3 things my sons need to hear

3 things.001

We have 3 boys and my middle one, Harrison, turned 4 recently. He is so excitable, energetic, fun, cranky, deliberate and fearless. When I think about what his future holds I’m filled with excitement, speculation, hope, expectation and also some trepidation. I’m scared he’ll end up struggling with the same junk I have. I’m fearful he’ll be unfaithful to his wife, assuming he marries. I’m even more concerned over the self-hate he might have to deal with from the shame of his behavior. So, along with my other 2 boys, I have begun the process of (hopefully) preparing him for the road ahead. Specifically, I’m trying to prepare him to not need porn, sex, etc. as a way to cope with life. Here’s how I’m approaching it…

The issue with using our sexuality sinfully is not a problem with sex. It is not about sex. It’s about what sex (and sexual things from lust and fantasy in the mind to the act itself) does to us emotionally. I ended up using my sexuality as a mood-altering drug, and further, as a way of coping with insignificance, inadequacy and a sense powerlessness. If I want my boys to avoid getting tangled up in the web of misusing their sexuality, I need to first address these underlying issues. Since I can’t reason with my 4 year old, and his understanding of himself is in part formed by the feedback he receives from me, I’ve decided to tell him what he needs to know about himself. The hope is that my words (reinforced by my actions towards him, of course) will sink into the deepest recesses of his heart and soul. My words to him are setting the model for God’s words to him. In all likelihood some concept of who and how God is will be predicated on how he experiences me. So I want to be incredibly intentional about what he hears.

Since being born, almost every night (I’ve missed a few here and there) I tell him (and my other boys) these 3 things:

1)   I AM PROUD OF YOU. Just because you’re you. Just because you’re my son. Not because of anything you say or do, but just because you’re you.

2)   I LOVE YOU TO THE MAX! Nothing you could ever do or say would make me love you any less, and nothing could ever make me love you any more. I love you to the max.

3)   I BELIVE IN YOU. And I know you have what it takes to make it as a big boy.

What message does your child need to hear from you? Remember, its never too late to tell them!

Faulty Core Beliefs

Every month at EMB we talk about faulty core beliefs. These include beliefs about ourselves such as “I’m a monster”, “I’m unlovable”, “I’m unforgivable” and “I’m worthless” to name a few. We also have faulty core beliefs about our needs and the ability and/or willingness of the people near us to meet them.

This past weekend at the workshop, while having a dialogue with the attendees about intimacy aversion, someone said, “I’ve convinced myself I am the only one who can or will meet my needs.” Guess who that automatically sidelines….

  • His wife
  • His God
  • Other healthy, safe men
  • His kids
  • His parents

Unfortunately, he expressed a core belief that most men with sexual integrity issues have. Whilst the belief is present, people (wives, friends, pastors) try desperately to get inside the walls around the guy’s heart only to be catapulted back over when real or perceived rejection is a risk. It is INCREDIBLY frustrating to wives. They get tired of being catapulted.

For me, the only way this belief was dismantled and eventually jettisoned was to begin allowing guys in. I couldn’t even let Shelley in at first. It was only a few safe men I was willing to trust. And I was skeptical and resistant even to that. But with time, I realized and experienced those guys meeting my needs. Not ultimately and with finality, but in those dire moments, they were there.

Sometimes the need was simply for perspective, that it wasn’t all lost. Sometimes it was reassurance that I wasn’t a monster, but instead a broken man. Often it was a simple reminder that God hadn’t given up on me. Every once in a while it was a hug.

If this describes you, perhaps its time to let some people in. Not another image. Not another mistress. Not another prostitute. Some people who will hate what you’re doing and love you along the way.

By the way, that’s one of the great privileges of being a part of the Every Mans Battle weekend. For a few, brave men, they will allow us (staff) access to their hearts. We can be a conduit of God, meeting their needs for the moment.

In a couple days I’ll post about another, even more detrimental faulty core belief. Stay tuned…