10 of the Most Common Father-Fears That Rattle Men When They Think of Raising Boys

Listen to 10 of the most common responses dads give when asked about rearing boys.


1-    It feels like he is growing up so fast and time is slipping away.

2-    I want to be a great dad, but I’m afraid I’m not giving him all he needs.

3-    I’m afraid the culture is teaching my son to be effeminate.

4-    I told myself that I would not repeat my father’s mistakes, but I see myself making them.

5-    I am afraid I’m too late.

6-    I don’t know how to connect with him.

7-    I’m not sure I’m doing what I need to be doing for my son at his age.

8-    I feel like it might be wrong, somehow, to focus on men and being males.

9-    I want to reach out and help boys who are not my own, but I’m not sure how it might be viewed by others.

10-    I’m afraid I’ll look back with regrets for not having done more.


It is clear that Dads (and mentors) want their kids to be loved and be prepared for life. In fact, they want them to have a better shot at success than they had themselves. Therein is the problem – far too often, these dads didn’t have healthy examples of what a father does to be a great dad. They come limping to the race – willing but ill-equipped.  One of the pervasive feelings men have is of inadequacy. Unsure of what to do, they either reach from an age-old grab-bag of failed ideas on what a boy should become and how to get him there, or they procrastinate, or they abdicate and leave it to the boys to discover and work it out with their mothers, coaches, schools, or the media.  This is why gangs are on the rise, more boys are turning into gun“men”, and suicide is rising among teen boys. Dads want what’s right for their kids; they just need some help.


What these insecure fathers need, in the absence of training or an example from their fathers, is a coach. They need men to guide them on how to march their sons into manhood. However, finding such caliber coaches locally is challenging, if not impossible, in many instances. Thankfully, a few online mentors are stepping up to fill the gap with counsel, advice, examples, and tools for the sincere Pop who wants to deal with the responses in our list that apply to him.


It is a tough predicament men face. Western culture doesn’t provide many good ideas for it’s men, though, ironically other cultures seem to have some help for their guys. Those people often find in their ancient rites of passage proven steps for starting a boy on a healthy path into manhood and creating a healthy, vibrant communication with his father and connection to the men of his society at the same time. This planned step into manhood is smart. For us too, a rite of passage would serve as a good place to start a boy on his journey into manhood. Any father or mentor can lead a willing boy through a meaningful once-in-a-lifetime adventure if the father himself is willing to be guided. The good news is that that guidance is available. Manabouts.com, after 20 years of development, has intentionally produced a step-by-step video course for men ready to lead their boys into manhood. It is a powerful and thorough online course designed to make sure time doesn’t slip away, that dads aren’t too late, that father and son will connect, and that there are no regrets. With dads’ fears rising, manabouts.com brings a wind of relief and returns the father-son connection and experience our culture we had all but lost.

The Top 10 Attributes that College-aged Christian Women Desire from a Potential Spouse


Chad Everhart serves as one of nine regional campus missionaries for the Kentucky Baptist Convention as well as Campus Minister to the University of the Cumberlands.  After ten years serving as a professor and department chair of architecture and construction management at Appalachian State University, Chad answered God’s call to a mission field and people group for which his previous vocation prepared him:  college students.  He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a dissertation focus on professors as key disciple makers.  Besides being a major school nerd, Chad loves to hike, surf, hunt, fish, and farm.  He and his wife, April, have been married for 12 years and have four young children.



Lately, I have been convicted by the Lord about making too many assumptions on how to serve college students best.  As a campus minister, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on their needs; however, I have been humbled by the errors of many of my presuppositions.  In response, I have been diligent to survey students and find out what they really want and need before engaging in certain ministry activities.  The result has been much more fruitful ministry and greater participation.


As men, we can do the same thing when concerning relationships with women.  It is easy to assume we know what women need and want from us as a spouse.  Rather than making assumptions based on previous experiences and influences such as entertainment, social media, and other male figures, should we not ask women instead?


