There’s something in a boy that is magically drawn to the concept of manhood. It’s in his DNA. Instinctively he knows that manhood is what he was made for. With shoulders back and muscles flexed, he embraces the challenge of becoming a man. He dreams of the honor and relishes the idea of being honorable. And as a side benefit, he looks forward to eating chips before dinner. At least that’s how my seven-year-old saw it.
Listen in on a conversation I had with him, verbatim, one day when he was seven. By the way, he’s seventeen now, so you might wonder how I can be confident of its verbatim-ness, but I added a postscript, saying that I had typed his words as he spoke. (Cade never cared what your hands were busy with as you gave him undivided attention as he talked… and he talked a lot.)So here’s a glimpse into manhood from my seven-year-old:
Cade: Mommy, I’ve always wanted to take control of our house.
Me: What do you mean?
Cade: Like how Dad is in charge. I want to be like that. It’s not just that I want to eat chips whenever I want. It’s more than that… I want to get a job. I want to do all that stuff. I want to be like dad, like, how he controls the house.
Me: How do you think he controls it?
Cade: He’s in charge of everyone in the house.
Me: How would that make you happier?
Cade: I’d be respected. I would know better than to do bad things. I don’t want to be disrespectful. I just want to be a grown up. That’s it.
Me: Do you think pretty soon you’ll be a grown up?
Cade: No! In years! In your dreams! I’m only 7! You think I’m gonna grow up so fast?
I want to have some peace and quiet every day like Dad does in his office. He’s such a good dad. I want to be like him. He’s a Christian. He’s everything. He controls this place. I want to be the same. Why can’t God just make us a grown up once we’re born?
Me: Maybe he wants to give us a chance to take it slow. You know… play?
Cade: Well, even grownups get to play with their kids. Hey, ya wanna go play the Wii?
A decade later, I cherish this conversation even more—probably because my sons have now become men, and they can still look to their dad as a respectable man of honor. What a gift a godly man is to a family. (So grateful for you, Babe.)
Dads, be the kind of man that your boys can look up to. The kind of man who sees manhood as so much more than eating chips before dinner. Be the kind of man who knows better than to do bad things. A man who wins and respect and inspires others to be honorable.
Wives, treat manhood like the honor that it is. Don’t belittle the man or the role. Don’t be disrespectful or controlling. Don’t roll your eyes or sigh in disgust. Instead, be the kind of wife and mom who invites your men to be respectable.
And boys, be like Cade. Don’t shrink back from the challenge of leading a family. Don’t cave in to self-centeredness or laziness. Work hard and welcome the responsibility of providing for yourself and your family, if God should bless you with one. Manhood is an honor. It was God’s idea. This Father’s Day, let’s celebrate both the blueprint of manhood, and the men who live it well.