Men, I want to share just five simple thoughts about families with you. Please listen to them closely. Let them be food for your thought, reflection, and prayer as you go about your business today.
1) Families form people.
2) The most crucially formative relationship for a man is his relationship with his father.
3) A man will spend decades of his life trying to compensate for gaps in his relationship with his dad. And until genuine healing occurs, these attempts to compensate will only draw him into destructive lifestyles, habits, addictions, and relationships.
4) Every man must face and deal directly with the wounds that prevent his progress.
5) Every man courageous enough to let God touch these so-called ‘father wounds’ can find healing and renewal.
Men, our heavenly Father will get to the root causes of our thoughts and actions if we’ll only stop running, stop compensating, and open ourselves in trust to Him to do so. His penetrating gaze can search even the most painful areas of our lives; His gracious touch is what we need in order to heal’there are simply no substitutes; and that touch will leave us as men who intimately know what redemption means’men who are prepared to be ‘wounded healers’ in the lives of others.
Think about these. Pray about them. Taste of the Lord and see that He is good.
How can men begin breaking through the masculine myth of ‘you-are-what-you-do’ and see that their true identity is in Jesus Christ. Once you grasp that, you can begin relating to other people, especially other men, apart from what they do. We must open up our schedules, set aside our Day-Timers, and get to the business of allowing our identity in Christ to liberate and transform our human relationships.
A friend named Nathan meets each week with a group of four other men to do what men rarely do. They purposely avoid talking about what they do in order to talk about who they are and how they feel. They’re learning to peel away the layers of ingrained masculine facade; to give and receive the nurture, affirmation, and encouragement they desperately need but are often too ‘manly’ to seek.
Recently Nathan shared a painful issue with his friends. His father lays dying in a nursing home. He’s incapacitated. His mind is totally gone. Nathan visits him, and helps dress and care for him. What he wants more than anything is to hear these words from his father before he dies: ‘Nathan, you’re a good son.’ But he knows he never will.
Nathan’s friends let him share these painful and vulnerable feelings, and offer consolation and encouragement as he deals with his pain and loss. There aren’t many men who function together as these five do. But that can change. And perhaps you’ll be part of that change.
– Steve Arterburn
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!