Some friends and I were sitting around talking about being fathers and about what our kids need from us recently. Fatherhood is a huge task that my friends and I do not want to screw up. It seems to be a pretty high stakes game. We started thinking about verses from Scripture that we could hold as a kind of motto for fathering. Here are the two that I came up with...
1 Corinthians 11:1- Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
I want to lead by example and I want my kids to know I am doing my best to walk with God and follow His will for my life. I want to lead them to the perfect Father by trying to imitate the perfect Father.
1 Peter 4:8- Above all love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.
I'm banking on this one because I often fall short on the first one! You see, it is a high stakes game and it feels so HUGE.....but when you break it down it is not really that difficult. I mean it is not rocket science. It is leading, and loving. That is what our kids need from us. And yes, it requires a great deal of time. You cannot lead or love effectively if there are not large doses of time spent together.
And so I started thinking about the programs for Faith in the Field that we will be rolling out in the next couple of months. We are really excited about this and feel like God's hand has been on this project from the beginning. The amount of warfare we have had to fight to get this going alone, is proof of how powerful it is going to be.
For now we have written a program for boys where their father, or for a fatherless boy a mentor, can take them through a 12 lesson, year long adventure. (Father daughter progam is still in the works) The lessons are based on scripture and aimed at teaching the qualities or traits of a man. Traits like bravery, wisdom, powerful, hardworking, confident, leadership, dangerous, determined, passionate, freedom, compassion, and integrity. The goal of the lessons is to provide a road map and a platform for the father or mentor to speak some truth into the lives of their boys.
I'm a dad. I know how difficult it is to sit down and have a frank and honest discussion with my son. We'd both rather make jokes and keep the conversation on the surface. Or just make it real brief. But having him do a short study on a character trait each month and then to spend some time going over that lesson with him and getting the opportunity to speak into his life on the subject and share my expertise, wisdom, and experiences with him....I think that would be really powerful. I don't think that would be awkward. It seems doable....exciting even!
That's our program.
Couple the above, with time spent together outdoors. Time for the boy and his father/mentor to bond by doing an activity together. A chance to pass on wisdom, knowledge, skills....all very manly stuff. This is a chance for the boy to learn that he has what it takes to conquer some tough trials that the wilderness can throw at you. Learning how to build a shelter in the wild and spend the night it, to be able to catch meal in a mountain stream and cook it over a camp fire, or to be skilled enough to take a deer, or a turkey and bring home food for the family are very empowering things for a boy to learn. Teaching these skills is also a great platform to heap a ton of praise and validation on your son/mentee and let them know that they are the real deal. That they have what it takes, that they are more than they thought they were.
That's our program.
It is about the passing on of Heritage. It is about the passing on of Masculinity. It is about Leading and it is about Loving.
Father hood is a high stakes game. Time together is essential. The goal of our programs is to help you take full advantage of the time spent outdoors with your son.
Next week I'd like to discuss in greater detail the mentoring aspect of the program.