You go first, dad!

Excerpted from the book Preparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle by Steve Arterburn

Your son is becoming a young man, and he aches for you to count him as one. But, there are natural obstacles, and it’s unlikely that he’ll bring up ‘the’ question himself. We must make it easy for our sons to share, and there is only one way to ensure that. We must go first. We must be the ones to initiate the conversation.

Thankfully, swapping stories is right up our alley, and it shouldn’t be scary in the least. In light of this, our call to teach our children isn’t really something to fear anymore either:

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hand and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19)

I used to wonder how I could accomplish all this. Like most families, my kids and I lead busy lives, and we don’t sit around home, nor do we walk or work together very much. Our culture is vastly different from that of the Hebrews. And that’s perfectly fine. God understands the fast-paced society we live in, but He still wants us to teach our kids how we apply Scripture to our day-to-day lives. Since our kids aren’t with us much during the day to see how we apply Scripture, filling this call won’t look the same today as it did back then.

Therefore, we need to do the next best thing…we need to tell them what happened during our day and our weeks and our years.

To go deep with our sons, we need to do two things.

  • Spend time talking with them.
  • Be open and transparently share our lives and our walk with God.

Life’s hectic. Obstacles keep popping up like gopher heads in those arcade games. More often than not, we’ll beat those gopher heads down in the areas where it really counts.

Fortunately, we men have a secret weapon, a special category male communication that connects us every time it’s tried’ we can swap stories, tell tales, and regale listeners. Storytelling is right up our alley, and nobody does it better.

Do you swap stories with your son? How many of your stories could help your son if you took a chance and shared them? You shouldn’t just wait for such moments to arise. So what can you do to trigger the process? Spend the last moments of your kids’ day with them, talking with them in their bedrooms before they go to sleep. Read a book with them. Often the author’s stories will trigger memories of your own stories, providing a push to dive into deeper waters.

Regardless of how old your son is, it’s not too late. Your son still longs for a relationship with you. We all need that connection with our fathers and will seek it to the very end if given half a chance.

Two or three nights a week read six to eight pages of a book in silence separately in a room that can be considered your place. Of course the book is not the end game here; while your reading, you’re also looking for opportunities to talk later on, ask leading questions, and regale your son with stories. Underline thoughts that you want to come back to. Sitting across from one another will provide good eye contact and encourage honest sharing. Talk about girls, peer pressure, temptation, bullies, whatever’s on your mind and seems to flow naturally.

How do I choose which books to go through? Whatever makes sense at the time! Choosing the right book is part of being proactive and intentional. I always begin with a broad-based book on puberty and adolescence, such as Preparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle. Such books are foundational to everything that comes later in building your ‘swapping place’ with your kids. Believe me, after you’ve given them a taste for what the teen years will be like and shared your experiences from the past, you and your children will be tighter than you have ever been.

For some help on ‘swapping stories’ and connecting with your son read Preparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle.

Every Man’s Battle Weekend Reviews

Every Man’s Battle Weekend Review
By Justin

At the beginning of the weekend I felt nervous and apprehensive. I was excited to learn the tools that would solve my problem.

What I learned was that the perfect tool was inside me all along – Jesus Christ. I just needed to use it to reach into the root cause of my sexual sin. When I left on Sunday, I can happily say that I felt closer to God than I have in a very long time. I have made true friends and feel more in love with my wife. I am ready to make this work and would recommend this weekend to anyone.

Every Man’s Battle Weekend Review
By David

My sexual sin had grown and progressed so such a degree that it destroyed my career and threatened to destroy my marriage. My thoughts and even my prayers were muddled and clouded by the enemy so much so that I couldn’t even recognize the lies that were guiding my life.

God used men who knew Christ and who had been through similar struggles to show me the hope of God’s redemptive plan for me.

After five years of “clean and sober” time from drugs and alcohol I am now coming to terms with how my lack of sexual integrity had hijacked my relationship with God and others. Struggling alone I could not stand and find victory in my walk.

I am no longer alone! This weekend Intensive restored my awareness of God’s amazing grace. It has given me a restored faith that God has much much more planned for my life than I could ever find on my own.

With the community of others helping me, I am ready now to let go of my old pursuits which were cheap substitutes for God.

I have made a new goal – to be the man God created me to be…a lover of God and other people with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength. An intimate walk with God along side the allies I have found at Every Man’s Battle is now my focus.

Thank you to Jason -the main speaker- you gave me courage because I identified with so much of your personal story – thank you for genuinely caring and seeking to be used by God.

Every Man’s Battle Weekend Review
By Warren

The Every Man’s Battle Weekend Workshop is an awesome and life changing experience.

The ability to be made so comfortable with the establishment of the “No Shame Zone” makes for a very helpful and safe environment in which I was more than willing to share. To be instructed by people who had overcome the same issues that I am currently dealing with is an added plus.

The closeness of the bond that I felt within the breakout sections aided in helping me to share. Just knowing that everyone was dealing with some variation of the same issue helped me to not feel abnormal or like some sort of cast off.

God used this conference and these leaders to help me see my individual problem and to plot out the necessary course of action – though hard it will be. He also used this conference to break me and do something I have not done since 1979 and that was cry. The overwhelming hurt I felt when I was made to realize what I have put my wife through – and the awesome symbolism displayed as we placed the blood of Jesus (paint) over our placecards to cover our sins, hurts and pains – took me over the top. I praise God for these men and the work they put into this, to help us all.

My hope and prayers are not just for me but for each and every one of my brothers in Christ and for those who have not accepted Him as their savior. May we have the victory – though the power of Jesus – and may we continue to follow it through the years to come.

For more information call 1-800-639-5433 or visit http://everymansbattle.com

Jehoshaphat

Steve Arterburn

Although men tend to feel as if they can save themselves, there are times when it’s very clear that we cannot.  These times often come when you’re facing overwhelming pressures with your wife or kids, your job, or your finances.  So what is a man to do?  

Let’s consider a man who went before you and I: King Jehoshaphat.  Jehoshaphat was once under attack by three armies.  Do you ever feel like you’re being attacked from all sides?  You may be tempted to give in and surrender or to muster every human resource you can find.  Neither of these reactions, however, is pleasing to God.  Instead, God desires to use these situations to remind you that you are sustained not by your own cleverness but by his power.  You are delivered not by your ability but by his mercy.  

King Jehoshaphat understood this truth.  His reaction to the threatening armies was to call everyone in Judah to fast.  Instead of merely calling his people to military exercises and preparation, King Jehoshaphat called them to spiritual exercises.  Instead of fattening their bodies, he called them to nourish their souls.  Instead of looking to their own defenses, he called them to trust in God’s protection.

Because we must have food to live, physical hunger is one of the most powerful drives of life.  When you fast, however, you begin to realize that all the food in the world can never satisfy the hunger of your soul.  Only God himself can satisfy this longing.