Based on a survey conducted of numerous college-aged Christian women, the following are the top 10 attributes they desire in a potential future spouse:


  1. Leads the Wife Closer to Christ – The number 1, most mentioned attribute desired by the young women surveyed was to be led closer to Christ by their husband. More than anything, they hope that the man of their dreams will help them have a stronger relationship with Jesus.
  2. God is the Center of His Life – A close second, college-aged women desire a future spouse that will love God more than them. This may seem surprising, but a devoted female follower of Jesus understands that God is first in their own life and should be in their spouse’s as well.
  3. Must be a Servant of the Church – When considering how numerous the female volunteers for church and campus ministry activities are in comparison to the minimal amount of male volunteers, it is no surprise that young women want a man that will serve with them and set the standard for service.
  4. Leads their Family Well – Contrary to the prominent cultural narrative that women desire to lead their families, numerous college-aged women hope for a husband that will lead them and their children with courage, excellence, and devotion. Male passivity is not a longing they possess.
  5. Fully Committed and Hardworking – Women don’t want a lethargic and apathetic husband. Not only should they be fully committed to the marriage covenant, but they should work hard and with excellence to provide.
  6. Genuinely Joyful – While the five previous attributes appear quite serious, college-aged women hope to find a spouse that is joyful and lighthearted because they are secure in their identity in Christ. Jokes and fun are welcome.
  7. Must Love Children – While children are probably the farthest idea from the minds of college-aged men, they are not for Christian young adult women. Even if children are not an immediate desire of the future husband, the ability to love and spend time with children is essential.  Guys, it’s time to volunteer for Children’s Church and nursery!
  8. Visibly Worshipful – An outward expression of worship may be another surprising essential for a future male spouse. Stoically sitting in a church service demonstrates a lack of passion for Christ as Lord and Savior.
  9. Supports the Wife’s Ministry Calling – For a healthy marriage, men will need to not only acknowledge the numerous ministry areas associated with biblical womanhood but view their spouse as a co-laborer in Gospel ministry.
  10. Good Communicator – For two to become one flesh, clear communication is crucial. Women are highly relational in comparison to men and desire to talk through issues; therefore, young adult men need to refine their communication skills.


Gentlemen: college-aged Christian women have spoken about their needs and desires for a spouse.  Will you respond accordingly?



A Pivotal Moment


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…



Manhood-and Knowing When You Get There

Jeremy Smith grew up in Guatemala. He holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Spanish and has a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. He and his wife, Martha, have four sons, Luke, Andrew, Joshua, and Micah. The Smiths live and work as church planters among the Makua tribe of Mozambique, East Africa. They moved to Mozambique in 2003.


One of the things Makua culture does well is ceremony. There are many types of ceremonies, and sometimes even small events carry a ceremonial flavor. At these ceremonies those involved usually go all out for the occasion, spending a lot of money on the event for food, presents, and even building a special place for the ceremony to be held.  This has impacted the way we bring up our boys- especially in terms of rites of passage- that age when you pass from one status to another. American culture has some of this, but has rarely made it a cultural norm. Sometimes graduation from high school or getting a driver’s license or turning 21 can mark big events in a person’s life- allowing you privileges that you used to not have. Makua culture does this as well, in a ceremony that then allows a boy or girl to be considered “grown up” and thereafter can participate in grown up activities.


In order to help our boys grow up to learn about manhood and what it is to be a man- we have told our kids that they will be going through several ceremonies that will denote a departure from childhood into boyhood, then into adolescence and then on into manhood. Each ceremony comes with instruction, gifts, and new privileges. At the age of 7 I took each of my boys on a camping trip where they were given their first Bible and we talked about the fact that they were growing up and needed to learn to be a man. I introduced them to some concepts that I learned in a book called “Raising a Modern-Day Knight” by Robert Lewis such as: A man rejects passivity, A man accepts responsibility, A man leads courageously, and A man expects a greater reward. Also, I taught them about the three main aspects of a man’s life- We have a Will to obey, a Woman to love, and a Work to do.


