Fathers and Sons know that there is instantly a special bond between them. Sons instinctlively know that their father is who they want to be and all fathers have a gut feeling that their son will always look to them for what it means to be a man.
Because of this, one of the greatest needs of sons is to be understood and affirmed by their father. Every adult male knows the building up or the damage that is caused by the existence or absence of their father's approval.
A Job Well Done
As fathers then, our job is to intentionally build up our sons into the men we (and more importanly God) want to them to be.
Fathers must know two things in order to do our job well:
What kind of man do we want them to be?
What kind boy is my son now?
Let me explain why these are so important.
What Kind of Man?
We cannot help our sons become who they needs to be without first thinking through, with the help of Scripture, what we want our sons to be like as men. To direct our boys into manhood with only a vague idea of what men should be is like having terrible vision and taking aim at a far off target without our glasses on.
The chances of our boys hitting the target decreases because of our lack of vision.
So, what kind of man do you want your son to be?
Consider a few of these verses as a starting point for the direction you aim your son.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14, Pslams 119:9-16, Titus 2:7, 1 Timothy 6:11, Micah 6:8, Psalm 37:23
What Kind of Boy are they Now?
We also must be intentional in learning our sons. We as fathers can be so busy trying to make our sons into something that we forget to know them now. We hear far too many stories of fathers who are absent or neglectful because of work, or hobbies, or all around selfishness. Let us not hear stories of fathers who thought they were "involved" but their sons never felt like they were known.
Your sons are looking for your fatherly approval from their earliest ages.
A couple of questions to think through:
How can you help your sons become the men you want them to be if you don't know what motivates them now?
What makes you think you will have their ears later, if your sons don't have yours now?
Fair or not, it is also important to remember that our son's view of God will be informed by their view of their father. Our God identifies himself as a father, it is therefore the privilage of every earthly father to represent the authority, love, and forgiveness of the Heavenly Father.
We will not do this perfectly, but we ought to try to display the authority that we are under, the forgiveness we have recieved and the love that we experience, so that our sons (and daughters) will understand better the character of our God.
Here are a few ideas from a father who is just trying to be a good father too...
Lead family worship in your home: There is no better way to help your son grow in Godliness then to model Godliness in your home.
Spend time learning what makes your son tick: Sit and listen to him early and often. If they are young, enter into their play and imagination. If they are older, make them take their earbuds for a time while you sit together and ask genuine questions about them. Maybe make time for a weekly early morning breakfast together or ask them to take a walk periotically. I believe it is never to late. Your son wants you to know them.
Take your son with you when you can: Going to the auto parts store? Take them with. Running to meet up with a friend? Take your son with. Running out to get milk for dinner? Take your son with. Learning and influencing your son happens during mundane moments, not just the special ones.
Enter into whatever your son is doing: What is your son doing now? Is there any way that you can be involved. Fathers show interest in their son when they show interest in what they are doing. Engage him where he is at, not just on your terms.
Begin to give you son some leadership in the home: Your son believes about himself the things that you believe about him. Show them the trust and respect that your have for them by giving them opportunities to lead. This will give him a safe environment to be preparing himself for life.
As fathers we have a very important job in the growth of our boys. It is time to take it seriously.