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.

Students Of God’s Word

Steve Arterburn

When looking for ways to serve our wives, many of us would rather lay tile, or fertilize the lawn, than lead her spiritually. Why is that? Simple. We like to function within areas where we’re competent and comfortable. Unfortunately, providing spiritual leadership often isn’t one of those areas. Yet the fact remains: providing spiritual leadership is a vital aspect of our calling as husbands.

 

So where do you begin? How about developing a deeper understanding of God’s word. Men, as you become committed and competent students of Scripture, it’ll help establish two important things in your wife’s heart’both of which are crucial for your effective leadership.

 

First, your knowledge of Scripture will create a sense of security in your wife’s heart. She’ll be able to live in peace knowing you have the ability to bring the light of Scripture to bear upon those areas of life that are confusing, difficult, and scary.

 

Second, your understanding God’s word will raise your wife’s level of respect for you. As you wrestle with scripture, and demonstrate your commitment to bring God’s truth to bear upon the life of your family, your wife will have reason to respect and rest in your leadership. She’ll know she can trust you to do the best possible thing for her and your children.

 

Men, resources abound to help in this endeavor. Your pastor and local Christian bookstore will get you started, and Bible study groups can help you persevere.

Submitting To Scripture

Steve Arterburn

Men, no one in your home should be better and quicker at submitting to what Scripture teaches than you. In a recent marriage class several women were asked, ‘What’s the one thing that impresses you most about your husband?’ One woman responded, ‘[My husband] is much quicker to submit to the teaching of Scripture than I am. He’s quick to fix anything in his life that he feels doesn’t line up with Scripture. He has always been submissive to God’s ways, and this makes me trust him and feel one with him.’

This woman’s husband leads by example. What could possibly be more fitting or effective? And did you pick up on the security this woman feels because her husband is receptive and responsive to God’s word? Guys, this woman’s not the exception; she’s the norm. When you submit to Scripture, it fortifies your wife’s trust and respect for you. And note the irony here: even though Scripture exposes your flaws, your wife’s trust and respect grows’as does her willingness to give you the benefit of the doubt when needed. So long, that is, as you’re submitting to God.

On the other hand, your failure to submit to Scripture invites disorder, confusion, and fear into your home. It puts a formidable stumbling block in your pathway to oneness’not only with your wife, but with all members of your family. To put is plainly, men, God is not pleased with spiritual leaders who harbor sin.