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October 18, 2021 6:00 am
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When you can identify some code of conduct that you admire that you pursue and you call your son up to with real-world applications in the midst of the battle of real life. That's when those words take root and begin to germinate. Robert Lewis joins us today on Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller and your hostess focus presidency and author Jim Dale John is a dad of boys can say the father son relationship is so special and boys need a dad who is engaged in intentional and teaching them what it means to be a man to hear Focus on the Family we want to help you in your relationship with your children to be the best it can be even if you didn't have a good dad is a model that's pretty common. Robert Lewis has long been associated with this ministry. He wrote an outstanding book titled raising a modern-day night for Focus on the Family and it's been our number one bestseller for many many years.
So we want to share his message again today.
How to raise your sons as honorable men. Men of quality and character. And while today's conversation revolves around the father-son relationship. It's a great opportunity for mom to listen in as well die degree and pastor Robert Lewis is the founder of men's fraternity, an organization that teaches men how to live lives of authentic Biblical manhood. He's married to Sherrod and therefore adult children. Let's go ahead and pick up the conversation out on today's Focus on the Family of Robert getting to it. What you think is missing in the way we are raising boys today will we have a big gap in this generation in the gap is that were assuming a lot that boys are going to grow up and understand not only what manhood is all about. But what are the key components to being an authentic man, and the problem is is that most of the things that we involve our young sons in tend to be things that build their exterior skills like sports and academics and experiences stuff which are important, which are very much and I most message accurate. I'm not against any of my boys and I got involved in every one of those things.
The problem is, is the gap is we assume the interior skills of character of godliness of how to interact with a woman how to understand myself what God is all about how to connect with him and what I'm supposed to experience the young man what are my responsibilities both as a teenager and how do those connect to being a successful adult those dots are not being connected today by our culture. Mainly because dad's not there good my 40+ percent already moved there but the ones who are there who the ones I work with a lot don't feel competent in giving those things away to their sons because they themselves are clear about what they are so for starters, most dads don't even have a definition of manhood: why is that, is there a transmission problem generation to generation. Men seem to not tell their sons. What's important about manhood and what you need to know is that one of the core problems, it is because our institutions mainly the church and what used to be more of a Judeo-Christian culture used to emphasize giving away certain aspects of those but for whatever reason we gone dark. And so what were raising today is what I call dark manhood you have dark matter in the universe. You know it's there, which can't see it. There's a dark manhood were guys look like men, but they aren't men there. Dark manhood man, and so to give away that there has to be a new way of heralding to this generation. What are the most important things that boys need to be successful men, not just generally from a secular standpoint with a strong interior, but especially for us as Christians. What is it that bills a healthy manhood interior for the next generation. I don't think were clear about that were not talking about those things and because were not talking about those things. Dads don't feel competent in what to seize and give away to their sons before we get some of the practical application. This topic comes out of your heart your own well lack of father tell us about your experience as a boy growing up in why this is so important to yeah I think part of the strength I possessed. Now is because a part of the vacuum of what I grew up in, because I grew up in dark manhood. I grew up as one of three sons underneath the dad who was a war veteran, which I'm very proud of. By the way that he did serve honorably in the service and my dad was the kind a guy like the greatest generation. He came home and put his nose to the grind stone to provide materially but didn't know how to provide spiritually or socially. So I call my formative years with my two brothers growing up in a home where dad was there but he wasn't dad fact I got to work holding the invisible dad he was around. But you couldn't touching and you can feel his heart headed you and your brothers process. That is, 12, 13, 14-year-old boys knew what was happening in the relationship.
Would that look like when you talked about. Did you talk about is another suite we basically kind of made up life in a small town as best we could and my brother and I each went different ways which are gifted in different ways.
My oldest brother was more of the artist younger brother was more of the outdoorsman fishermen and intellectual how you describe yourself. I was more of the action guy. I just wanted to get involved in sports, so I just lost my life in sports, was on every sports team in our little town and ultimately that was my way out of town because I was good enough to play college football at the University of Arkansas during some of its glory years latter really wonderful experience playing college football but that was my way out of town and and so sports was how identified my life and actually for a few short years thought it would be a vocation Robert to add to that description you and I share in this is that both of our fathers were alcohol. He was in there that really dampens down your respect oftentimes and I had your dad in the military but for those sons growing up were alcohol as part of their family life either mom or dad. You know it doesn't matter. Both what did that look like for you and what actions did you see your dad do in that environment and what to do to spiritually and emotionally. Yeah well my dad worked hard. I was always proud of that.