So, a week ago we got to take our son, Andrew, through his ceremony of adolescence. Men who have been important in his life- our teammates, a couple of other missionaries around us, and both of his grandfathers all contributed in giving advice as he walked in the evening from one man to another on a trail, being led by his older brother Luke. Each man emphasized the importance of learning these key principles in his life. Later we went to dinner together and shared stories about lessons we learned growing up through mistakes, mischief, or mentors. In the end I presented Andrew with a shield representing his faith- the next foundation that he must develop to keep growing as a godly man.


What a blessing to have the opportunity to see your kids grow up in service to the one true King!



Pornography: Road to Hell


Michael Pearl and his wife Debi are the founders of No Greater Joy Ministries Inc. Michael has been a pastor, missionary, and evangelist for over 40 years. The Pearls’ five children were all homeschooled, and have grown up to become missionaries and church leaders. Though holding a degree from the Mid-South Bible College (now Victory University), when Michael is asked for his credentials on child training he points to his five children.



WARNING: This is hard-hitting, straight-talking, unsettling, man-to-man content. Michael Pearl is a no-bones speaker and writer. If you aren’t a bit tough skinned, you probably won’t deal well with this excerpt from his book PORNOGRAPHY: Road to Hell.  If you do proceed, you may find a new and powerful motivation to do whatever it takes to break the bonds of sexual addiction in your life. Michael has given us permission to share his content at manabouts.com.


“But the most destructive thing about your sin is the effect it has on your children. We live in a spirit world of both righteous and fallen angels. We are surrounded by evil spirits seeking the moral destruction of every human soul. The children of godly parents are protected from unclean spirits by being under their moral umbrella. But when a father gives his mind over to wicked lusts, he removes the hedge of protection around his family and invites impure devils into his home. Wishing them away will avail nothing. Any prayers you pray for their safety are negated the moment you open the pages of a pornographic book or glare at an electronic image. When you tune in to electronic pornography you have established a two-way link with the spiritual underworld. When you lie in bed at night and conjure up wicked images, the devils won’t stop with your mind; they will gleefully rush into the bedrooms of your children and assault their little souls and bodies. Evil thoughts will come to their minds–thoughts you have been thinking that are telegraphed to them by the devils. Your defenseless children will be taken captive, and you are the one that threw the gate open to the enemy.


If sodomy is sin, pornography is its “significant other.” If the Bible be true when it says that those who commit fornication (Greek porniah, the root of our English word pornography) “shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21),” then the future of any and all pornography users is the suffering of eternal damnation. And in Ephesians 5:6, again speaking of fornication (por-niah/pornography), he says, “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” If you think you can indulge in pornography and still be a Christian, you are blindly hoping against the clear statements of Scripture. Disciples of Christ read their Bibles, not the dirty books of sodomites and lesbians. Every time you retreat into your world of lust, you shut the door in God’s face. You are dangling your soul and the souls of your children over the fires of eternal damnation.


I have not been as hard on you as God will be in the day of judgment. You have only one hope, and that is to repent toward God. I did not tell you to repent of your sin of pornography, because as an unregenerate man you will not find the power to forsake your first love. You must repent toward God. This you can do while still in the slavery of your sin. To repent toward God is to prefer God and his righteousness above everything else. It is to desire his holiness in your life–to hate the sin that binds you. Make no mistake. The man that repents toward God is a desperate man, a man that longs for the holiness God will bring into his life. The man that repents toward God will experience restless nights and skipped meals in his search for God. A man that repents toward God will find no pleasure or peace in anything until he can rest in God alone. It will not do for you to walk down an aisle and pray a sinner’s prayer. It will not be sufficient for you to ask for prayer, or to confess your sins, or go to counseling. You must go directly to God through the Lord Jesus Christ with no hope and no confidence but the mercy and grace of God.”


Why the Wilderness?


Philip Fortenberry is the founder of Fatherhood Revolution where he creates second chances for dads with their sons.  Philip is a fatherless child who became a Green Beret and has led hundreds on wilderness treks.  Philip also served over 15 years as the Director of Reconciliation at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX under the leadership of Pastor John Hagee.

