As I try to figure out what it means to be a father I know one thing for sure, I am not and will not be perfect. I will miss on some things and not emphasize some things as much as I should. With that said, here are 7 things I will be sure to instill with great intentionality:
- The glory of God is our highest aim. Yeah, this sounds good, but what does this actually look like? Part of what it looks like is not allowing extracurricular activities to trump things like church, serving our community, and other Kingdom oriented happenings. It also means utilizing as their extracurricular activities (sports, band, etc) with a kingdom mindset. They need to be instilled from a young age that all we do is for the Lord and for others, not ourselves. I simply must always ask when making decisions, “Does this decision point them to God or make more of life about them?”
- The beauty of learning. I absolutely love to learn. Learning is exciting. Sadly, I didn’t feel this way until I got to college. This is the case with many kids when they go off to college. I want to deeply instill in my sons a deep passion to read, study, and learn. I don’t want them to just listen and believe whatever I or anyone else tells them. I want to them to use learn to use reason and be able to study and process things very deeply. I want them to become master learners.
- Women are to be honored and served. I know where this starts… they have to see this day in and day out with how I honor and serve my wife. Teenage boys have a strong tendency to speak to and treat girls disrespectfully and with dishonor. This will probably bring about my strongest discipline, starting with their mother. When my sons get married they will be called to be servant leaders of their home. I hope serving their wife is second nature to them by that point.
- A healthy view of weakness and failure. Many young men have a great fear of failure and view weakness as something to be expunged. I want my sons to know that everyone fails, everyone. There aren’t those who fail and those who don’t. There are those who fail and respond with character and those who fail and are paralyzed by fear. I want them to know it is okay to be weak. Not only is it okay, but it is to be expected. I’m not trying to raise superficial super studs. I am trying to raise men who are strong because they aren’t afraid to fail and know weakness is within us all. His grace is sufficient in our weakness. A healthy view of weakness and failure ought to catalyze a healthy trust in God and thankfulness for his grace.
- Fruit of the Spirit is better than the spirit of the age. Our culture values very different things from the Bible. Our culture seems to think physical beauty and approval of people reign supreme. I want my sons to go deeper than this. I want them to care deeply about character and integrity. I want them to be inspired to become men that are marked by the fruit of the Spirit. Their hearts need to instinctively see the value in the right fruits.
- Biblical Manhood. Masculinity doesn’t just come based on anatomy. I want my sons to be men, real men. I want them to look at the Bible for what real manhood is. Our culture is totally confused on what real masculinity is. From gay culture, metrosexuality, to machoism our culture has no idea what true manhood is. I want to instill in my sons a deep desire to discover what biblical masculinity and then strive after it with all they have.
- Deep friendships are worth the time and effort. In todays world it is way too easy to be incredibly social and have a lot of people around without every having a deep friendship. There are very few things in life more valuable than deep friendships. To develop a deep friendship takes a lot of time, effort, honesty, and trust. I want to instill in them that a deep friendship is far more beneficial than being seen as cool by the crowd or loved by the many.