A Framework for Sons
We went shooting this morning. Along with us we took several young men who had never fired a weapon before. Before long they had graduated from .22 rifles to AR-15's, a .308 sniper rifle, a .45 pistol and a Glock in .40S&W. A good time -- and a safe one -- was had by all. My memory of the day is colored most by the behavior of my son as he gently and patiently taught each boy, helped them handle the many new skills they were learning, and how he never flinched when something went "boom!" I was proud of him.
Only yesterday we had reviewed the framework on which we have built our lives. I'll borrow terms from Brad Miner and briefly describe them for those who you who have young sons and who are looking for a template to use that is flexible enough for boys of all personalities and abilities yet rigid enough to create a man of honor and courage.
All men are to be made up of three parts. While we may excel in one and struggle in another, all three must be present. Those who check each part each day will remain true to themselves and to the Lord who made them.
WARRIOR -- Not all men will learn how to fight, nor will all men want to fire a gun or jump out of the back of C-130. That's fine. However, every man must understand that he was placed here by God to provide for his family and to be a place of safety for them and for anyone in his sphere of influence. He might wage war in the courtroom, or with a pencil as a developer of programs that help people out of poverty. He might wage war with a tongue depressor and a stethoscope, or with a sermon designed to help people defeat the evil one. And he might put on a uniform -- military or police -- and actively place himself in harm's way so that others might live. But all men are called to step up and serve as God's man. When you enter a room, the people in it may relax for you are there. They know you will treat them with respect, dignity, and love. Not only will you not mistreat them, you will allow no one else to do so, either.
LOVER -- All men must learn how to be kind and friendly to women in a non-sexual way; viewing them as persons and not prey. No man misuses a woman's body for his own desires; animals do that, but not men. Men take time to listen to children, to comfort someone who is crying, and to serve those around him. He loves his friends, his family, his God, and the strangers he meets on the streets or in the mall. What he does, he does for love. When he makes a covenant with a woman to be her husband, he dedicates himself to learning about her so that he might be her lover for life, saving himself only for her regardless of any changes in her body, mind, or health. He is not afraid to buy a valentine, to show up with flowers, to tackle laundry or cleaning when it means the woman he loves is given a time of rest and joy.
MONK -- Every true man must spend time alone with his God. He must be a man of prayer, of study, and of personal discipline before the Father. He is a wandering friar, a religious brother, a reflection of faith to anyone placed in his path by Providence. He wears no religious habit, but he is a man of religious habits. He enters each place with a prayer asking God to reveal His will and to bring to him anyone who might need a word from Jesus.
Dads, model these for your sons -- even when they are infants. When they are older, make a covenant with your son so that you can both hold each other accountable to these things. It makes a huge difference in the way you live your own life and in the way he learns to live his.