My son Hayden was turning 9, and I knew that his double digit trip was important. You may be thinking, what is a double digit and why is it important? Well, in America we donâ€™t have clear transitions from boyhood to manhood. And boys DO NOT become Godly men by accident. We lack clear definitions and thus most boys learn to measure their progress into manhood by the billfold (money), the bedroom (sexual conquests) and the boardroom (success in careers). I wanted something different for my son and His double digit trip was his first ceremony that clearly defined and celebrated what that difference would be.
Hayden is an amazing boy, but we were having struggles with his relentless strong will which he demonstrated through arguing about most things, making excuses for behavior, and simply trying to get out of being responsible for himself. To guide me in my journey I researched Scriptures on Biblical manhood and read books like King Me (Steve Farrar) and Raising a Modern Day Knight (Robert Lewis). I also sought out the advice of men who had raised boys who became men who love Jesus. My son Hayden is a true warrior. And all warriors wield incredible power to help or to harm depending on who they serve and are loyal to. I, like many of you reading this, want my son to bend his knee and surrender his life to live for God and not self. So, you are likely wondering how the double digit trip helps? Great question.
First, the trip takes him away from his family, friends and normal life. We then have an open space and the margin for him to hear from me and God in ways that typically aren’t available in his normal routines. This was our â€śmanâ€™sâ€ť trip and he had looked forward to it since I took his sister on her double digit trip two years earlier.
Second, I wanted to grow closer in our relationship. And men and boys do this best through activities and most specifically adventures. You can go hiking, camping, fishing or something way different. We chose to go to Legoland, a marine wildlife center, six flags, and the zoo. We shared meals at fun restaurants. At the Rainforest restaurant the waiter had him standing on a seat by a Gorilla and beating his chest in front of the entire restaurant. In that moment he was ushered into bravery by a waiter who called him out to not be afraid of what people think. He was able to be himself and embrace the moment.
Third, I had very clear messages I wanted to sow into his heart. I wanted him to reject passivity, accept responsibility for himself and those God calls him to, and lead courageously no matter who follows. I shared these messages while we drove, on our adventures, and when we faced adversity during our trip. When you are looking for them, circumstances will provide the backdrop to teach these lessons. We were rained out on the day we planned to go to six flags and he was heart broken as this was the highlight of our trip for him. We prayed and discussed how God calls us to handle unmet expectations as we ate lunch. We then purchased ponchos and headed to the theme park. As soon as we parked and got our ponchos on the sun came outâ€¦Amazing! We were only a handful of people that were at the park because of the rain and we have a story about Godâ€™s faithfulness along with other situations that didnâ€™t work out. We had the entire car ride home to process the adventures we had and the lessons we have learned. And by Godâ€™s grace and faithfulness, Hayden has accepted the calling up and has done better at rejecting passivity, accepting responsibility, and leading courageously since our trip.
So where are you today? You may feel like its too late or this is too overwhelming to even think about starting. I have great news, God is on your side. In Malachi 4:6 God says; â€śHe will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.
* What are three actionable steps you can take this week to begin preparing to raise your son to become a Godly man?
Here is one step I took when I realized that I needed help. I sought out other Godly men who had sons and others that I knew would love my son and invest in him. I knew I couldnâ€™t do this alone and you donâ€™t have to either! And if you are a single mom this step is crucial because we cannot give away what we donâ€™t possess.
Shawn Maguire is the Owner of New Vision Counseling in Oklahoma City OK where he serves with a team of counselors to help individuals, marriages, and families recapture the vision God has for their lives.