10 October 2012

Fathers And Sons

To my father, who has shown me that a real man is a man after God's own heart.

When a boy is making the transition from boyhood to manhood, there is no book he can pick up, or magazine he can read, or website he can surf to find out all the intricate details of who a man really is. There is no universal, detailed description of what it means to be a man. How must a man look? How must he carry himself? How must he relate to those above or below him? How must he treat women? How is a boy, making that transition to manhood, to decide what route he will take on all these things?

A boy who is making this inevitable transition is almost like a person making his way through a maze. He has no map and could take several routes to his destination. Which route will he take? What techniques and methods will he use to navigate his way so he makes it to the end intact? It would be so much easier to have footsteps in front of him that he could simply follow. Likewise, the boy does not have a detailed description of what he has to become. It's the little things that matter like how a man must talk, should he be loud or should he be quiet? Should he joke or should he be serious? What about the way a man must walk? Must a man bounce as he takes his strides? Must he walk briskly or take his time? It goes on and on, how should keep his hair or his beard? How should he sit? How should he relate to women? And so on and so forth.

Because of all these variables, a father plays a pivotal role and very rarely are fathers conscious of this. If you take a moment to observe most sons who have had a father figure growing up you will soon see how much the son copies his father.

The son does not do this consciously. He doesn't say "Ok, how must I walk? Let me see how dad walks." No, he simply imitates what he sees and before long it becomes who he is.

I have two friends who shave their heads completely. I've often wondered why they should choose such a weird hair style at such a young age and then I noticed that their fathers both keep their hair that way. There's a young man I know who has a priceless smile but always wears a grave face. Again I wondered why, then I discovered his Dad smiles very rarely. There's another friend of mine who speaks exactly the way his father speaks, two in fact. There is a man at church who never makes a '4' or with his legs (crosses his legs) when he is sits. I have never seen his son make a '4' either. There's a man who is simply a clown, you guessed right, his son is always clowning around. There's another boy also who speaks very shyly, his father speaks exactly the same way. I could go on and on.

Already, genetically, sons will have mannerisms and habits similar to their fathers but they become even more like their fathers because when they are growing up the definition of a man they have is the one of the man of the home, and consequently, many of those small details I mentioned are simply adopted from their fathers. This all happens with both father and son virtually unaware.

That is why fathers are important to their sons. You are your son's definition of a man. Two of my friends complain incessantly about their fathers and I often wonder why they have taken so much of the way they look and carry themselves from their fathers if they aren't so fond of them. It is something they really can't help. And that is why many young men who grow up without fathers end up being criminals. Being at an impressionable age, they look to the 'stars' in society and in the media and take their cue from them much to their own peril.

Fathers, believe it or not your son is watching. He sees how you sit, walk, talk, shave, drive, etc, and that is his view of what being a real man is. He sees how you treat your wife and your domestic workers. You are what he will become. Your son will rise or fall because of what you have portrayed manhood to be.

I'm thankful for my father in whom I have seen that a real man must prioritize; God first, himself last and others in between and that the more you submit yourself to God, the bigger the man you are. Thanks Dad!