Thursday, December 29, 2011
A Vision for Men in Training
Helping our boys become men is more than a little challenging, especially in a world filled with competing interests. Why get firewood in, take out the garbage and clean your room when there are video games to be played and apps to be downloaded to your iGadget? Why should a young man bother with leading the family in prayer in the morning when he could be getting a few extra minutes of shut-eye? Why think beyond your own selfish desires when you are only young once, after all - you will be a man when you grow up, right?
Wrong. Unless we train our boys to be men when they are young, they will be nothing but boys when they are grown. Unfortunately, we live in a society that no longer respects the position of men. We undermine their authority. We ridicule their masculinity. We marginalize their existence. We treat them like children who are incapable of managing themselves, much less lead a family or a nation.
Master Hand Grenade is a sixteen year old man. He is not perfect. He is a work in progress. He still wavers between boy and man, but the balance has tipped in the mans favor. He has begun to have a vision.
Biblically, a man fulfills four offices when serving his family. He is the priest of his home. He is a prophet. He is a provider. He is a protector. In our quest to help our boys become men, we have realized that not just a father is responsible to be a priest, prophet, provider and protector, but that our young men can and should step into those roles in the absence of or in conjunction with their father.
Sir Knight is gone during the day, working to provide for his family. He leaves before the children are out of bed and doesn't return home until it's time for dinner. Master Hand Grenade could choose to be a child and laze around all day expecting to be taken care of, however, he chooses to be a man and act in his fathers stead. His father has given him a vision of what a man must be and Master Hand Grenade would be ashamed to be merely a boy.
Each morning, Hand Grenade leads our little band in prayer. He takes prayer requests, prays over the concerns of the day and asks for the wisdom to discern the scriptures we are reading. In doing so, he takes on the role of "priest" for this family.
Being a prophet is a bit more challenging. Sir Knight is chief prophet in our home, however, Master Hand Grenade listens and learns. He looks to the future, sees the signs of the times and helps his dad formulate plans to keep our family walking in the way of truth. By adhering to the proverb "A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it" (Proverbs 22:3) he is fulling the office of "prophet".
Understanding the role of a provider is easy in theory but much more challenging to execute. Sir Knight works every day and brings home a paycheck, therefore providing for the family, but how can Master Hand Grenade provide for our family? He doesn't have a paying job. He can only hunt during hunting season. What is a young man to do? He can do his chores (without being asked, doing them thoroughly and with a good attitude). By sawing, splitting and bringing in firewood, Master Hand Grenade is providing heat for our family. By taking out the garbage, he is providing a clean home in which we ladies can work. By keeping the oil in the generator changed and the gas tank full, he provides us with power to keep the house running. Sir Knight depends on Master Hand Grenade to provide for our physical necessities in his absence. If that isn't fulfilling the office of "provider", I don't know what is!
Being a protector is something every little boys dreams of. What boy doesn't daydream about vanquishing the enemy and restoring peace to his little kingdom - of being the hero? Sir Knight has spent many an hour teaching Hand Grenade the complexities of keeping our family safe. When Sir Knight drives off in the morning, he does so with the calm assurance that if need be, Hand Grenade would give his life defending me and his siblings. Rather than wasting time killing bad guys on the latest video game, Master Hand Grenade has shouldered the responsibility of protecting real-live people, his people, in his fathers absence. By protecting us, he is about his fathers business.
By the grace of God, Master Hand Grenade has never had to fulfill the role of protector - until last week, that is. When the kids and I were in town, doing some last minute shopping before Christmas, an obviously drunk man approached my daughters, who were standing outside our truck. Quick as a flash, I was out of the truck, racing to stand between my daughters and this potential threat, but before I could get there, Master Hand Grenade had stationed his body squarely in front of the drunkard. Then, the most amazing thing happened. Master Hand Grenade grew 6 inches. No, really, he did! My son is already 3 inches taller than I am, but in the space of about 4 seconds, he gained the status of a giant. Suddenly the drunk man looked up, saw "Captain America" standing in front of him, and instantly became compliant and non-threatening. Having been trained to be a man, Master Hand Grenade didn't hesitate to put himself between his girls and a very real threat. Sir Knight's faith had been well placed.
Our country needs men. Real men. Our great desire is to raise such men. Master Hand Grenade is well on his way. Master Calvin is following in his footsteps. They will fall, they will fail, but we will help them back up, dust them off and give them a vision for what could be - what should be. They are men in training.