Fatherhood Revolution Facebook Page




“Forty yards,” I whispered as I ranged the buck over my fifteen year old son’s shoulder.  The ten inches of melting snow enabled us to track the young buck through the juniper trees in the high desert of central New Mexico.  We caught up to the buck as the sun was sinking below the horizon and the light was fading fast on the final day of our great father-son adventure.


The arrow sliced through the 20 mph crosswind and hit the Mule Deer perfectly.  After a very short and easy tracking job Ryan had his trophy.  Kneeling in the wet snow beside his Mule Deer Ryan looked up at me and said, “I’m glad I didn’t quit.”


“That was a great shot in a stiff cross-wind,” I complimented him.


The smile on Ryan’s face held no trace of the discouragement and doubt it bore just a few hours earlier.   Chiseled across Ryan’s face at lunch was the concern of going home without a buck. “What would you do?” Ryan had asked me.


I have seen this doubt many times on young men’s faces on the wilderness treks that I have led since 1998.  Young men are wired for adventure, but the eagerness for the adventure will fade when a major challenge arises.  The challenge may come in the form of rain, an overturned canoe or a steep pitch the young men are climbing in the thin mountain air heading towards a summit.


At those moments doubt and fear are revealed.  But, it is not the fear of the obstacle.  It is the fear that they don’t have what it takes.  Just like Ryan the young men will look to me and ask, “What should we do?”


It is a natural response for a young man to look to a man for guidance through the turbulence in his life.  But, for so many young men there is no man to which he can turn.  Many dads are gone and many dads don’t believe in themselves and are therefore incapable of giving to their sons what they do not possess.  Other fathers lack manly skills and find it difficult to connect with their own sons.


That is why I lead young men, and men to the wilderness.  I believe the wilderness is the greatest classroom for men to discover the very nature that God placed within them.  It is a place to be tested and to overcome and to know they have what it takes.


When the young men overcome the obstacles and successfully navigate huge distances across a wilderness area their doubts in self will disappear.  I have seen young men who doubted in the midst of the wilderness stick their hands over their heads and shout, “We did it,” when they successfully crossed the wilderness area and came out to our vehicle.


After the trek they walk with a renewed belief in self.  They have what it takes.


The Deer

Jimmy Sites is a preacher, bible teacher, philanthropist, television personality, sportsman, and family man who says, “My father has been my #1 role model and hero as a man for all my life. He has shaped me more than any other man alive.” Jimmy holds a theology degree in one hand and a muzzleloader in the other. He speaks to children as well as grandparents using the platform of the outdoors and the Word of God and advocates for both. His website JimmySites.com is filled with videos, resources, and more on his exchange of a 5000 member congregation for a worldwide audience in God’s creation.



One morning when my kids were fairly young, we were traveling along the dirt road leading from our farm to the highway. I was taking Christin and Jonathan to school and then heading to the office for staff meeting.

As our truck rolled past a large pasture on the left, I caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye. About 200 yards down the side of the pasture, along a fence row separating the pasture from some woods, was a deer.

At first I didn’t think much of it. I typically saw as many as a dozen deer along those two-and-a-half miles of dirt road before reaching the highway. But this deer was different. It seemed to be hanging face-down, as though caught on a tree limb, thrashing like a bream on the end of a stringer.

Suddenly my mind registered what I was seeing. A young doe was caught in the barged-wire fence. Her hind leg was trapped at the top, while her front hooves touched the ground just enough for the little deer to support a small measure of her weight.

I quickly pulled over and flagged down the truck behind me.  “Do you have any wire cutters” I asked, pointing out the deer and her predicament.

“Sure don’t,” the driver said, “but I’ll tell the farmer down the road and send him up here.”

Christin, Jonathan, and I scrambled out of the truck and began navigating around the mud holes, trekking across the pasture toward the frantic deer. I explained to them that we needed to approach slowly and quietly to avoid scaring the deer any further.

Then we began to sing.

I’m not sure why. We just did. And the song seemed to fit the situation just perfectly. Maybe you know the one: “As the deer panteth for the water—“ Hauntingly, the little doe slowed her painful lunging and looked squarely in our direction. Her soft brown eyes seemed to be drowning in fear.

