Father Figures

By Kersley Fitzgerald

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This is no surprise to most women. This is why when the transgender bathroom debacle came on the scene, and men around the country jumped on their soap boxes and decried the loss of opportunity for their children and women-folk to pee in safety, so many of my female friends rolled their eyes and said, "What makes you think we were safe before?"

We have a need for bull elephants in our society that aren't idiots. We have a need for men to raise boys and teach them what it is like to be godly men. And I'm not just talking about men raising their sons. I'm talking about Christian men going out in their community and finding boys who need guidance — boys who are hungry for it. Men who will publically raise the standard of what it is to be a man, and then willingly help boys get there. Men who see beyond their family or their church, who look for the boys their neighbors condemn and teach them how to be good instead of publically labeling them as bad.

Take your son to youth group, but take his friends, too. Better yet, lead a discipleship group with them. Find an organization like the Boy Scouts; offer to volunteer, and find boys in your neighborhood who would benefit. Get involved with a mentoring program, or Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or after-school tutoring, or coaching.

One of the most giving, influential men I've ever met was my Tae Kwon Do instructor. Every Saturday, he would end training with a short Bible study. It was amazing to me what the kids didn't understand about God. But this big youth pastor/bouncer/black belt would patiently teach Who God really is and what it means to follow Him. We met in an upper story in a strip mall on the leeward side of O'ahu. (It was hot.) But no one wanted to leave. The kids were so hungry, and Charles was there to feed them the love of God they needed.

Another is my friend Lairs Johnston, the author of "I'm Male, I'm in my 20s. And I have something to say to the girl who got raped at Stanford." He spent a year living in a boys' home, helping 18- and 19-year olds who had aged out of foster care but still didn't know how to live on their own. Only a few years older than his charges, Lairs literally lived life with them, teaching them about girls, jobs, and why you shouldn't play X-Box all day. In exchange, he gave up his privacy and his free time, and still had to work a full-time job.

But don't be my high school biology teacher, the boys' cross-country coach. As a Christian, he wanted to instill values into his team members, but did it in a way that caused more harm than good. Trying to relate purity to something they valued, he told his boys that dating and sex would hurt their performance, and they shouldn't bother with girls when they needed to concentrate on running. Most of the team took a more balanced approach. But those who already had over-bearing fathers heard "girls are bad and hold you back." They took the advice to the extreme and became the most misogynistic and cruel teenagers you've ever seen.

Over the past couple of decades, Christian fathers have stepped up to parenting with an intensity that's sometimes overwhelming. Unfortunately, that trend has been paralleled to a degree by an "us against them" mentality that turns other, struggling, boys into enemies. I want to challenge you dads to look beyond your fortified castle and into the bigger world. To kids who aren't Christians, don't have dads — or have dads who never developed passed adolescence themselves. Teach them a God-centered view of themselves and others. Introduce them to Jesus so He can work in their hearts.

In doing that, you may make your neighborhood a little calmer, your family a little safer, and a few young elephants a little less violent. But most importantly, you'll accomplish the mission Christ set for you.

To read "Emily Doe's" eloquent statement, see here.

I'd love to hear your ideas of how men can mentor boys in need in their communities. But bear in mind that victim-shaming comments will be removed.

Image Credit: woodleywonderworks; "heartfelt coaching"; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Controversial-Issues  | Current-Issues  | Ministry-Church  | Personal-Relationships  | Sin-Evil

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Published 6-8-16