Will Tucker spent 5 years with his family in Southwest Uganda as church planters. In 2016 his wife and 4 kids moved to Houston, TX where he serves at Parkway Fellowship as the Small Groups Pastor.
I remember back in 2006, spending a weekend with a family we had never met before in a rural town in the Appalachian Mountains. The main thought my wife and I had after that weekend was, “Wow, we have never experienced a family like this.” Their 5 kids ranged from 5 to 20 years old and we never heard arguing or complaining. They served joyfully together, laughed together and participated in the adult conversations with a maturity we had never seen before.” That weekend was a pivotal moment for us. We desired this for our family as well.
I remember over that weekend asking our new friends what they did differently. What was their secret to raising 4 sons and 1 daughter to be so respectful, mature, hardworking, joyful and God fearing? Well, the list was long and full of too many things to share in an article, but one thing stuck out above them all. The 13th year call to manhood. A week alone with dad. For this family, it was a journey far north to the Boundary Waters between the U.S. and Canada. A boy, his Father and a canoe. It was a week uninterrupted by the world, to focus on the son who was going to be called to manhood. To put his childish ways behind him and join a brotherhood that would call him to something more, something valiant, something worthwhile, something to be admired, a life devoted to following God’s call on his life.
That was 2006. My oldest at that point was just 1 year old. We have arrived at that 13th year. I have been praying and waiting on God for direction and a prompting from the Holy Spirit as to where this week will take place and what is most important for my son to learn and be challenged by on our “Manabout” adventure. A few months ago, I posted (on Facebook) the thoughts below as I continued to think about the significance of this year for my son.
“This morning God has been stirring my heart about raising my sons to be men after His own heart. Shawna and I talk about it often and with my oldest turning 13 in March we are praying about a special event or weekend launching Him toward manhood. Here’s a quote from a dear friend and mentor of mine who has raise 4 boys of his own.
“Many think that being around their son is the same as being engaged with him. Dads standing along the sidelines at little league, or basketball games talking among themselves are doing better than some, but attention, not attendance is more essential to a creating the link between a dad and his son. Sitting around the campfire and chatting with our buddies while the boys go off by themselves is not ample. There must be communication. Fatherhood requires both talking and listening, because, while talking fills a boy’s mind, listening opens his heart. Listening endears him to his father. Listening shows interest, and knowing that your dad is interested in you communicates that he thinks you are special.” –exerpt from Stephen Meeks’ e-book Turning Boys Into Men.
There is so much that goes into planning this pivotal moment for my son. There is the journey to the place. The emphasis at the place, ie. hunting, camping, hiking, fishing… There are the things to be communicated and the moments to listen and hear my son’s heart. There are the other men I want involved, like grandfathers, uncles and mentors. And finally, the culminating moment where my son has the opportunity to experience being sent, being commissioned and being received into a brotherhood of men who will hold him accountable and journey the road of life with him, always calling him “up.”
More later as the journey continues…