are milestones that are used to celebrate and mark significant events in our lives. See how one family designed a special event for their son to mark his journey into manhood. Dads, assume the responsibility that God has given you and lead with courage like this dad did.
(disclaimer: longer than my normal posts, but so worth the read)
Tell me about the event that you do with your sons when they turn twelve? Well, I’ve only had one son turn 12, but I’m already planning my 10 year olds weekend as well. Basically, I built a weekend all around the things my son Noah loved the most in order to show him how important he is to me. While on our trip, we took several opportunities to talk about “becoming a man” subjects like responsibility, choices, girls, sex, drugs, addiction, and being responsible for all of our choices we make as men. We had fun with it, learned some new words (awkward)… and had a day he or I will ever forget. I don’t know what my son Zion will choose to do, but the conversations and goals will be much the same.
Why did you choose 12? I chose 12, because though we are “die-hard Christians”, we also have some Jewish blood. We pay a lot of attention to Jewish culture and what God probably REALLY wanted out of all of Moses’ Old Testament commandments. In that culture, a Jewish boy becomes a man when he reaches the age of 12.
What do you do to lead up and prepare for this event? PRAY. I’m a pretty
courageous guy; But who really looks forward to talking to their kids about some of the awkward stuff that happens when you hit puberty? I prayed about what was important to share now, what might make better sense later, and even what I should apologize for not getting to sooner. I was happy to find out that with my boy… he knew very little and I was relieved. We had talked about the basic biology of sex earlier, but not the really heart to heart stuff that came up on our trip.
Why do you think it’s critical for dads to teach their sons what it means to be men? I think what connected most for Noah was the idea that he still doesn’t get to make ALL of his choices, but the choices he does make are his responsibility to live with now. I’m still legally responsible for some of his choices as his father, but spiritually speaking… his choices are mostly his. He will answer for those choices and live with the consequences.
What changes for your son after he’s experienced this “rite of passage?”
He loves to remind me that “He’s Da Man Now.” He also loves the idea that he has more freedom to choose for himself. The beauty is… he almost always jumps to thinking about the consequences of what he might choose. We talked about the fact that choosing to obey God is the way we love Him back. His love is free and never-failing, but ours is a never ending array of choices. He gets that now.
Now that you’ve gotten one down, is there anything you’ll do differently for your next son? I will spend more time on the next trip. We had such an awesome day and a half… I just know it would have been even better if it was a whole weekend. There were a couple subjects we never got to. Luckily, I’m still his dad and that wasn’t my only chance to prove it.
Are there are milestones with our sons that you plan to mark? Our next REALLY BIG milestone is the 17th birthday. I explained to my kids that from the age of 12 until they move out of my house I will be randomly drug and alcohol testing them. I explain to them that is not because I don’t trust them, but because I want to defeat the devil when he tries to tell them “You won’t get caught… don’t worry.” My boys will KNOW they’ll get caught and I wish they would have had over the counter drug and alcohol tests when I was a boy. We have a lot of addicts in our family… especially me. I’ve been in recovery for 16 years and solidly clean and sober for 8. I
told my boys that on their 17thbirthday… if they’ve got a perfect driving record, no drugs ever in their system, and they save their first kiss and real dating for at least 17… they’ll get their own car. I’m a youth pastor who lives well below the average income in our county, but I hope and I pray I’ll be spending a TON of cash on their 17th birthdays. (I should probably start saving.)
After having recently lost my sister in a tragic car accident, I can’t say how much I value good memories. I know that sounds cheesy, but I think back at all the times my sister and I took our time for granted. All those family visits when we just got on Facebook and did life as usual. Aside from the birthdays and the special trips, I want every day to have a small milestone in it. I want to reflect the love our Heavenly Father has for us every single day in a tangible way. On any given day, if my boys were asked if their father loves them… I never want them to even give the answer a second thought. Their belief that their Heavenly Father loves them will come so much easier if they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I love them. So, I’m going to stop typing and go hang out with my boys… and my 21 month old daughter too. Thanks so much for the chance to share.
Brent Bittenbender – Student Pastor @ Ogden
Thanks so much for sharing, Brent.
How will you mark the moment when your son becomes a man? Are you marking milestones in the lives of your kids?