Friday, December 1, 2023

Preface from "More Man Stuff: More Things a Young Man Needs to Know"

In 2001, the Explorers Club was established—a service club tailored for boys in grades 6 to 8 from the Chamberlain (South Dakota) Public School and St. Joseph’s Indian School. A cornerstone of the weekly meetings is a segment I call “Man Stuff.” During these sessions, we engage in discussions focused on life lessons—topics selected for their relevance to the young men and their potential impact on their journey to maturity.

In June 2020, I published Man Stuff: Things a Young Man Needs to Know which was a collection of some of these topics. My primary purpose in writing the book was to have something to present to the young men in 8th grade as they closed out their middle school years and moved on to high school.

I have been invited each year since organizing the Explorers Club to recognize them at their 8th grade Celebration and a book seemed like a good gift and reminder of the lessons we had discussed during their time in the club. I gave very little consideration for whether there would be a commercial market for such a book.

The response to “Man Stuff” has been profoundly humbling. From Explorers, parents, friends, and family, the outpouring of encouragement, appreciation, and book sales have been unexpectedly gratifying. The resonance extended far beyond expectations, with Amazon sales reflecting a continued demand.

Feedback from the first book has been heartening. Young men have found practical value, utilizing it as a resource in various situations. Parents have embraced it as a catalyst for meaningful conversations, while grandparents have appreciated it as a source of shared values. The enduring appeal of traditional ideas in a rapidly evolving world is reassuring.

One of the most frequent questions I’ve had is “why did you call it Man Stuff? All of the information is pertinent to young ladies as well.” I agree with that. Despite having two daughters, I feel confident in this presentation to young men. (But I still encourage you to buy a copy of the book for that 10-20 year old young lady you care about!)

In the preface of the inaugural volume, I hinted at the possibility of more to come. Well, here it is. I decided More Man Stuff was a better title than Man Stuff 2.0, otherwise, this book is the compilation that was foreshadowed!

So why another Man Stuff book? Quite simply, there are just additional topics left to cover. The topics in More Man Stuff: More Things a Young Man Needs to Know are no less or more important than those in the first book. The topics in the first book were easiest to write about and so they ended up in the first book. Some discussions in this volume are more intricate, leading to longer chapters, as complexity demands more detailed exploration.

Some of my critics have suggested that these topics are common sense. To them I respond “Yup, if you’re lucky.” Others suggest the book is too simple. It’s written for young men - emphasis on young. Perhaps those critics can use it as a conversation starter and fill in where the book comes up short.

If this book can help one young man navigate the rough seas of adolescence, it’s been worth the effort.

Doug Knust

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