Boys to Men, Part II (continued from previous blog).
When I was sixteen years old, I was kicked off the basketball team for bad grades. The night my dad found out, I walked into the house, totally expecting my head to roll across the kitchen floor! There my dad stood, arms crossed, wearing his famous scowl and anger flashed in his eyes. When my brother, sister and I were screwing around as kids, one look from him brought us right back into order—not out of love, but rather complete fear.
Do not get me wrong: I believe a little fear is healthy, but only when motivated from a father’s heart.
Before he had the chance to start yelling at me, I spoke up, “You know dad: it really doesn’t matter what I do. I could NEVER live up to your expectations! I am never good enough, I never do anything, right and you will never be happy with me!” For nearly an hour I stood there, not only speaking my own words, but also the Holy Spirit was helping me by telling my dad how I really felt at a deep level. My dad stood, never changing that scowl, but… listening.
He uncrossed his arms, his face changed and tears started rolling down his cheeks. He said, “Son, you know if I lined you up with all of your friends, and I didn’t know you, I would choose you every time to be my son. You are full of God, and full of life. You are head and shoulders above your friends, and you will be able to do anything you want in life because you are just you, and you are amazing!”
That was it.
My father— seemingly out of no where— spoke identity deep into my soul and told me—maybe imparted to me— who I was and whose I was. I was his son, and I was his choice! Bigger than that: I was God’s choice!!
Everything changed that day. He did not become a perfect father, and I did not become a perfect son, but we had a new understanding— maybe without even knowing it—that identity and life had happened.
I ended my last blog with the statement that I believe a big part of the answer for the “orphan spirit” that covers a generation is in our young men especially. I want to explain that further now.
Young ladies are “initiated” in life by nature and circumstance. Menstrual cycles, birthing babies, living in a mostly man’s world — they have no way of controlling many things that happen to them, and they just have to accept that. Girls enter the world with an innate sense of vulnerability. They have to look at the world through eyes of serving and circumstance right from the beginning, and generally cannot choose many things for themselves. It is chosen for them.
Girls are more naturally initiated into becoming women.
Boys, on the other hand, can control almost everything. They have no built in “initiation” system, so they need men to speak identity and manhood into them. They control most situations, and they never have to allow anything significant to just happen to them. So on the whole, they “grow-up” as little boys and stay little boys trying to control and manipulate everyone and everything around them.
That is what boys do.
The cycle we see repeating itself generation after generation happens when there are NO men to model and speak manhood. Today this has left us with uninitiated and unidentified, emasculated young men.
It is the epitome of a jezebel spirit— In the biblical book of 1Kings, Jezebel convinced a mighty prophet of God and a whole nation that they were worthless. She literally emasculated her young men servants and tried to kill any man or person that had purpose or stood against her.
The great part of the story in 2Kings 9 is it’s the eunuchs— the emasculated ones—who threw her off the building for Jehu to trample with his horse! Brilliant story—one of my life messages!
Men: It is our responsibly to demonstrate, and then speak identity into the next generation. One genuine word from a man who knows his identity can change the whole course of a young person’s life!
Where are you? We have a generation of boys that have mostly been raised by mothers.
(Moms, hear me very clearly: you are the heroes! You stay when men leave, you fight when no one else will. I believe almost every single mother is doing the very best she can, and are likely going to be first in heaven.)
When boys do not have a man’s presence, perspective, and life-source, boys never grow up. They rarely take responsibility for anything and they would rather lie on the couch, play X-box, or hide behind a computer and phone than conquer the world!
See, young men, we were created to create! As men, we insert ourselves into every situation with the expressed purpose to bring life. We insert ourselves into a work place, a ministry, school, anywhere, and we are to make that place look just like the Garden of Eden—teeming with life, beauty, and the presence of God.
Everywhere we put our foot down, and every life we touch is supposed to look better. If we are men with identity and purpose, we will make everything look more like God. That is our mandate! And, when we do anything less than that, women have little reason to even respect us. If we are not creating life, we are bringing death, and no woman can follow that.
Ladies, for the most part you are doing it! Out here in our mission programs and leadership schools, we are nine women to every one boy. Young women: you fight when no one else will, and I am very, very proud of you. Keep showing up and keep showing us how to lead!
I understand young men that education is “god” of America. In most families, you go to college or are cut out, and I see the sentiment: education is vital. But, the education system we have is a joke. Many students are so racked with debt by the time they are done that they will forever have golden hand-cuffs on and never do what’s in their hearts or that for which they were created.
There is a better way.
In my next blog I want to explore the difference between boys and men. And how, no matter how old you are, can you “Fall” into the second half of life, your true-self?
RICHARD ROHR IS BLOGGING ON “INITIATION” RIGHT NOW; SIGN UP TO GET THE REST OF THE WEEK FOR FREE!
1. “INITIATION” (Sunday, May 22nd 2016)
2. “LIFE IS HARD” (Monday, May 23rd 2016)
3. “YOU ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT” (Tuesday May 24th)
4. “YOUR LIFE IS NOT ABOUT YOU” (Wednesday, May 25th)
5. “YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL” (Thursday, May 26th)
6. “YOU ARE GOING TO DIE” (Friday, May 27th)
Continued next week…