Father to Son

Help! He's getting closer to being a teenager!

Dads -- Do you have father-son talks with you boys? Do you pass on bits of wisdom through a few extended conversations, or do these nuggets of truth come through more regular but smaller talks?

If you are like me, you do both. You have some main topics (such as about salvation, sexuality, education, and leadership) that you cover in detail. But you still sprinkle in brief insights and guide points along the way.

And if you're like me, you are never really sure how much of it sinks in. But that's not the point. Our job is to keep leading our families, to keep training our children, and to keep passing on wisdom.

My Son

Tomorrow, my son Elijah has a birthday. We have had lots of conversations over the past 11 years. I've made my share of mistakes, and have said and done some damaging things. But I know that God has given me much wisdom to pass on to him.

I'm thankful for the resources I've had, so that I can be a good father to Elijah. I've had access to books, parenting classes, friends, mentors, and (most importantly) God the Holy Spirit. But all the resources don't make a difference until I put them into action. And I'm always looking for more parenting ideas and help.

I enjoyed this article from Nick Batzig, Father-to-Son Talks. He explains that the book of Proverbs gives at least 10 father-to-son talks, which can provide a framework for all of us parents:
  1. 1:8-19 -->  Be teachable; resist temptation 
  2. 2:1-22 -->  Seek God's wisdom, and avoid evil
  3. 3:1-12 -->  Trust God (godly counselors, with wealth, in His discipline)
  4. 4:10-27 -->  Pursue righteousness and truth
  5. 5:1-23 -->  Avoid sexual immorality 
  6. 6:1-35 -->  Work hard; avoid sexual immorality
  7. 7:1-27 -->  Avoid sexual immorality
  8. 23:19-35 -->  Avoid drunkenness
  9. 24:13-22 -->  Seek wisdom; avoid wicked rebels
  10. 27:11-27 -->  Be careful who you associate with
(Of course, breaking down the book into 10 talks may not be biblically-accurate, especially since the chapter breaks are a later addition. But this is a good place to start.)

I've never specifically taught my kids these passages, but it looks like something worthwhile!

Some of My Own Words

Here are some things I've talked to Elijah about, over the past year. I hope a fraction of these have sunk in, or at least shaped him in a small way:

As a man, we are called to make things better. Anytime we walk into a room, we should be thinking how we can make it better for others. 

When you elevate yourself and your skills above others, you are elevating yourself above God, who created everyone in His image.

Manhood is when you produce more than you consume. You are called to be a provider.  (HT: Art of Manliness)

Like you, I have doubts sometimes. But we can't get stuck just thinking about them. We have to take action in faith, and then let God verify Himself. 

When you ignore or reject authority over you, you are rejecting God, who gives all authority. When it comes to your leaders, you are not equal in roles. 

When you make the world and your community better, you reflect the image of God, as He is working to restore this broken world.

One day, you may have to fight. But don't fight for yourself. Be ready to step in between an aggressor and someone who needs protecting. You may get hurt shielding that person, but God will reward you, and so will I!
God has wired you up to do something. There will always be things you have to do which you don't enjoy. But there will be some things that you know that God made you for. As much as you can, move towards those things.

(You may be wondering how I remember saying these things to him. I keep a journal for each of my kids. I write in each one a couple of times per month, about what is going on in their lives.)

The Blessing of Teaching My Son  

More than anything, I'm glad that I get to be my son's primary discipler. (Of course, my wife is involved heavily, too, but in this case I feel the burden lies on me.) I am glad that God has entrusted me to disciple my son, and to "train him up in the way that he should go" (Proverbs 22:6).

It is a blessing to teach my son.

Happy Birthday, Elijah!!
"A wise son makes a glad father, 
but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother."  
Proverbs 10:1

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