by Pastor Roger Thompson
How does a boy become a man? A Masai adolescent goes out and kills a lion with a spear. A Jewish young man goes through a Bar Mitzvah.
But how does a modern, suburban, texting teenager become equipped to be a man?
Answer: the same way Jesus did. It’s a process described in Luke 2:52: And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. He grew up in a context and a process that ushered him into his full manhood.
How can that same process happen for our sons and grandsons? There are four deep longings that every boy is seeking that you, Dad, can help answer:
Every boy grows toward manhood when:
- He is invited along on an adventure. Every boy wants to be included, and hates to be left unchosen, or abandoned. You are his first adventure. He wants to be with you. Ephesians 5:1 invites all of us to “start full” every day on the Father’s love. You can banish your son’s fear that he’s not wanted, or loved, by choosing to include him in your life by deliberate invitation and planning.
- He is let in on a secret. We’re not talking about dark and obscure mysteries here. We’re talking about life skills. Every boy wants to be shown how to do practical things: change a tire, throw a ball, ride a bike, hammer a nail, handle a conflict. Every boy learns best when a man shows him: “This is how I do it.” It’s the pattern of discipleship between Paul and Timothy, who had a father-son relationship. (2 Timothy 3:10-12) Paul said “imitate me.”
- He is counted on for his competence. Every boy wants to measure up, and hates to feel dumb or inadequate. This is why coaches are often so important in a boy’s maturation process. Coaches teach us how to be competent in a skill. And, there comes a time when a Dad says to his son: “I know you can do this. I’m counting on you.” A boy feels a burst of future manhood rushing through his mind and muscles! Positive expectations help grow a boy into a man. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
- He is thrust out into his own challenge. Psalm 127 says that children are “arrows in the hands of a warrior.” They are an offensive weapon to go away from us and do things in places and times we will not inhabit. A boy needs to hear “I’m proud of you,” as he takes on an assignment that his Dad can’t really help him fulfill. Jesus said to his disciples: “I am sending you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) A Dad raises a son so that he can release him to his own life’s challenges.