But he also drank hard and it increased during my formative years in my teenage years and and that became problematic and when the home begins to break apart because mom and dad are doing well because my mom was trying to reform my dad. She couldn't do it and so, for whatever reason, they because I'm a stronger personality to my brothers. I got drafted in to that relationship to negotiate here the plow was negotiated so I was always trying to keep the peace. I was always trying to keep that straight. I was always trying to convince mom why she should leave her why she should have more patients and what is really odd.
There were times I was trying to counsel my mom how to better interact with my dad which was totally insane for 14 and 15-year-old is a lot of responsibility but I tried as best I could and took a lot of shrapnel from both sides and trying to do that which I think wounded me in ways I didn't understand in order to do that I had to bury my emotions, which a lot of boys grow up under alcoholics do they have to put their emotions of shame when guys make fun of my dad for being drunk or when even show up for things like my ballgames or which a site and raising modern-day nightmare.
At the very beginning when even short for my wedding mean it's a weird thing to be at a wedding where all you know we were well known family, my all my college athletes at the time who were my groomsmen came. It was a huge wedding. My grandfather law was doing the service, and there we were a lot of pomp and ceremony, but dad won their because dad couldn't handle it. So he drank himself into a stupor that weekend and so you just carry a lot of shame and at the same time you're trying to make it work, Robert.
The question for some of the guys listening right now would be. You seem to turn out okay for me. I didn't have that dad. I still haven't built that bridge they might be in their 20s, there might be in their 30s or 50s and 60s were that bridge to healing his not been built as a guy who had that expense like you are like me, how do you get on a better path to say okay I didn't have it but I'm in a give it to my son that is a great question and I'm not sure. Apart from the grace of God I got a great answer because I think what you do when you're one of those wounded sons, you grab for whatever gives you meaning and like I said, I grab for sports. My older brother grab for the arts.
My younger brother for books and classical guitar in hunting and fishing and so we did that, but somewhere in there that won't be enough. And so if you have a listers listening their knees feeling a lot of emotion even talking about this. And sometimes when you bridge it with anybody's got that background immediately that emotion, wells up and you can see it in their face and it is not resolved, then my encouragement to them would be to look to Jesus Christ.
That's what idea, and it's a great answer and it sounds may be overly used man's the right answer it it in the right hand of God and read his word and understand what a father is because he's the ultimate fan and I'm so grateful I say from an earthly viewpoint.
I stumbled into it from a divine viewpoint. I think God helped lead me into it. But in that interaction in finding Jesus also found a book that had answers in it that I'd never read because we didn't grow up in a church home so started reading the Bible and all sudden questions about friendships and about shame and about guilt and about marriage and about girls that I found answers that with the help of others I put into practice may because I'm a results-oriented person they worked. I couldn't believe things my mind and all of a sudden it gave me a sense of okay I can hang on to this implicit had an internal title to it. So I go. This can go on forever and it was in that with friends that then led to an adventure with Jesus that has persisted to this day that I'm still I think if there's a word, a banner over my life is just grateful grateful for all that.
Not so good that you speak to the wife and the mom who is seeing a lack of interaction with her husband and the father of her children.
She's concerned and I've had this conversation from time to time, our vocations can be demanding GNI. The conversation might be. We need more spiritual training with the kids got engaged and a lot of moms and wives will again to think through how they can if I could say it manipulate their husbands into doing more.
What's up constructive way for wife and mom to say to her husband.
We need more without the husband saying wait a minute don't you know what I do for this household will live. I bet I've had a thousand conversations.
Being a pastor that is address this very issue by women reaching out to me who felt abandoned or hurt or with questions with no answers and saying help me and I would say divine manipulation is a good word because you know the Scripture speaks to men who are, off track a little bit and it says that the wives are to win them without a word.
I think direct instruction to a wayward husband or a faltering husband will always hit a dead end, so I'd say don't do that to be my first statement must wives and why yet. I don't know that I believe that say layoff. The second thing is where I called the divine manipulation because evil wife and I would've said I would have known this to tell my mom if the wife can survey the social landscape around their family and maybe the church they go to and if not the church. Just their friends they can find healthy families or healthy groups to go to and simply with a soft word to a coach or a pastor or a man who's doing well in his marriage and say you know will struggle bit.
