Archive | January, 2018

Dad as Protector

10 Jan

Christmas 2012When Josiah was born, I remember the first time that I took him in my arms. I carried him like a fragile flower. I didn’t want to put him down, but felt as if he was safest in my arms. There he was protected, and I never wanted to let go. The years have passed, and Josiah barely fits in my arms. Even if he did, his energy level doesn’t allow him to slow down. Josiah spends his days running here and there, trying to keep himself occupied.

Today, in the middle of a friend’s birthday party, he fell and broke his arm. I was not there to catch him, save him, protect him. I wish I had been there, and kept him from the pain and suffering.

As I sat in the emergency room, the what ifs invaded my mind bringing with them feelings of sorrow and frustration. Why did it have to be him? Since birth, my son has had a broken leg, a broken finger, and two other broken bones.

It is not fair. It is not fair to him, and definitely not fair to me.

So why?

In that moment, I remembered that God is in control and not me. God has a plan for my little boy, and I need to accept that His plan includes a broken arm. I may not like it, or want it, but I have to live with it. His plan for Josiah may bring me to tears, or anger. However, there comes a point when I need to stop fighting, whining, and crying, and step forward in faith. A faith in God’s love. A trust in His care. A Hope that He will see my little boy through.

As I sat in the x-ray room, I took my first step – a step to trust that God has a plan. I braced myself as they put my little guy under, and prepared to set his arm. Tears rolled down my checks as I embraced that even pain can come from the hand of the Father. The lab tech, worrying that I was about to faint, asked me if I needed a chair. I sat down, and begin to feel relief. I am not sure if it was from the chair or the freedom that accompanies faith.

Today it was a broken arm. Tomorrow it will be a broken heart. Many things, good and bad, will come upon my little boy. Some that I like, and many that I won’t.

My arms can’t keep him safe forever, because God didn’t design us merely for protecting our children. Instead, God designed me for trusting – a concept that I find much more difficult.

Rites of Passage – A Must-do for every Dad

2 Jan

Turning 16 is a critical time in a boy’s life.  Not simply because they can apply for a driver’s license, but because it is a time when difficult choices are being made.  A time when a boy needs a solid foundation on which to base those choices.   A time when a boy needs direction and leadership.   I believe that the most important source of this direction is his dad.  But the message given by a dad may be easier to hear, if repeated from other godly men.

When my oldest son, Logan, was a teenager, I was listening to the radio station when they described a special activity a father planned for his son when he turned 16.  The father arranged for a group of godly men to take a long walk with his son to share their advice and encouragement about growing into manhood.  While I was not an expert in living a godly life and not a gifted communicator, I knew this was something that I needed to do.  I gathered a group of men whose faith I respected, and would have a unique perspective on becoming a man.   My desire was their advice and encouragement would provide a solid foundation and direction for my son as he entered adulthood.

father and son share a rock from Flickr via Wylio

© 2012 Doug McCaughan, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

Two months before I started to talk with my wife about which men should be asked to participate in the relay walk.   We narrowed the list to his youth pastor, his grandfather, and a coach from school.  My wife suggested that I should also be one of the men walking with my son, so I added my name to the list.

Then I prayed:  first, that the men would all be willing to participate and second, that I could get them all together on a Saturday morning.   I contacted each of the men to ask them if they would be willing to spend 10 to 15 minutes on a walk with my son to provide advice and encouragement to him about growing into a godly man.

A couple of weeks before the walk, I sent an email to each man with a map of the route, and where each man would wait for my son.  Then following the mid-morning walk, I planned for us to gather at nearby restaurant for lunch.

I then began to plan what I would say to Logan on the walk.  It was an opportunity for me to share my heart with my son, and to point him toward the Lord as the foundation of his life.  Prior to becoming a follower of Jesus, my main concern about him was to achieve good grades, and be “successful.” But now my main concern was that he grow close to the Lord – and follow His leading.

My son was overwhelmed by the messages shared by these men, and that a group of men would be willing to spend their Saturday morning focusing on him.

My son is now a young man, and still follows the faith.  The Lord has blessed him in countless ways, and continues to draw him closer to Himself.   There have been numerous people and experiences that have helped him along this path – both before and after his 16th birthday.  But I know that this rite of passage was one of the key experiences that set his course.

Several years later, I planned another relay walk this time for my second son, Kellan. As I gathered this new group of men, I invited Kellan’s older brother to participate.  What a blessing it was to see them walk side by side that morning.

I strongly encourage all dads to arrange a man walk for your son’s 16th birthday.  The walk will be a very special time for you, your son, and will have a lasting impact on everyone involved.

Written by Ron.

If you have a story of a rite of passage that will encourage other parents, please send it to gdavid@earesources.org.

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