I slowly, very gently approached the yearling. My heart hurt for the beautiful animal, and I desperately wanted to free her. But the closer I came, the more frantic the deer became. She just didn’t understand that my intentions were good.

After a few more steps, I was able to reach out and touch the doe. I began to gently stroke her head, neck, and back as I wrapped one arm around her little body. I spoke soothing words to her. At first she began to settle down, but then panic once again took hold and threw her into a spasm, causing her to thrash even harder than before, inflicting fresh, new damage to her body. She just didn’t understand that she couldn’t save herself, that I was her way out of this dilemma.

After several long, tense minutes of struggle, the neighboring farmer arrived with his wire cutters, snipping the strand of fence that was holding the little doe prisoner. Her freed hind leg touched painfully to the ground, and I released my hold on her. The little doe began to drag herself away from us with her front feet. Both hips were dislocated. Much internal damage had been done. I knew she wouldn’t make it.

“Daddy, is she going to be okay?” asked seven-year-old Christin, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Well, she has a better chance now than she did.” I replied, not knowing how much of my skepticism I should share.  Both Christin and Jonathan prayed for the little deer all the way to school.

That afternoon, I went by and checked on the little doe. As I expected, she was lying all alone in the same filed where we had last seen her. Dead. I stood over her lifeless body and thought, “Oh little one, if only you hadn’t tried to save yourself. If only you had let me do your saving for you.”

I wonder how many times God says these same words to man?



How to have your BEST wife … Now!


Brackin Kirkland and his wife, Lindsey, create family-friendly inspiring weekly vlogs and music videos on their successful and growing YouTube channel “Tiny Notes from Home.” You can also enjoy hearing their music at www.soundslikereign.com. Brackin previously wrote “A Father’s Guide to the Birds and the Bees” for Manabouts.



Ok guys. Let’s get real for a moment.

As you look around at your friends marriages, you’re secretly jealous.

Their lives just look so “right”. They never fight. They’re super affectionate. And you want that too.

If that’s you, then I have a simple solution.

And you don’t need to look any further than your own wife.


The Grass IS NOT Greener

First, let’s get something straight.

Every man and every woman are very different. And each of our marriages will have challenges that are unique to our own personalities and circumstances.

You might be tempted to think – as you compare your marriage to others – that the grass would be “greener” on the other side. But rest assured: Regardless of the man or the woman involved, ALL marriages will fall on hard times.

You don’t need to look “elsewhere” to solve your problems, because the same problems would await you on the other side.

Stay on your side of the fence – trust me on this one.

Here’s why: True biblical marriage is about BOTH the person to whom you’re married AND the commitment you’ve made to that person.

We must remember that marriage is both a lifelong commitment and a daily decision.

Although you’ll face unique challenges along the way, there are a few common biblical principles that apply to ALL marriages.

Implement these 3 simple steps and your marriage will improve … overnight!

1)Encourage Her

Your wife wants to know that she is loved and appreciated. She works hard around the house, or in her job, or with the kids, or just struggling to find her identity – and she doesn’t need you to point out her flaws.

I guarantee that if you build up your wife with words of encouragement, that her heart will melt in your hands, and she will become the wife of your dreams.

On the flip side: If you pour words of discouragement and defeat into her heart, she will harden faster than you can blink. Just a few harsh words can cause damage that will take weeks (or longer) to restore.

Use gentle words to tell her just how wonderful and pleasing she is to you. Even if you’ve become cold and bitter toward one another, find something – ANYTHING – that you can love and appreciate about her and start there.

As you speak words of life, you will witness her heart soften and become fertile soil, which will eventually bring forth precious fruit.

2)Touch Her

Your wife wants to be touched in a special way. Let me explain.

Some couples are naturally more affectionate than others. But ALL couples need to have some form of personal affection that can be expressed comfortably in our daily lives.

In the busyness of life, it’s easy to brush by each other without stopping to smell the roses.

Try this: Pull her aside and give her a gentle hug 5 times a day. Set a dang alarm clock if you have to!

I know … it sounds too easy. But a warm and gentle touch can melt even the coldest heart.