Would you mind reaching out to my husband and including him in X, it might be a group. It might be your playing sports together. Would you mind inviting him to the next game just to go with you to watch our sons play. He needs some encouragement so involvement and you seem like you're offering a lot that has to do anything other than just befriending a little closer. If there real close friends, you might go even further, say, inviting to the group that you're going to make it's a men's group or maybe it's a fishing club or what. I don't know what it could be, but there are ways to do that that would be number one. To encourage the husband to get stimulation from other stronger men, but without it being a put down, or correction right to just join me. Men walk the other way when it's met with Dennis and we don't do well shut exec Roger, it'll never work. Never. I just want to tell was at there.
Hear me, it'll never work.
The second thing is for your son, which I think my mom did do some of this and am thankful for that. I think I would put my son if dads not involved in the most masculine environments I could get a man that are healthy and so my mom got me in Little League.
She got me for a time. I didn't stay, but with the Methodist youth group. I dropped out, but that was my choice. She put me in places where there were men around positive environment positive environments and that's where I got my love for sports and she complimented me on some successes, especially in football, so by the time I hit high school I will start to be a pretty good athlete and I think there was a word spoken to my coach my head coach where he took a little bit extra noticing of me because my dad one around. He didn't have to do it but he did it, and out of that came this mentoring relation of my coach that change my life because he believed in me. Did you my coach for my senior year could look at me and night me with his eyes, and I'll never forget this. I still have a picture where it's our banquet or football banquet and are given out trophies to all the players I expected to win the most valuable defensive player and they gave it to somebody else Army mouse diamond and then at the very end of the banquet my head coach came up and he said we created a new trophy word and call it the coaches trophy to the athlete that we think best embodies the spirit, the effort and the excellence by which we coaches want our athletes to be in order to make this the trophy that were to give from this point on the athlete. We think has had the greatest influence in my head coach gave at first trophy, which is still the preeminent trophy at our high school to me and there's a picture of me standing there with my coach coach Garrett who my firstborn son is named after his name is Garrett have recently made an impact. He put the Eagles wings on my shirt and I flung with that strength ever since and I had the chance to come back and thinking for that night that he had no clue other than the involvement that he had with me as an older, healthy man giving me as a young clueless guy of vision to work hard to do right live pure and maybe things turn out pretty good.
That's impact Robert let's get into some of the book content. This is part of it. We haven't, you know gone out of her way here, but what are some of the set of ideals that we should be imparting into our sons as dads well first thing I would say to a listening dad is you are way more important than you think you are and were not talking about massive effort in saying that were not talking about you got to become some kind of excellent well scripted dad's got it all together were talking about dad like me who are from learners mistake makers have got asked for forgiveness often but who at least grab on to the fact that we are the greatest influence in her son's life, and if we will impart just a little father food her sons. Invariably it has great results and so if I were telling a dad. If I just had a brief moment to instructed and say here are some things you need to give your son I would point to three things immediately.
The first would be you need to give definition to your son about what a man is you need to define it and if you don't know what it is. Maybe I can help you as a writer as a author. I hope you do find that in a way that you would be excited about that definition which you can give away free son because here's what I've learned and I told it over and over again. You cannot impart to your son what you can't define and if you can't define manhood about the only thing you can do here. Dads say it all the time at ball games and stuff when they yell and scream at the son of man be a man and always one up pause that moment and just go out and say okay so what you mean by that.
We probably can tell me she is the catchphrase, but if you can add substance to that phrase you give your son. One of the greatest gifts he can ever receive.
And that is, he can at least articulate what a man is and begin hopefully to measures like bond that be the first thing the second thing is, he needs some practical applications of how to live out that manhood again. It could be minimal but at best I would want a son to know how to work just a few key work things out, wanting to know how to live with a woman which he could practice on mom and all these things are in numerous books, but if you could just get a few of those who practice it with your son and keep articulating this which is so key. Son, this is what a man is hearing what a man is from the world all the time where it's Dino the ballfield the bedroom or the board room exterior manhood you talking interior minute. This is how you love a woman you get up and help mom do this.
Your love and love you right mom on Mother's Day more than just a card with love, son. You say mom. Here's how your report you articulate because women need to hear words of affirmation words of affection the skillet to your teaching. Most likely need some practical direction just a few dad here, put your son in the big leagues with just a few directions and in the last thing which the book Monday night really focuses on.
