There is an old legend regarding the Cherokee Indian youth’s Rite of Passage. When a boy is ready to become a man, the father takes his son into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a tree stump the entire night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. After he survives the night, he is considered a man. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each boy must come into manhood on his own.
The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even humans who might do him harm.
During one boy’s ordeal the wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It was the only way he could become a man! Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.
This story is a perfect illustration of how a father protects and guides his son. His protection is proactive but often in the background where it cannot be seen. As men we are frequently called upon to use our long-range vision, discernment, and experience to protect those we love without them even knowing what is happening. It is how men teach and guide our protégés and those we love. And teaching and guidance about life from a father is very often how boys spell love.
What are you doing as a father to proactively protect and guide your son?
Portions excerpted from That’s My Teenage Son, Revell Publishing, 2011, by Rick Johnson. You can find out more at www.betterdads.net.