Are We Men?
Several posts ago I mentioned that I signed out my son from school and put "want to" under "reason." More than one commented that they wished they could do that. Can't you? And what is stopping you? We are the fathers of our sons and daughters. We are the protectors, the ones who take the risks, and the ones who stride forward to clear the path for our children. Here's an example.
I wasn't a perfect student, but I was fairly well behaved. One day, back in the time of teachers wielding paddles, I was accused by a teacher of doing something and sent out to the hallway. Everyone knew what was going to happen next. A moment later, he appeared and ordered me against the wall to take my punishment. "No, sir," I told him and stood my ground. He went through various threats for the next three or twenty minutes but I wouldn't budge. He then threatened to send me to the vice principal's office. The vice principal??? Nobody wanted to go there. Nobody had actually seen him but it was rumored that he had an electric paddle with holes in it and you could sometimes smell sulphur and see flashes of light under his door. "Then I'll go to the vice principal's office," I said, my voice breaking, but not my nerve.
Surprised that he wasn't actually a gargoyle, I nevertheless failed to enjoy my meeting with the VP. He threatened and growled at me for some time before pulling out his trump card: "Do you want me to call your father?" I didn't exactly smile but I sat up a little straighter and said, "That would be a good idea." He called my father and we waited. I think the VP was trying to glare me to death but I survived. After some time my father entered the room. My father is now 74 years old and I don't believe he has ever used a doorknob. BOOM! The door crashed open. Ignoring the VP he turned to me and pointe his finger right at my face. "Did you do it?" I replied, "No, sir." He wheeled on the VP, finger leading the way, and said, "You will not touch my son." The VP swallowed and said, "No, sir."
I agree with most of John Eldredge's "Wild at Heart" but I much prefer Brad Miner's book "The Compleat Gentleman." I use it extensively in men's retreats when I tell my brothers that we are to be warriors, lovers, and monks. Warriors in that we are the ones who make sure justice is done, women are protected, the weak are safe. Some of us will use muscle, others the gun and uniform, and others will use law and the pen, but we MUST be warriors for we are men. The second part, lovers, is because we must value all we meet. We must love fiercely, but non-sexually, those women, girls, and boys we meet. We must love them far too much to lust after them, to misuse them, or to allow their misuse by others. We do not have to eat, sleep, or have anything comfortable in our lives, but we MUST love them. (that is why I recently left my last ten dollars on the pillow at my hotel for the maids, even though I wasn't sure how I was going to eat that long day before my evening flight home. I don't have to eat, but I do have to take care of everyone in my path)
We are also to be monks -- those who are comfortable alone with God for they habitually seek that quiet time with the Father of all. That gives us the strength to do what we must do: be men of God.
I'll do more of the rules I use for Duncan later, but now you see them in context. Briefly, I will show you how this blessed me with my daughter. Daughters don't need as many rules, but they need many more discussions and lots of listening time. When my daughter was born, I cried for I knew that I would only have her for a little time. I promised God I would make it count. I took her out of school for daddy-daughter days. I gave up extra work and money so that I could be the one who helped her with homework or helped her shop. When she had her first period, I was the one who hugged her and told her how wonderful this way. I was the one who then took her to the mall for her to buy the prettiest dress she should find and then I was the one who took her to her favorite restaurant and made the day a party, a celebration of her growing up.
One day, it all came back a hundredfold. I was wondering aloud to her why she didn't accept offers to date from some nice Christian boys. She was seventeen or so, beautiful, very well liked... but she had never, ever dated even though I knew some of the good lads at church had asked. She looked at me and said, "Daddy, I am so loved here, I'm not in a big hurry to leave. Our house is a happy place and it is going to take someone special to get me out of here!"
Last June, I handed over my princess to that "someone special" and he, indeed, treasures her daily. My little princess is now married to a fellow minister... but she still calls her daddy every day "just because."
Warrior, lover, monk. It matters.