There is a war on the masculine soul. Many boys are growing up with no real masculine influence. Gender confusion is rising. In many places (homes, offices, institutional churches), a Feminist worldview is blocking the male energy. Just within the last year or two, a father in Texas lost his lawsuit to keep his son’s mother from raising the boy as a female. Before we fully see the damage among men and boys in our Western culture, it may be another generation.
Boys need strong masculine influence, especially from their fathers. But, the truth is, most men must also acknowledge their lack of strong, influential fathers.
You may regret that your dad was absent from your development. You may have missed the relationship you saw other boys have with their dads. Maybe you wished that your dad threw a ball with you, listened to your questions about girls or cars, or cared about what you wanted to be when you grew up.
For some men, there is a dad-shaped hole in their lives. John Eldredge writes, “Every boy on his journey to becoming a man takes an arrow in the center of his heart, in the place of his strength. Because the wound is rarely discussed and rarely healed, every man carries a wound. And the wound is nearly always given by his father.”
During the early quarantine of the Covid pandemic, my youngest son took up skateboarding. He got pretty good. So for Christmas, he wanted a snowboard. I was hesitant. He’d never snowboarded before. He watched some YouTubers and thought it would be fun. I told him it was nothing like skateboarding. But he was determined.
So, he got a snowboard.
That weekend we hit the slopes. He hurried to the ski lift and rode it up a moderate hill. Until then, he had only practiced on a small hill in our yard. This slope was formidable for a beginner. He stepped onto his board and nudged to the edge of the mountain. As I watched from below, I saw him push off…and fall! Then I saw him get up, get his balance and go again. He fell. He fell just about all the way down the hill.
When he reached the bottom, I could see frustration and disappointment on his face. He had forgotten how long it took him to balance his skateboard and learn those techniques. I could see the disconnect in his eyes. “I can skate. Why isn’t it working on slopes?”
As he sat at the bottom of the hill, I knew this was an influential moment. So rather than an “I told you so,” I said, “Good try.” His response? “I think I’ll try a smaller hill.” I agreed. He boarded for two hours. Falling often. But encouraged frequently. “Bend your knees. Keep your head up. Give it another try.” By the following weekend, he was cruising! He returned to the hill that gave him his first defeat and boarded down without falling! He’s getting better.
What would have happened if I did say, “I told you so. You’ll never get this. Pack it in!” Those words would have been an arrow through his heart. He would live with a deep wound.
Masculinity is bestowed from one man to another. From a man to a boy. From a father to a son. A boy learns who he is and what he’s got from a man. He cannot learn it from a woman. He cannot learn it from other boys. The father must bless his son, conferring masculinity upon him. Then boys will become kings.
A sad reality is that many men are walking around trying to find the blessing their father never gave them. Men are looking for help, respect, and guidance – a picture of real masculinity – never given to them, thus crippling their growth from boyhood to manhood. You may be one of those men.
The curse can stop with you! You may be crippled, creeping through life without your father’s blessing. That hurts! It can be undone but will require focused work and significant mentoring by other men. But you must not pass this on to your sons. Stop the bleeding. Bless your boy.
How will you get this done? Here’s what’s always worked. Use this as a starting point.
- Time spent makes a world of difference. Looking back on my own life, I have few memories of time spent with my father.
Some of the most recent research suggests that the average dad spends seven minutes daily on focused attention. That’s not going to get it done! Absenteeism may cause your son to feel emotionally distressed, guilty, or sad. Over time, a lack of attention could lead your son into risky behavior.
- Blaze some trails together. Share an adventure. Walking through the woods is bonding time well spent. In ancient cultures, there was the belief that a boy only becomes a man through ritual and effort. There is a story from one tribal tradition where the men take the boys away for initiation. They are taken away from their mothers and into the woods. When he returns, the mother pretends not to know her son and asks to be introduced to “this young man.” What a beautiful picture of passage from boyhood into manhood. The son moves from his mother’s world to his father’s world.
- Show them how to be strong. My boys loved the wrestling matches on the living room floor when they were younger. They’d come and jump on me, hungering for a challenge and physical touch. They’d try and pin me down. As they got older (and stronger), it was arm wrestling. Boys love to test their strength.
Your strength will inspire them. They’ll care for themselves in the way they see you care for yourself. Your strength and confidence will inspire them.
- Help them discover their purpose. We no longer have the gift of apprenticeship built into our culture. There were days when boys could learn a valuable craft that would produce a remarkable career. But boys still need help discovering their gifts and purpose.
We talk about this often in my house. We see the value not only in education but in living life with purpose, finding a way to do what you love pivoting when necessary. My boys have always been encouraged to try many new experiences. Sometimes their choices have surprised me, but I appreciate their willingness to try.
The war on the masculine soul is real. Boys and men are on the front line every day. We are in the battle whether we want to be or not. Save your son and give him a fighting chance!
A boy will never be a man if his masculinity is stripped from him. The world is full of men who have never been initiated into manhood. Don’t miss the chance you have.