Thursday, July 23, 2009

Right of passage

I have read four books that have had a profound impact on my fathering philosophy of boys. The first is the Bible which is filled with tons of bad examples, some good examples, and the best example of all, Father God. The other three books were Bringing up Boys, King Me and Raising a Modern Day Knight. Taking all these into play I am big on dad taking a huge role in communicating with his son and helping him in the perilous journey to manhood. Every journey has to begin somewhere and for this journey to start there should be a rite of passage.
Blake just turned 12, and for my boys I chose the age of 12 to kick off this three person journey (dad, son and God) with a rite of passage “Journey to Manhood Campout. I chose age 12 for a few reasons. It is the beginning of puberty, it is the Jewish custom to celebrate bar mitzvah at 12 and it is the age Jesus got left in the temple talking scriptures with the scribes. Twelve is also a very important number in the Bible and some scholars would point to its meaning as an earthly completion.

So what did Blake and I do.
First of all I got a purity ring for Blake and we talked about staying pure sexually and in his heart and mind, and making a pledge to do so. Soon his mother and I will sit down and he has said he wants to take this pledge.

Secondly I had several important Christian men in his life write a note of encouragement to him in his walk. His Grandpas, some of his uncles, his former youth pastor and I all wrote about being a Christian man and how we are pulling for him.
We went camping and went tubing down some white water rapids. Part of being a Christian man is embracing your “wild heart” and sense of adventure that God gave men. This comes in many different forms (you don’t have to throw caution to the wind to have a sense of adventure), but it is important to me that my sons do not see Christ and Christian masculinity as being effeminate and only for girls. God made us the way we are and living for him is an adventure. It worked out nice that i was thrown off my tube and Blake not only rescued my tube from floating down river, but was able to stop himself and in a way rescue me! This was not planned but I thanked God for working this out. Part of a dad’s job is helping his son see what he can do even at the age of 12. He is no mere child anymore.

We went fishing and hiking and this allowed us to have fun but also talk about guarding his heart and giving it away too young, what he thought he might like (character qualities) in a future wife, STDS, driving a car, finding his calling in life and what is a man and how there is always a bit of boy in every man (hey I love Legos and Squirt guns too!). These activities were designed to give us a chance to talk and experience God’s earth.

So this was my first time and I am sure I made mistakes. When we returned home we had to reassure him that this was only the beginning of the journey and that he was not expected to be man yet. He was a little stressed for a bit there about that. Thanks to everyone who wrote him a note and prayed for him.


Jessica Mason said...

Pastor Marty-I really enjoyed reading this post and commend you on taking such a proactive step in your sons lives. If more dads would do this the world(homes, churches, workplaces, etc) would be a much better place. I believe that God will honor your investment in your children. I have seen that pay off in my own life as a result of the faithful investment of parents who love and serve God. We miss you and your family! Take care.

Anonymous said...

Marty; I didn't know all you were doing with this time with Blake but after reading about it, I realy appreciate what you did and wish I would have done something similar with you. What a great Idea.

Becky said...

I love all the things that you guys do as a family. You are GREAT parents and I really look to you both as an example of what it means to excel at parenthood!

David Howington said...

P Marty:
Thought I would check in on you and it put a real smile on my face and warmed my heart to remember why I love you. Your an awesome man and will always be an awesome Dad. My prayer is that God will always bless you and your family.

kidinspiration said...

This is a great post and encouragement, thanks!!!