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Author Topic: Be a man.  (Read 2239 times)
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« on: February 19, 2004, 09:04:47 PM »

Recents in the news inspired me to write this article for my website, atlasmag[dot]com. Thoughts?

A Man's Responsibility
by Adam Porter

Be a man.
A child’s response to that directive weighs almost entirely on the examples his father provides him. Your life choices, attitude and actions along with those of the teachers, coaches and media figures form his template for manhood. This may not be news for most of us but we tend to live as if it was, hiding behind the excuses of stress and business. We dismiss our responsibilities with well-intended but often flippant ‘maybe later’ s or ‘not right now’ s.

Sometimes we wonder aloud, ‘can’t they see I’m busy?’ The answer to this question is more often than not “no”. Our children live in a world of their own creation. They place drastically different values on things than we do in the world as they see it. We might find this a perplexing complication, but it is one of our own creation. How many times do we allow them into our private world or venture into theirs when beckoned? A man will explore the intricacies of his favorite sport, spend hours even months researching his occupation, pour into a good mystery novel and cheer the cinematic successes of Indiana Jones, but we often fail in our commission to understand and motivate our children.

Too often we throw up our hands in exasperation, blaming the terrible twos or adolescent rebellion. In truth the mystery of our wives and children is a gift from God for the man who needs real challenge and adventure. They offer endless motivations to try again, learn more and grow wiser. But we cling to our sports heroes, detectives and swashbucklers. We buy the lie that flash means excitement, danger means intrigue. Is there any quest more fulfilling than living with a soul mate that finds us irresistible and completing, children who call us their heroes? For the man of God there should not be. These fairy tales don’t fall from the sky or only exist under the glossy lights of Hollywood. They are made, relationships carved from the raw material of yet to be fulfilled marriage vows and a child’s wondering, attentive eyes.

The excuses we hide behind are left empty and without merit in the face of the actions of One who echoed the character of our Heavenly Father. Jesus set an example any man should be proud to follow. We often see him as a cardboard cutout, a facsimile. He is either the passive wimp shouldering a lamb or the loquacious authoritarian snapping a whip made by his own hand. We seem content to exile Him into one of these categories but protest when our loved ones and friends paint us with a similar brush.

Who hasn’t cringed upon hearing “you ol’ softy” or balked at “hypocrite” and “that’s not fair”. By nature we refuse these titles and find reason to dispute them. Why then do we only allow Christ to enter our lives in one of these molds? Our children need more than that. They need a human father who provides them with a much closer jumping off point to understanding their heavenly One. Though he fathered no children of his own, the Son of Man adopted twelve and fostered hundreds in his time on earth. Daily he loved, taught and cared for those he knew would deny him in shame and others who would betray him to his death.

He focused not on their actions, though, but on His purpose. He opened opportunities to them and exulted in their successes all the while knowing they would all fail the greatest test they would face while he was among them. This is a father’s greatest fear: that his child will turn their back on all he has done for them and taught them through the years, defying the legacy he has left for them. Jesus did all that he did knowing this would take place. He understood that one simple act of obedience (wait in Jerusalem) and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit could turn these prodigal children into heroes. We must exercise that kind of faith and commitment when approaching our own kids.

A few years ago my wife and I attended a Growing Kids God’s Way parenting course. One of the tools shared with us had found a place on my refrigerator door ever since. It is a list of imperatives called the Father’s Mandate.

1. A father must cultivate an attitude of family.

2. A father must demonstrate ongoing love for his wife.

3. A father must build memories.

4. A father must learn to respect his children’s private world.

5. A father must teach his children how to build friendships.

6. A father must keep his promises.

7. A father must give his child the freedom to fail.

8. A father must encourage.

9. A father must touch his children.

10. A father must build his relationships on God’s Truth.

These mandates should be welcome on every dad’s fridge. The correction, direction and encouragement they have given me have been priceless.

There are other mandates we need to consider as men as well. Much has been made the last few years of the simple phrase ‘what would Jesus do?’. I offer another question, one that cuts a little closer to the bone. How would Jesus live your life? Given your gifts and talents, hopes and hindrances, family and friends: what would he do with them. From my reading of scripture I have made a list (however incomplete) of guidelines that I strive for myself. I hope they can encourage you as well:

Love your wife and honor your mother.

Put the needs of your wife and children above the wants of your self.

Spend equal time imparting your world to them and listening to their heart.

Do not make snap judgments based on their comments or answers to your questions.

Prayerfully consider a course of teaching and direction that will lead them in the development of their
character. Do this specifically for each of your children.
Intentionally seek out opportunities to bless others.
Meet those needs without trying to stoke your own ego.
Do not treat people as investments. Love with no expectation of return.

At least once a day inconvenience yourself for someone else.

Be a man.
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I'm a llama!

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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2004, 06:43:13 PM »

thank you, adamporter... Smiley
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Oh that I might kiss the feet of God!

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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2004, 07:32:51 PM »

Jesus set an example any man should be proud to follow.

Wonderful article!

“Christianity isn't all that complicated … it's Jesus.”   — Joni Eareckson Tada

There is no force on earth as powerful as one human soul set ablaze with the Spirit of God -  Shylynne
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