“I love you son. I’m proud of you.”
Did you hear these words from your dad when you were growing up? If your dad is still alive, do you hear them from him now as an adult?
If you have a son, do you say these words to him? Very often?
Do you ever proclaim these words publicly about your son where both he and other men hear you?
“I love you son. I’m proud of you.”
In the New Testament of the Bible, there are only 3 recorded instances where God audibly spoke from heaven. Did you know that 2 of these 3 instances are God the Father communicating this very message to His Son Jesus?
At Jesus’ baptism, a voice from heaven spoke audibly to those who were present saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22)
At the mount of transfiguration, God again spoke, this time from a cloud, saying “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Hear him.” (Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35, 2 Peter 1:17-18)
These are incredibly powerful and affirming words that boys and men of all ages long to hear — need to hear — from their father. It was important for God the Father to communicate this on more than one occasion audibly to His Son Jesus and those who were present. It was important for Jesus to hear these words audibly from His Father.
Likewise, it is important that we fathers speak these words audibly to our sons.
“I love you son. I’m proud of you.”
This weekend, my oldest son Andrew did something for the first time.
He mowed our entire half-acre yard… front and back… with my riding mower.
I didn’t have to do a thing except give him a few pointers, keep an eye on him, and make sure he was being safe and doing a half-way decent job.
I’ll admit… it was nice delegating that chore to him! I’ve been looking forward to doing so for a long time.
But something strange happened inside of me as I watched him lap our yard with my yellow earmuffs cupped over his ears, his feet barely reaching the pedals.
If you’ve been at this stage of fatherhood, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Yes, I was proud of him…
- Proud that he was mature enough at his age to be doing this.
- Proud that he was willing to take on this new responsibility.
- Proud that he wanted to “be like Dad.”
But something inside of me struggled with seeing my boy growing up!
Yes, I know it is inevitable.
I just wish there was a pause button to slow down his progression toward adulthood.
In just a few years from now, I will be looking my son in the eye, because he will be as tall as me. His voice will have changed. He will be driving a car. And he will be thinking about his future as a young man.
When that time comes, I hope to reflect on lots of fun times we had together when he was just a lad, and the privilege of being the Dad who got to raise him, invest my time, money, and energy preparing him for manhood, and more importantly, for eternity.
…and perhaps I’ll have a few regrets too.
But for now… we Dads can be thankful for our children.
And do our best to intentionally make the most of each day with them… one day at a time… while they are still with us growing and developing their minds, bodies, souls, and spirits .
Blessings to you and your family,
PS – If you are looking for a fun Christmas game to build memories with your family, click here to see a game our family has lots of fun playing.
If you have a son, grandson, work with boys, teach a boys Bible study, or know another dad who has boys, then this message is for you…
As part of the transition to manhood, boys desperately need their dads or other adult men in their lives to teach them about work, and to develop healthy attitudes toward work and a willingness to work for God’s glory.
The best way to do this is apprenticeship, where a boy “shadows” his dad or other adult men and learns about work and character by example.
An excellent resource I am using to teach my own sons about work is “Created For Work: Practical Insights For Young Men.”
The author, a dad himself and a carpenter by trade, tells inspiring stories from his own life and work — real-world stories that fascinate boys.
He uses these stories along with Scripture to reveal truths about diligence, initiative, honesty, promptness, responsibility, and many more aspects of character and work ethic.
Two of my sons favorite chapters are “Dirt” and “The Donut Race.” “Dirt” is about a guy who never lets dirt get in the way of completing his work. “The Donut Race” is about two boys who race each other to a donut shop one morning before school. One boy obeys the traffic laws, while the other one speeds. It’s an effective and humorous lesson on haste and also teaches how hasty people miss God because God is never in a hurry.
Having personally read this book with my own son when he was 8, and now re-reading it again with him at age 10, I give “Created For Work” two thumbs up as an excellent way for dads to spend quality time with their sons as well as impress on their minds key character qualities about work through reading together fun “guy-stories” and discussing the questions at the end of each chapter.
If you have a son, grandson, or know a boy or group of boys between the ages of 8 and 16, this book is highly recommended as an interactive resource. It is also an excellent gift idea for a boy or dad!
Fellow Dad, here’s a gripping thought I am reminded of regularly…
The way we are right now, day-in and day-out, is what we are modeling to our sons about how to be a dad.
In our actions, words, attitudes, priorities, habits, and character traits.
One day down the road, they too will become dads and have their own family. And they may read books on parenting, attend seminars and conferences, and even develop friendships with other fellow dads their own age and trade child-raising stories.
But let us be assured of this… Our sons are watching us… their own dad… every day!
What they are learning from our actions as we model fatherhood to them is going to influence their own fathering perhaps more than anything else.
Amazing thought isn’t it?!
Talk about influence!
Is your little guy learning…
- fatherhood means work comes before family
- fatherhood means lots of time in front of the television or Internet is justified for entertainment purposes
- fatherhood means sports are a high priority for happiness
- fatherhood means expecting Mom to do most of the work in the kitchen and house
- fatherhood means spiritual growth is pursued only through weekly attendance to a local church service
Or is your son learning…
- fatherhood means leading our family through daily acts of serving them
- fatherhood means our wife and children are a higher priority than hobbies and personal interests
- fatherhood means cheating our work regularly to spend time with our family
- fatherhood means consistent daily prayer time with our Heavenly Father
- fatherhood means taking the lead in daily reading scriptures out loud to our family
- fatherhood means being gentle and forgiving our children when they mess up or disappoint us
Remember, dad, he’s watching you… always watching you.