Back in the 80’s there was a movie entitled, “Distant Thunder,”which depicted the followers of Jesus living in the last days. Today, men who are awake to the movement of God’s Spirit in our fallen culture, are hearing the sound of distant thunder, warning them, among other dangers,f the coming “sexism tsunami.” Recently I learned of a new phenomena among young fathers. Courtney E. Martin of the NPR radio show “On Being” noticed a trend among younger middle and upper-middle class fathers-to-be, pointing of the coming tsunami. These fathers, “seem to disproportionately desire having a girl instead of a boy.”
They said such things as, “I wanted a girl mainly because I felt it was harder to be a boy in today’s society. If I have a boy I will embrace the challenge of raising a boy…..who needs to learn the power of vulnerability even as male culture tries to make him see it as weakness.” These comments were typical of men feeling more confident and better equipped to parent a strong, confident daughter. “Men like me abdicate our responsibility by letting other men – the ones who don’t always encourage the broader, deeper humanity within males – raise boys. And we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to heal old wounds.” Could it be, that Christian men are becoming intimidated in raising sons.
In response to this trend of fathers abandoning their sons to the gender wars, I want to encourage Dads with these observations. First, no amount of social engineering can successful and permanently replace the role of a father in God’s purpose for the family as the basic and foundational aspect of culture. “Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master” ( Eph. 6:4 – Message). This charge is given first to fathers, not mothers. Dads, in God’s economy, you are the front line of defense. Accept the mantle of leadership that comes with being a dad. As you stand firm in the Lord, you will have grace for your task.
Second, the need for affirmation of our masculinity as fathers. This is a constant theme in this blog. Remember masculinity is passed on from one man to the other. We cannot give away what we don’t possess. Masculinity is caught more than taught. No amount of gender blending can shape a young man with a healthy sense of his maleness. “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart” (Prov 3:1). Dad, no one can take your place in the formation of your son. God grace will be there for you as you embrace the task of being father to your son.
Third, dads will flourish in our culture when they model in the words of the Benhman brothers of HGTV reality fame, a “hard head” and a “soft heart.” The day of a stoic, distant father is fading. What is needed are dads with a “soft edges” but “firm centers.” .
Fourth, expose your son to other godly men. They could be relatives, neighbors or church members. Let them “absorb manliness” from men who walk the talk. Find men who are encouragers of the spiritual journey, who are open and honest about their journey in finding wholeness as men
Fifth, by all means, find a support group for dads. I am now a 75 year of grandpa. With inner healing and the benefit of hind sight, I have more wisdom about fathering the when I was in the midst of raising two sons. Find some godly grandpas to relate to as father and son.