grandson, Hal. He's riding shotgun for me."
I may have walked into that feed store a squirrelly little kid, but I walked out as Sheriff Wyatt Earp. I had an identity and a place in the story. I was invited to be dangerous. If a boy is to become a man, if a man is to know he is one, this is not an option. A man has to know where he comes from, and what he's made of.
This excerpt is taken from the book, Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
BE A MAN.