Advice to young fathers: Thoughts on the book Fathered by God.
Jesus, you remember, got this significant affirmation TWICE from His Father — when the skies were opened and a MALE voice shouted for all to hear:
And behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Mtt 3:17)
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Mtt 17:3)
For God to speak to anyone within earshot this short proclamation about His Son is a powerful example of what we need to keep foremost in mind as we raise our young boys.
Here is an excerpt from John’s book that speaks to this point:
“Boyhood is a time of exploration and wonder, and to be a boy is to be an explorer… When God set Adam in the Garden of Eden, He set His son in a world that was, at the very same moment, safe and secure yet full of mystery and adventure. There was no reason whatsoever to be afraid, and every reason to dare… Evil is — for now — held at bay. Such is the world God intended for the boy… for this is the time in life when we were meant to come into the knowledge that we are the Beloved Son, the apple of our father’s eye.”
The tragedy, that is all too real in our society, is that the boy (ages 6-12) doesn’t hear the voice of affirmation CLEARLY from his father during this critical stage of life. The father himself may have never heard the voice in his own childhood! Therefore, the boy enters into the next stage, what Eldredge calls the “cowboy stage”, trying to prove his “belovedness” by his actions.
Tragically, it is at this very cowboy stage (ages 13-25) that our young boys start to “take to the road” by themselves to experience that they “know they have what it tales to be a man”. During those cowboy years they need to experience falling off the horse and getting back on again, while parents are nearby to help them interpret their experiences.
Yet if your son is still searching for “the voice” from his father, the message that he is your uniquely prized and adored son, he will stumble into the cowboy years of “taking to the road” without any life compass!
Here again we return to Fathered by God:
“Without this bedrock of affirmation, this core of assurance, a man will move unsteadily through the rest of his life, trying to prove his worth and earn belovedness through performance or achievement, through sex, or in a thousand other ways. Quite often he doesn’t know this is his search. He simply finds himself uncertain in some core place inside, ruled by fears and the opinions of others, yearning for someone to notice him. He longs for comfort, and it makes him uneasy because at 37 or 51 shouldn’t he be beyond that now? A young place in his heart is yearning for something never received.”
Yours for the Coming King,