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Boys and men are faced with a massive challenge in life to lead, be strong, and be successful. We are taught that failure is not an option and to appear weak is shameful. Yet those who have struggled, and even been unsuccessful in their efforts, understand that failure can also be our greatest teacher and that allowing oneself to acknowledge their vulnerabilities is liberating. 

That is because when we are able to look in the mirror and speak the truth of our experience, that is when our true masculine courage comes forward. That is where the learning and growth that will propel us forward into our next challenge, our next success, resides. That is where we discover the inner strength to get back on the bucking bronco of life to keep doing what needs to be done in order to fulfill our responsibilities and realize our dreams. That is "daring greatly," when we are able to look back at our failures and know that we were all-in in our efforts, then there is no place for shame to reside in our lives and we can hold our heads high. 

This is the masculine principle that incorporates both the heights of our strengths and the realities of our humanity, allowing us to be whole and vulnerable, beyond the invincible myths of machismo and the lone, hardened cowboy. As men, and as boys, we need all of these aspects of our selves to actively support us in our adventures and our victories.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred in dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly..." -- Theodore Roosevelt, 1910.