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Here's a sneak peak at Seeking the One 11...
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A couple of weeks ago I was surfing through the options on Netflix to find a movie to watch and I ran across an older movie called "Rivers End". I downloaded it to our laptop and began watching a pretty cool story. The story was about a young man, seventeen years old who a year before lost his father in an accident. In the movie the young man becomes lost and troubled. He starts dressing all gothic and by the worlds standards becomes quite a punk. He has no respect for authority and basically becomes an out of control teen with no direction in his life. At one point, in a fit of road rage he runs his truck up on the curb and drives down the sidewalk to pass some slow motorists in the small west Texas town he grows up in. He ends up knocking over a US Postal mailbox and with that the town Sheriff who is also the boys grandfather is forced to handle the situation. The boy has no respect for his grandfather and views him as an old washed up cowboy. But sternly the old sheriff gives the boy an option to show up in court and take the punishment that the law hands down or to take a 60 mile canoe trek down a wild and scenic river....by himself.
Choosing the latter the boy sets off on his wilderness trek with a canoe, a few supplies, a stack of cassette tapes and a walkman. The cassette tapes are recorded instructions from his grandfather. The tapes are full of information on how to make it down the river safely, how to catch fish and cook them over a fire for food. How to set up shelter, what to watch out for along the river, and a general guide to help mentor the boy through this journey. He also includes some life lessons about respect, common courtesy, how to live a reposible and powerful life, and how to take responsibility for his actions. He includes words of wisdom on becoming a man and affirms the boy of his love and admiration of him.
It is a beautiful story and really cool to watch as the boy transitions from a scared angry teen into a respectful and confident young man by the end of the story.
At the end, after the boy conquers the river and makes ammends with his grandfather and his mother the boy becomes the narrator of the story and makes this powerful statement.
"Freud said that the most poigniant loss any kid could experience is the loss of his father.........17 million kids know that this is true..........Well, I hope they know a cowboy."
I mentioned the movie was old. It was set sometime in the early 80's. Now days there are over 25 million kids under the age of 18 growing up in fatherless homes. That is nearly 40% of kids in this country. 72% of adolescent murders are committed by fatherless kids. 60% of rapists come from fatherless homes. 67% of prison inmates come from fatherless homes. 70% of juveniles in reform institutions are fatherless. Fatherless kids are 30% more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs, they are twice as likely to drop out of school, 11 times more likely to exhibit violent behavior in school, dramatically more likely to commit suicide, and more likely to engage in early sexual activity.*
We have a problem in this country. And this country needs good men to step up and lead these lost kids. There are mentoring movements taking place all across this country to try and help. And we are trying to get on board and help make a small dent here at Faith in the Field. It is our heart to want to help as many of these kids as possible. But we need help!
Last week I wrote a blog about our youth program materials that will be coming out in the next month or two. I mentioned that the program is for fathers to lead their sons on a spiritual journey using our outdoor pursuits as a back drop for the kind of adventures that will really strengthen the bond between father and son. It will also create a platform for a father to speak spiritual truths into a boys life and validate him on becoming a man of God.
Well, the program can be used to lead and guide and a fatherless boy as well. To take an interest in a young man's life, and lead him into this kind of adventure is going to be such a powerful way to change the course of a young man's life.
But we need you. We need to get the word out. We need to raise up mentors. We need to raise up funds. We need help finding land access and opportunities for these mentors and young men to get out and have quality experiences fishing and hunting in God's great outdoors. We need gear donated to help them have a good time and take the financial burden off of single moms and the mentors who step up to lead. We need prayer....and lots of it. We are hoping to get churches and mens ministry groups together to start building this program in their churches or cities.
This is no small undertaking. We need your help. We need others who are passionate about defending the cause of the fatherless in their communities. This is not just our heart....this is God's heart to care for the widow and the orphans, to love the least of these.
Men- You are so powerful! You can make a difference. Helping reach one lost boy will change the face of entire family histories. You have so much to offer!
I pray we can find some cowboys!
If you have any interest in being a part of this revolution email us at email@example.com
Faith in the Field is a 501c3 non-profit organization.
*Statistics sources from National Center for Fathering; US Department of Health and Human Services; US Justice Department; National Principals Association; US Census Bureau; Fathers in the Field website.
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.