A couple of situations this past week have caused me to pull up some old notes from my first Men’s Fraternity session – The Quest for Authentic Manhood. Chapter 22 is called Fathers and Sons. In this chapter, Robert Lewis says that “dad is destiny”. In other words, Dad is a powerful force in the life of his son, and the son’s destiny has a lot to do with how strategic his dad is at teaching him about manhood. Proverbs 17:6 says, “The glory of sons is their fathers.” Just think about all of the “my dad is bigger than your dad; well my dad can beat up your dad; well, my dad is a _______; SO, my dad is a ___________… conversations that take place on any given day. Boys idolize their fathers. We dads get undeserved worship from our sons. They want to be like us!!! Because of this, we dads can make or break our sons (or daughters for that matter). Both Robert Lewis and John Eldredge talk about the “father wound.” We all have one because no dad is perfect. However, some wounds are much deeper and debilitating than others. We need to speak life into our sons. Eldredge says, in his book, Wild at Heart that every man has a deep, haunting question within, “Am I a man? Do I have what it takes?” This question really needs to be answered by his father. However, with so many absent fathers in our country, we have many confused, angry, hurting men who never had the question answered. They are trying to get their validation from other sources, without success. Lewis says that every boy needs to hear three things from his dad: 1) Son, I love you. 2) Son, I’m proud of you. 3) Son, you’re good at _________________. Just listen to the words of God regarding His Son in Mark 9:7, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!” Wow, now that is the kind of validation that a son needs from his father!
Now, I’m going to give you two scenarios that I have seen over the past week that give you pictures from opposite ends of the spectrum. As you may have read in my post “The Rally,” we have a little boy with Down’s Syndrome playing on our softball team. He comes to every practice and plays in every game. He usually hits the ball without the help of the tee (after five pitches from the coach, the child can hit off the tee), and runs with all his might to first base. He does well at stopping the ball when it comes to him. I only know this family through softball, so I’m not going to make up some grandiose story, though I suspect there is a wonderful story behind this family. All I know is that his family hasn’t given up on him. They haven’t given him the “well, I have a disability” crutch. I’m guessing his dad has worked with him in playing softball and has encouraged him to try new things and not quit. I have seen how his brother and sister adore him and encourage him. Again, I don’t know the history of the “tree”, but I see the bounty of “fruit” that has come from the “tree”. I see the results of a family who has worked “against the odds” to make sure this child has every opportunity to be all God has created him to be. I can’t tell you how much good it does my heart to be around this little guy!
Then, there’s scenario #2. Recently, my wife was watching a group of children at our church. One of the little boys has an anger issue, and often gets rough with the other kids around him. My wife was trying to be positive and told the others that he was just having a “moment” and was going to settle down and be kind. After a few more exchanges, the truth came out. I believe it is at the heart of his anger issue. I don’t remember what prompted it, but he said, “I’m not smart.” When my wife tried to tell him that he was smart, he said, “No, I’m not smart because my dad tells me that I’m not smart.” I thought my wife’s blood was going to boil. She is a very calm and even tempered person. In fact, I rarely see her upset. This time, however, she was angry. The more I think about it, it breaks my heart to hear this. Unless something drastic happens, this boy is going to be deeply wounded by his father. I feel like I need to do something about this, but need to pray for direction.
Dads, we help set our child’s destiny. A boy who knows he is loved by his dad, who knows his dad is proud of him, and is told that he is good at something will have a healthy confidence going into life. A boy whose dad has not spoken these truths into his life will be confused and angry. Confused men cause major problems. Just look around. A vast majority of men sitting in prison didn’t have good relationships with their fathers.
We has dads must realize the power that has been given to us. We may not feel equipped to use it, but it’s there and it’s real. It can be a powerful tool in advancing the Kingdom of God if we will use it wisely.
May God grant you the strength to speak truth and life into your children today!