The crisis of the world today is a crisis for real manhood.
My eldest boy Bene is turning 7 this month and he’s thrilled. One reason: I’m making him a special manhood “Ritual of Passage” for his 7th birthday. I told him it’s the first of a three-part series: The first at age 7, the second at age 14, and the third at age 21. I copied this pattern from the knighthood culture, where a boy becomes a “Page” at age 7, a “Squire” at age 14, and a “Knight” at age 21—and since my son loved reading about knights, he’s giddy with excitement. I’ve learned that ancient and medieval cultures always had great manhood “Rituals of Passage”. The Jews have the Bar Mitzvah. Australian Aboriginal Tribes had circumcision. African Tribes sent their boys into the wilderness—alone.
But prior to these ceremonies, Dads usually passed on their craft to their son. That meant countless hours teaching their boys how to hunt boar, or saw wood, or shape iron, or throw a spear. Fathers also taught their sons how to endure difficulty and pain so they could fight for what they loved.
But once they got initiated in these rituals, the boys knew without a doubt that they were no longer boys, but men. They took the leap—from irresponsibility to responsibility, from being carefree to being disciplined, from ignorance to wisdom, from being a follower to being a leader.
Today, we no longer have these “Rituals of Passage”. Why? Because we don’t know what a real man is anymore.
Some guys think they can prove their manhood by getting drunk or picking a fight.
Manhood, my foot. Drunks are Sissies with a capital S. And hot-headed bullies are really disguised kids still throwing temper tantrums.
Real men have so much respect for themselves, they prize their self-control.
Because we don’t know what real manhood is, many boys, for most of their teen-age life, lose their way. For many years, they get stuck in limbo. They don’t know who they are or where they should go.
As Christian Dads, we need to teach what real manhood is to our sons and also recreate “Rituals of Passage” for them today.
For example, before my son’s “Page” ceremony on his 7th birthday, I’ll have 3 weekly father-and-son sessions with him. I’ll bring him out to his favorite restaurant (Thank God it’s inexpensive Jollibee), and while he eats his burger steak with mushroom sauce, I’ll discuss with him the 3 virtues necessary for a Page: Responsibility, Obedience, and Service—one virtue per weekly date. I’ll read stories, answer his questions, and give examples.
And here’s the hard part: I’ll give him specific projects to do connected to these virtues. It could mean doing things he never did before—like walking to Lolo’s house on his own to visit and serve him.
And on his birthday itself, we’ll have his “Page” ceremony. All the men in the family (his Lolo, Uncles, etc.) will gather around him. We’ll ask Bene to offer a symbol of his being a “Page for the Lord”—which would be a pair of brown sandals. We then bless him, sing a song, and invite the women of the family to join us for a festive meal together.
I’m going to be very blunt here.
Do you know why the world is in crisis today?
I’ll tell you why: Because men don’t know how to become real men.
Because fathers don’t train their sons how to live life.
Because fathers don’t raise their sons in the ways of the Lord.
Because fathers don’t mentor their sons to take responsibility.
Because fathers don’t teach their sons how to relate to women.
Because fathers don’t love and protect their wives.
Because fathers don’t lead their families towards a vision.
They’re cowards. They’re macho on the outside but flakes on the inside. They’re irresponsible. They’re passive. They’re parasitic jello.
Fathers don’t really “father” their kids on a daily basis. They leave childrearing to the mothers. They have no vision for their families.
Make no mistake about it. Families are in crisis today because we lack godly husbands and godly fathers.
The crisis of the world today is a crisis for manhood.
Let me give you this set of facts you may not know:
· Men commit 90% of major crimes.
· Men commit 100% of all rapes.
· Men commit 95% of all thefts.
· Men commit 91% of all offences against the family.
· Men commit 94% of all drunk drivers.
In one study, they asked fathers how much time they spent with their kids.
They were very honest and apologized that because of their busy schedule, they could only spend 15 minutes a day with their kids. After the interview, these same fathers were equipped with audio recorders—and for the next few days—the behavioural scientists measured the actual time they spent with their children. Average time a father spends with kids? 45 seconds a day.
By the way, raising your children isn’t just about spending time with them. A father could be spending time with his children watching TV. Hearts don’t engage when you sit passively in front of the idiot box.
Here are the three things fathers need to do with their kids.
First, you bond with them.
Play with them. Laugh with them. Do things they enjoy doing. Because my sons are small, I play their games, no matter how silly they seem to me. “Waste” your time with them, doing what you may consider totally unproductive. In reality, playing with your kids is the most productive thing you can ever do as a human being.
Second, you teach values.
Yes guys, you actually open your lips. Not classroom lectures, mind you. But you tell stories. Exciting, inspiring stories. Don’t leave this to Mom. Men, pick good books and read stories to your sons. Stories of courage. Stories of service. Stories of heroism. Stories about God.
Third, you pray together.
That’s right, Dads. Don’t let Mom be the priestess at home. You’re the priest of the family, so act like one. On Judgment Day, God won’t first ask the mother, “Did you bring your family closer to Me?” He’ll ask this important question to Dad first. Fathers, let your children watch you pray and see your heart for the Lord.
How can you do all these three assignments if you don’t spend at least a weekly date with each of your kids?
Fatherhood isn’t for wimps. It’s requires men of steel. It requires rocklike warriors totally committed to winning the battle for the hearts of their children.
Will you be a real man?