“YOU DID THAT ON PURPOSE!” my 7 year old bellows at his 11 year old brother. It’s a familiar refrain, one that many a parent has heard echoing down the hallway many a time. Almost always, the ‘thing’ that was done ‘on purpose’ is something decidedly less than benevolent, usually teetering on the brink of just plain mean. Brothers do that, of course. It’s all part of sibling rivalry. It doesn’t *usually* do any real lasting damage.
It makes me wonder, though: Dads, are we raising our sons ‘on purpose’?
Too many statistics tell a sad commentary on the state of fatherhood today. It requires very little effort to find an article, or a statistic, that bemoans the absence, either physical or psychological, of fathers, and the devastating effect such absence has upon sons who need very much to know what it means to be a man; these sons unfortunately tend to find their definition of manhood from a variety of ill-suited sources. It requires much greater effort to find stories of inspiration, whereby a father is the hero to his son, trains his son well, and initiates him well into the world of men. Such a son grows into the various stages of boy/manhood with a kind, strong, and engaged father, and has no question in his mind who he is.
But, again, such a father is hard to find. Because such a father must be a practitioner of Intentional Fatherhood.
To be an intentional father, we must be ready, willing, and able to fully and completely engage in the lives of our sons. It simply is not enough just to ‘stay married'(though that certainly helps), or attend the occasional ballgame. No, intentional fathers are present, aware, and always ready to engage. We need to be intentional.
Speaking of that, my 11 year old son just asked me to help him fight an air-soft battle in the front yard. Gotta go!