I chaperoned a recent trip taken by our church’s youth group and had the privilege of transporting two pre-teen boys in my car. One of the boys was my grandson, and the other was the son of one of our church men, who is a good ol’ boy and fine Christian man. From the conversations we had for those many hours we traveled, it became apparent that this youth considers his dad to be his hero; in fact, he said as much. The dad is a hard-working man, doing whatever he needs to do to take care of his family. Some of the information I learned about this man’s care for his family led me to the understanding that he is a true warrior for them. And I am happy this young man understands the value of his dad and appreciates him.
As I listened to the discussion, however, I have to admit I felt a twinge of sadness for my grandson, sitting in that car listening to this kid idolize his dad. Our daughter is a single mother, raising three young boys. They currently live with us, while their mom saves for their own home. These boys represent for me a generation abandoned by their birth fathers and who are many times left to their own devices.
My husband is able to tell our grandsons about life as an older Christian man, and he models behavior that helps the boys understand how a man should love God and his family. What he is unable to do with the same vigor as a younger Christian man is the physical stuff little boys need. And if you didn’t know this, the activity level of three boys is mostly non-stop and completely exhausting.
Kids everywhere need to learn how to play sports and be a productive member of a team. They need to “hang out” with younger Christian men and observe how they conduct themselves and represent Christ in their daily lives, thus learning how to properly conduct themselves.
Younger Christian men face the same challenges that men my husband’s age may have already experienced and have moved beyond. While an older man may be able to tell a kid how he responded to those challenges when he was their ages, it helps them to see someone actually in process as he struggles through and makes good decisions. They need to watch this younger man’s wheels turning–see his facial expressions, hear the thought processes.
Young Christian men, we need you.
We need you to take the things you have learned from your Savior and from the men in your life and “pay it forward.” If you have the blessing of a great father in your life, rejoice! I ask you to consider this as well–God didn’t give you that great father and the blessing of salvation for you to keep it to yourself. He is calling you to model it to the boys in your churches, the ones in your neighborhoods and in the rest of your world.
Are you up for the challenge? Look out there—do you see them? A generation of abandoned little boys who need you.
All right, then, to arms!