On Father’s Day – A Father’s Advice To His Sons

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Father-SonAs Father’s Day approaches, I find myself thinking often about my relationships with my young sons and wondering if I’m doing a good enough job teaching and modeling what a man should be.

I worry about the world they’ll face and what kind of men they will turn out to be.

When I look at them I see both my past and my future.  My past has some good memories, but also some regrets.  I don’t want them to fall prey to the same mistakes I’ve made.  If they do, their futures may turn out to be less than they can possibly imagine when they get there.

With that in mind, I sat down to list out the major challenges I see in their future.

In today’s world, most of them will be common to all men so I thought I would share the list with the rest of the world.

 

A Father’s Advice For His Sons:

 

1.    Don’t Give In – Always Face Your Fear

Baby Fighting Dragon
Slaying the Dragon of Fear

 

You’re young right now, so it’s understandable that you’re scared of the dark.  After all, that’s where the monsters are waiting to jump from the shadows.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons you can’t wait to “get big”.  But getting older doesn’t promise to remove the fear from your life.

Throughout your life, you will face times when you are scared.  Don’t think you’re alone.  Everyone has fear.  Yes, everyone.  Yes, even me.  No one is immune.

As you get older there will be bigger and different types of monsters.

So what’s a guy to do?  Should you just try to avoid the things you fear?

No, that’s not the answer.  In fact, it’s not possible.

You won’t ever be able to totally escape fear, but what you can control is how you respond.

You see, cowards and heroes face fear differently.  Heroes face fear with courage.  Heroes recognize that fear can’t defeat them unless they allow it to, so they go directly toward their fears and attack them head-on.

A courageous response to fear and uncertainty will define who you become.

With courage, you will be able to do what is right regardless of whether it’s popular.

And as your courage grows, so will your depth of character.

 

2.    Your Character is Priceless – Don’t Squander It

Lincoln character quote
Lincoln on character

 

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” – Proverbs 22:1

Character is the foundation upon which you will build your life.

Just as a skyscraper shouldn’t be built on a weak foundation, a good reputation cannot be built on a weak character.

You’ve heard the saying, “Your character is what you do when no one else is watching.”

This is true because even though others may not know about your character faults, you will always know.  And that knowledge of who you really are inside will handicap your ability to become all you are meant to be.

 

3.    Be Known For Working Harder Than Anyone Else

Hard Work

 

God worked for 6 out of 7 of the earth’s first days – almost 90% of the first week on earth.

God is a worker.  He takes joy in creating.

God created humans in His image (to be workers like he is).  Work was part of His design to bring joy and fulfillment.  God never intended for us to be bored or miserable with our work.  He wants us to take pleasure in our work by using our talents to help others and by being creative ourselves.

In fact, we should be ready and willing to work harder and better than the person next to us.

Don’t just wander through life doing what you think others want you to do.  If you do, you’ll wake up miserable in a 9 to 5 job that you can’t stand.

Instead, find your one thing — something you’re really good at and enjoy — something that also benefits others — and then get to work doing that “job” to the best of your ability.  If you can find that one thing you’re good at, your job will be enjoyable most of the time and will seem more like play.

 

4.    You Are a Reflection of Your 5 Closest Friends

Boys from Stand by Me
Your Posse

 

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.  Whether we like it or not, we are greatly influenced by those closest to us.  They affect our way of thinking, our self-esteem, and our decisions.

The same is true for you.  If you hang out for a long time with someone who has a different value system, either you will change or they will change.

The people you spend the majority of your time with will influence the choices you make and the actions you take today and tomorrow.

It is my prayer that you will surround yourself with wise and intelligent friends.

 

 

5.    Guard Your Heart And Your Mind

Dirty Stuff Online

 

More than ever before, boys and men are being subjected to temptation – and it comes from everywhere.

From magazines to television, and especially from the internet – men are under constant assault from titillating and suggestive images.

If you’re not careful, these images can lead you down the rabbit hole of porn addiction.

 

 

I would dare say, the majority of men you know have a porn problem…

…sneaking a peek on their laptops late at night…

…sneaking a peek on their smartphones…

What’s the problem you might ask?  It’s a private matter isn’t it?

As men, we’re called to take a stand for our families and our nation, and to defend the dignity of women.

Porn is a trap.  It tempts you with promises of fulfillment and mires you in guilt, shame, and deception.

Porn affects your relationships with both men and women. You will know who you are and what you’re hiding.  Because of that guilt, you live constant in fear that others will find out who you really are.

Are you listening to me?

Don’t sell yourself short by accepting second best – for yourself or for the woman you will one day love.

 

6.    Remember – Everything Counts

Funny Sign
Funny Sign

 

Not just some things…

Everything counts.

It’s not just this day that counts, but every second within this day.  Each one of them is important and how you spend them determines what your future will look like.

Will your future be filled with blessings, or full of struggle?

 

The decisions you’re making right now will determine the answer to this question.

What you think matters.

What you say matters.

What you eat matters.

What you look at matters.

What you choose to do with the majority of your time matters.

Don’t be afraid to live fully and appreciate today, but be sure to make consistently smart choices…

…because they all count.

 

7. Know that Marriage is a Covenant

Cake Couple
Cake Couple

 

Marriage predates civil governments and is more than a legal document or just a good thing for society.

It may not be a popular thing to say these days, but marriage is a covenant between you, your wife, and God.

Most agreements are between two parties.  But this one is different.

Imagine a triangle with God at the top and you and your wife across from each other at the bottom two corners.  If you want to have a strong marriage, you need to strengthen your relationship with God.

The quality of your relationship with God will be evident for everyone to see in the way you treat your wife.

 

 

8. After You Mess Up, Make It Right

Funny Mistake
Whoops

 

We all screw up, and that is a fact.

Don’t worry so much about being perfect, but instead, when you do screw up, be quick to make it right.  Pride, bruised feelings, embarrassment – all of these tend to prevent men from being able to admit their mistakes.

Accept the responsibility for what you thought, said, or did (or what you neglected to do).

What’s done is done.

But…

It’s what you do next that really matters and leads to maturity and wisdom.

Ask for forgiveness where necessary, then put it behind you.

Most importantly, learn not to make that same mistake again.

 

9. Stewardship

stewardship

 

When we think of stewardship we automatically think of money.

Before there was money, what do you think people were responsible for managing?

Their time?

Their talent?

Their relationships?

Yes — to all of those, and more.

In this busy world full of distractions, we tend to forget that we are accountable for managing each and every aspect of our lives.

Stewardship refers to how you manage whatever you’ve been given.

We should manage everything we have with a sense of gratitude, recognizing that we’re only here for a short time.

It all belongs to God anyway.

When you look at it with this perspective, it’s a lot easier to manage what you have with a purpose in mind.

What have you been given son, and how will you invest those things?

 

 

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