One way to judge the degree of power or influence that something has is to observe what happens when it is absent. God has given men, especially fathers, tremendous power to influence the lives of those around them. In particular the lives of women and children are hugely impacted by what a man does or doesn’t do with his life. For instance men who are good fathers and husbands mightily bless the lives of their wives and children. Those men who are absent, abusive or unconnected have just as big of a negative influence in the lives of their families. For a boy, his father is the most important role model in his life.
Most men I know either don’t recognize or don’t understand this power. When I speak at conferences on the tremendous power men have, they are always surprised and somewhat shocked. I suspect it is because our culture never tells them of this life-changing energy God bestowed upon us. In fact, just the opposite, our society (movies, television, commercials, etc.) seems to go out of its way to destroy and belittle masculinity.
Like anything with great power, masculinity has the potential for life or for death. It all depends on how and why it is used. Our culture fears the potential negative effects of masculine power and so tries to squelch it before it reaches its potential. Masculinity gone awry has destroyed many lives and damaged much that is helpless and defenseless in our world. Perhaps this fear of the power of masculinity causes many to try and diminish it instead of nurturing it to it full positive potential; to cage it so it cannot cause harm. If we (especially men) do not train boys how to be good men, we shouldn’t expect anything other than what we get in return.
What are you doing to train your son to be a man?
Portions excerpted from That’s My Teenage Son, Revell Publishing, 2011, by Rick Johnson