In doing so, you’re showing her that you are sensitive and that you will handle her with care.

And there’s the added benefit that your children will witness FIRST HAND how a gentle loving husband handles his wife. This type of healthy affection will work miracles – I promise!


3)Lead Her

You wife wants to know that you are strong, and that you have a clear sense of direction.

Let’s break this down into two parts:

First: You need to have DIRECTION. Period. As a husband, father and leader of your home, you need to have a clear mission and vision for your family.

Surround yourself with Godly men who can help you create a specific and attainable goal for your family. This goal should go beyond just “surviving in daily life” (putting food on the table, getting to school on time, etc).

Your family goal should have an outward “missional” focus, and it should build on the strengths of your family members. A family that has a clear purpose and direction is more likely to weather the storms of life.

Second: Once you have charted a “course” for your family, involve your wife in some of the planning. Don’t overwhelm her with all the details, but do keep in mind that she is part of the team – not just extra baggage.

Ask for her input and opinions and make accommodations based on her needs.

This can be a balancing act, because women tend to be more emotional in their decision making.

You’ll need to firmly steer the ship and stay the course, without driving out of control and making everyone seasick. When you hit rough seas (due to life’s circumstances), slow down and make sure everyone’s needs are being met before moving forward again.

Lead with a clear focus and a gentle hand, and let your wife know that her needs are important along the way.


The Keys to Her Heart

In closing, remember this:

  • Encouragement shows her CARE
  • Touch shows her SENSITIVITY
  • Leadership shows her STRENGTH

All successful marriages are built on these three principals, and we must keep these things in balance in our marriage on a DAILY basis.

If you’re anything like me, you are probably lacking in one of these areas (my weakness is “sensitivity”).

So my challenge is this: Admit the areas where you are weak, take proactive steps to improve, and get to work on making Your Best Wife Now!



Fathers, Make Great Men!

During the dark days of the war, Winston Churchill addressed the coal miners of Britain. In his magnanimous way, he cast a vision and painted a verbal picture for them by talking of the day when the war was won and the country would celebrate. He described the celebration of heroes and the joyful atmosphere of the nation’s festive victory parades. Bringing up the rear of those processions, he included, as if they were the grand finale, the coal dust covered faces of those hard working men and fancied that as they passed, someone in the cheering crowd might ask, “And where were you during the critical days of the struggle?”  To which the voices of thousands of mining men would respond, “We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal.”  His image set black rivers a-flow down their faces.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of his dreams for equality and a nation’s imagination was inspired.


Jesus spoke of a Kingdom to come and martyrs clung to their crosses.


Leaders capture and communicate vision. They inspire and lift the expectation and empower potential. The mind’s-eye of a leader is first to see a thing, and their imagination is first to contact what is as yet on the way. With their speech, they spread their infection to others until the vision becomes reality. Boys at risk, living perilously, floundering in frivolity, empty of purpose, will put down their games, leave their silliness, their childishness, their rebellion, their sin, and their littleness for a Father who, with confidence looks them in the eye and assures them, “I believe you can be a GREAT man.”


The greatest of men have stood on the shoulders of great men before them. Even Jesus said, “I do what I have seen my Father do and I say what I have heard Him say.”  Boys, who have their father’s shoulders to boost them, become more, and in an era of decay, like ours at present, boys need those shoulders as much as ever. They need vision, they need an invitation, and they need leadership. American culture is failing its sons. Our boys receive far too little healthy, positive input from the community of males, and most popular role models are silly, directionless, lacking character, or moral weaklings. But boys will still respond to a greater vision of manhood, if men of strong fiber will rise to the occasion.


If you are a man, then, it is to you the will turn. If you are a dad, then this message is for you to apply. If you would see our land healed, our boys healed, our families healed…then it is on your shoulders that the boost will come.  Do not look away, and do not belittle your value. Certainly, no one can do it perfectly, but anyone can do his best. You can lead your boy into manhood. As for what you don’t know, you can learn. Where you lack skill, you can lock arms with the skilled. What you did not receive from your father, you can gain from the fathers of others. You don’t have to go it alone. You have a community. You have brothers and fathers. You have help and we at manabouts.com are at least a starting point.


