How do we raise our boys to be men? It’s probably the toughest task of our life, but will also be the most rewarding. I know this, we can’t do it alone. Number one, our boys will need other positive men in their life besides us. They need to hear affirmations and guidance from other positive Christian men other than their fathers who are “supposed” to say these things. And number two, we all need direction and wisdom from God. You know if we try to say something without first surrendering to Him, it just ain’t going to come out the same.
You need to hear this story from my good friend Joe. Joe is on fire for Christ and on this amazing journey of following when called. How many times have you walked into church on Sunday morning, or into a social gathering or event, or somehow into the presence of others and you had to put your game face on after just being in a tussle with your spouse or kids? You don’t know how many times I had to give a speech to hundreds of people and just minutes earlier I was in an argument with my wife over something silly. It’s real though and it happens to all of us.
When Joe walked into our gym’s Ninja Club on Wednesday night with his family, I could see something was weighing heavy on his heart. After briefly talking about it, he shared with me how his son was upset about a decision Joe and his wife made about not hanging around a certain friend of bad influence. You can tell they were both a little bit fried.
Later that night, the story unfolds, and here’s what happened…..
[In Joe’s Words, with permission]
“It’s pretty amazing how God works. Obviously you could tell I was a little distracted last night. Being a Dad is the greatest gift/responsibility God has given us. From one Dad to another, and men seeking their faith, I thought I’d share this with you. We had a pretty cool father son moment last night. One of those moments when you can see the light bulb click.
Michael has been giving us a run for our money lately. He’s a great kid but stubborn as a mule (just like his parents). Lately I’ve been questioning my ability as a dad. I feel like I have no patience and I’m too quick to get on the kid and yell. It’s not who I want to be, but damn, kid can push my last nerve. (They all can lol). It’s seems like 10 is the age to talk back, push the boundaries and really challenge mom and dad’s authority. I get it. I was the same way. All of his friends are the same way. It’s a pattern. And the challenge is how do you change it and raise them right?
I want to raise him to be a good Christian man. To put God’s calling before all else and to truly follow the teachings of Jesus. I have to admit it’s not easy for kids these days. They are constantly bombarded by the world. Influenced and told to want more, to “get yours”, to be boastful and be the center of the universe.
So every day we have to reprogram them to understand how Jesus calls us to live. To be humble, thoughtful, caring, and to put others needs before your own. Not easy for a 10yr old to grasp.
Last night I prayed, and prayed, and prayed to God. Please Jesus, just guide my words when I talk to him. Show me how to raise my boy, how to guide your son to be the man “YOU” want him to be.
I sat with Michael last night and I simply asked him. “Michael, what do you think it means to be a man?”
He said “to be kind, not to hit women, to go to church and be charitable sometimes.”
Not a bad start I thought. (Maybe he really does listen to us lol)
So I asked him.
“What does it mean to be a “good” man?”
He thought for a minute and repeated the same stuff, and added to “work hard and treat people right”.
“You are right about all that stuff. But it’s more than that. It’s doing the little things right. Even when nobody is watching. It’s being respectful, even to those people you might not want to be respectful or kind to. It’s being a gentleman. It’s loving people and truly following what God is asking us to do”
He simply agreed. And I asked.
“Do you think you have been a good man lately”
He got a little upset and said no.
I hugged him and told him that he is the only one that can change that.
That he might feel like I’m yelling at him and on him all the time. But I wanted him to understand I do that for a reason. It’s my job to raise him to be a “good man”and I was the same way at his age.
I told him that I see greatness in him and that I know what a good man he is. But I need to see more than just flashes of it. He needs to truly live it. That God has big plans for him. That it won’t be easy and he is going to have to work at it.
I said believe it or not the times that I am yelling at him is when I love him the most. Because being a dad is hard and I don’t want to yell but I love him to much not to help him find that greatness inside of him. And if I didn’t hold him accountable I wasn’t doing my job as a dad. I explained there is nothing more important to me in the world than being “his” dad and I love him more than he will ever know and I believed in him.
I wish I had a picture of his smile when we were done talking. Priceless.
I wanted to share that not because I think I’ve got it all figured out. It’s quite the opposite. As a dad I screw up more times then I get it right. It’s he hardest task God has given us, to raise them right.
I’m learning when I surrender it to him, when I ask God what he wants me to do, then it all seems to work out. It’s a hard balancing act to guide our kids and give them freedom to live their lives and be themselves. The key, is to never give up. To constantly stay connected with them and lean on God to guide us right so we can guide them. To constantly tell them we love them no matter what.
As Dads If we can do that, then hopefully they will come to know him and be good men. Keep doing what you are doing Theo.
All the Glory to God. The ultimate “good man”.