For the men who regularly read this blob, you are aware that I missed a week. I was gone for a couple of weeks with “my bride”, visiting our two sons and their families in Kansas City and Colorado Springs. For me as a Dad, it has been rewarding to watch both my sons grow in their calling to service the Lord. I rejoice likewise in seeing my daughter grow and mature into a wonderful Christian woman, who is an example to me of a dedicated mother of three grandsons and a wife of a service man (Leif is a Chaplin in the Air Force). Since my recent experience has beenwith my sons, I have been doing some reflecting on my relationship with both of them. The following is for the “whatever is worth department.” (If you read this post, Ann Marie, be assured I find it a similiar privilege to “speak into your life.”)
I have had the privilege now, for several years of “speaking into the life” of my two sons, regarding their careers and personal life. This has been a deep joy for me. I am aware that there are Dads who are not able to do this. As for myself, I cherish this privilege. I have had to earn this position by believing in my sons and knowing that God can use them in significant ways. For me it has meant practicing three thing; visualizing growth, encouragement, and clarifying. For the sake of any Dads reading this post, who are wondering how they can help their grown sons, I would share these three practices. Notice they have nothing to do with correcting, instructing or directing. It is all about having your son come to an awareness on his own as to how God is both leading him and forming his life. I believe it is imperative not to be “direct” but to be “indirect.” Help you son see for themselves.
Visualizing growth is simply pointing out how they are growing in their profession and personal life. Often it is through the difficult times that the most growth takes place. Since a Dad knows his son fairly well, pointing growth can be very obvious. It might not be to one of my sons, but for me as “Dear Old Dad” the growth in confidence, maturity and character formation can easily be recognized because I know them very well. Dads, don’t miss the opportunity to visualize growth. I never had a Dad who did this for me. I was left to “measure” my own life without the voice of my Dad. Help your son “measure” his growth by your caring, loving and thoughtful insights. Remember these are not directives.
Encouragement can like a deep drink of fresh spring water in a dry and difficult season. As your son grows in his personal live and career, he will need “cheerleaders” in his corner. There is no one more important then Dad, cheering him on. Again, I had very few words of encouragement from my Dad. He just was not very good in those kind of conversations. I longed for my Dad’s approval, but I never heard it from him. I think he thought I turned out alright, but it sure would have been refreshing to my soul to here it as I struggled in my early years of manhood. Dads, don’t waste or neglect the times you will have to encourage your son in his journey into manhood. The voice of Dad is very important.
The third practice is that of clarifying. Since I know both Mark and Kurt so well, I can help them clarify what is going on in their lives. I don’t necessary tell them directly, but help them to see what is going on in their circumstances and how it is effecting their individual lives. I know when I was their age, life could get pretty confusing and uncertain at times. How I wish I could have heard the loving, caring voice of Dad helping me have a better perspective on my journey. So Dads, when you have the opportunity to give clarification to your son, take that opportunity as a privilege. Your son would like to know what you think. Don’t go silent on him. Pray for guidance and direction as to what to say.