Dad, stand up. Lead. Cast a vision for your son. Infect him with a vision of greatness. Beyond telling him of manliness, dip your shoulder to meet his reach so that he may one day do the same for a son of his own.


It starts with you and you can begin now.

Aiming to Fix Broken Boys

Even, the secular media is starting to get it right! Suzanne Venker’s article The Desperate Cry of America’s Boys (Fox News Opinion 2/18/18) shoots a perfect bull’s-eye by responding to a statement on Twitter by a Mr. Black. “Mr. Black is correct that boys are broken. But they’re not broken as a result of being cavemen who haven’t “evolved” the way women have. They’re broken for another reason. They are fatherless.”


If that wasn’t impressive enough, She splits her first arrow with a quote from Warren Ferrell’s new book “The Boy Crisis”, “Without dads as role models, boys’ testosterone is not well channeled. The boy experiences a sense of purposelessness, a lack of boundary enforcement, rudderlessness, and often withdraws into video games and video porn. At worst, when boys’ testosterone is not well-channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most destructive forces. When boys’ testosterone is well channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most constructive forces.”


Earlier this week, my son, Joshua, read me a Proverb, “…the glory of sons is their fathers.”  The Hebrew word for ‘glory’ is “kabod” and carries the idea of ‘weight’ or ‘significance.’ Glory attracts and draws attention to a thing. Giving kabod to God means, considering him of such importance such that we give him our attention. Boys want to be men, like their fathers. They are attracted to what fathers are, or at least what they are supposed to be. A father’s presence illustrates and informs a boy of his significance, and meaning, that he, as a male, matters. Dad’s presence and engagement in his son’s life transfers to him a sense of purpose and value. If dad is absent or unsupportive, the boy’s value is diminished. He will either wither or he will wander. If he withers, it is into a caldron of low esteem and escapes (drugs, alcohol, suicide, perpetual childhood, etc.). If he wanders, it will be in search of his manhood. In his searching, young men attempt to prove to themselves and others that they are men through twisted means. These twists develop into societal ills like alcohol and drug abuse, sexual perversion, crime, gangs, bullying, school failure, and gun violence.


I believe if we fix men, we fix society. But the cure for our boy’s brokenness is not one that can be legislated. Legislation can create a deterrent, but not a full stop. Men will do what they want to do, even if it has painful consequences. A change is needed in what men want, and changing what men want is simpler and much more effective than getting congress to agree upon and pass legislation. The cure is turning father’s hearts toward their children. Thankfully, what I’ve seen, even among convicts and drug addicts, is that most men want to be better dads.


While each man must make his own decision to do the hard work of engaging and learning to lead his son, society can help. Media that demeans dads, that mocks manhood, that casts a ridiculous or raucous version of father needs to stop it. Both the callously vulgar and the vainly comedic versions of father must be replaced with realistically involved, committed, and loving renditions. This positive presentation is especially vital for boys whose dads are not present, because it provides ‘glory’ and ‘weight’ for them. Honorable versions of father inform these boys that what they are made to become has dignity and importance. Nobility, rightly presented, is a strong magnet to the metal in a boy.


Mentors are another way to step into this gap. I had mentors who were present, offered advice, and gave me guidance when my own father didn’t or couldn’t. Boys just need an example, a guide, someone who cares enough about them to give them a little attention. And being a mentor isn’t as demanding as it might appear, because it doesn’t require being superman; it just means showing up.


We can (and sadly will) argue over guns, create new laws, point fingers at schools, government, and deranged gunmen, but we won’t find real solutions until men decide to be real men. As males return home and into the roles of leader, guide, protector, provider, and present parent, our nation will reverse its slide and reset its bearings toward a gentler, calmer, safer, stronger, and healthier society. If this is our aim, and I hope that it is, targeting fatherlessness is our best shot at hitting the mark.


The Manabouts Course (coming in April) will provide a first step and a giant leap for men wanting to get things going (or going again) in the right direction with their boy.  Compete this form to receive FREE information and helpful father-son ideas and insights