Experience has shown us that the men who are happiest and most content in their masculine role today are those whose fathers invested time and energy in their lives. These dads may have worked outside the home, as the vast majority of fathers in our society today do. But their priorities were in the right place. They were committed in principle, and found concrete ways to maintain a positive, nurturing relationship with their sons. These fathers helped their sons discern and nurture their individual talents, and supported them in their chosen careers. They identified their sons’ strengths and weaknesses and addressed them accordingly. They attempted to understand their sons’ unique ambitions, and appreciated their achievements. In short, these fathers helped their sons become men. And as a result of their investments, their sons are among the most well-adjusted and peaceful husbands and fathers in our society.
However, men with these kinds of dads are in the minority today. Most men are struggling to recover from relationships with fathers who failed to nurture, affirm, and validate them at the most fundamental level. Their fathers have left these men a legacy of pain, confusion, frustration, anxiety, bitterness, fear, and anger. These adult sons are often the angry men of our society.
Friend, which description best fits your situation? Are you reaping the benefits of a committed, invested father, or struggling to overcome a sonship that has left you a wounded and angry man? If it’s the latter, won’t you take steps to get some help?
Only a hundred years ago, the majority of American boys worked with their fathers from a very young age. They’d spend hours each day together, and in the process, be trained and ushered into manhood by him. Dad would teach his boys about weather, agriculture, and commerce as they worked the land together. He’d use farm animals to teach them about life, growth, and death’including the details of sex, reproduction, birth and infant care. And because dad usually worked at or very near home, his sons would get ample opportunity to learn from him how to be a husband and father. Dad would be the boys’ primary mentor, guide, counselor, and friend. And when they grew into young men, he’d accept them as partners in the family business.
Now fast-forward a century. Most fathers leave home early each morning and don’t return until six or seven at night. If young boys spend any significant time with a parent at all, it’s usually with mom, not dad. Apart from school, most of what today’s young boys learn about life, work, and people comes from her instruction and example or from the schools and his peers. As a result, boys are substantially deprived of fatherly instruction, guidance, counsel, and friendship. They’ll soon grow to be men, but their limited interaction with dad provides them little understanding of what it actually means to be a man.
Therefore, I encourage you to counter this trend by doing everything in your power to actively father your son!
When Jesus walked the earth, He directed the focus off of the apparently ‘good’ people doing apparently ‘good’ things,’ and redirected people’s focus on to God. The religious leaders were pointing to the rules; Jesus pointed to Himself, through whom relationships are restored to God.
A healthy, growing faith is always focused on the person of God Himself, not on cheap substitutes. A healthy faith begins and ends in God, not in rules, regulations, and sheer duty. Jesus Christ, not religion, is at the core of a robust Christian faith.
Today Jesus Christ offers men like you and me the same opportunity He gave to those people in the early church. The choice is ours. We can insist on performing and conforming out of obligation and can try to feel good by chalking up good deeds.
Or we can choose Christ’s way. We can love God with all our heart, mind, and soul. We can experience His love and come to know Him intimately. We can stop hiding behind religious facades and meet Him right where we are. We can focus on Him and find sanity, rest, and peace when all hell seems to be breaking loose around us.
Men, it’s not about you. Surrender yourself to Christ’s love and acceptance. Grow closer to Him. Make Him’not your ‘good deeds’ or anyone or anything else’the focus of your life. You’ll never regret it.