It would be wonderful if I could instruct you on how to do a couple of manhood ceremonies where you could bring great men in his life together and just authorize him into that definition. You did those three things you move your son from elementary manhood in the big leagues that's good I want to go back to definition of it is I'm that guide tell me I'm sitting there with you having coffee at a restaurant you and I'm struggling what is the definition of manhood yeah well the definition is something I worked honestly three or four years on, because when I first started this manor journey as a young failing 20 something who was pastoring a church where men were can ask me that question. I had no answer. So just going in the Scriptures, just asking that question of finally what emerged was there really only two archetype men in Scripture. And they're both name the man there's Adam and the Hebrew word for Adam.
Dom is man and then there's the second Adam a Dom, which is Jesus Christ Becky's call the second man in the New Testament so you really have two men only in Scripture that represent true manhood. And as Herman Ritter bows the theologian said. He said every man in history falls under the shadow of either the first Adam who was unfortunately disobedient and wayward are the second Adam, who was clued in new what God expected in defining him as a man and lived it out so I took those 2 inches compared him to one another and then what I came up with skit was really just kind of a the Robert Lewis hands-on version of how you take those two men and what they were called to be in one didn't and the other did what manhood revolved around and at the heart of it.
It was around responsibility because when God created the first man he gave for responsibility so that man. They were these, they were to obey God's word to love God's woman to excel at God's work and a better God's world those of the four responsibilities are: Quadra funding manhood that every man needs to measure his life by through his life not focus on just one like men do man manhood is workable to achieve. That's one-dimensional manhood but all four and if you end up at the back end of life where I'm getting to right now and you can say you know I've really tried to pattern myself after God's word app.
I've been faithful to God's woman I've worked hard to be a good worker I saw work not is just work a sword is sacred way to honor God and through the use of my gifts were there was at my church are in my community.
I hope better.
I think you live out the script of what authentic manhood. He is now to do that you gotta do some things Adam didn't do. Adam became passive and rejected those responsibilities and I think that waywardness lives in every man ever since we all are naturally passive when it comes to social and spiritual responsibility. So to accept those four responsibilities. The first thing a man has to do is reject passivity, then he can embrace those responsibilities. But then the live out those responsibilities of a young boy like my sons need to be told that those responsibilities are hard to take everything you got.
So you gotta live courageously, you got to fight to feelings and keep going back to those even when you fail and the thing that keeps you steady in those difficult times is you've got to believe on the back in God will reward you. Okay so if I could summarize over coffee talk with you and you simply want to know what a man is his website. A real menace to reject passivity because only until he says there's some other manhood out there that's bigger than what I can make up its God's manhood son can accept responsibility for God's manhood, which entails obeying God's word loving God's woman excelling at God's work and better and God were him except those even though their heart and then over the course of time to the help of other men and God's Holy Spirit in these wordings, church and others in the live courageously and keep clawing at it so that at the end I can experience God's greater reward and all of that and walk into eternity in God say you live.
Luckily, and that's where Logan have to pause or today's episode of Focus on the Family with our guest, Robert Lewis and he had such strong insights and great wisdom. Jenny did this is really good content that every dad can draw from and as you've been listening today. I hope this conversation is really spoken to your heart and encouraged you dads can have such a powerful influence in their son's lives, modeling, godly behavior, character and integrity is a solid start and that's why Focus on the Family is here.
We have numerous resources available to you, such as our seven traits of effective parenting assessment. It's biblically based, and backed by research to help you discover your parenting strengths and areas for growth and identify the skills you need to raise healthy, mature and responsible children and we also have the book by Robert Lewis that we mention today raising a modern day night and we'd love to send you a copy as our way of saying thank you when you pledge to be a partner with the ministry of Focus on the Family on a monthly basis.
By doing so you are helping parents receive the answers they need to raise strong, healthy, resilient kids. If you can't make that kind of commitment we get that, but will also send that to you for one-time gift of any amount and donate. As you can take that assessment get your copy of raising a modern day night all the details are in the episode's on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we have more of a conversation with Robert Lewis and once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. Christmas memories and making sharing stories with your family that's depicted in the play for Focus on the Family titled family traditions this story and paint by artist Morgan was of a lively family kitchen scene will find a special place in your home and find out how to get a signed version of the special edition print and focusonthefamily.com/family traditions. That's focusonthefamily.com/family traditions