When Your Son is in The Ditch

by Randy Skiles.

Someone asked me what I would have to say about how to “Walk with the Wise. “  Honestly, I don’t know.  At first I thought I probably would have lots of good stuff to say.  But, as I stared at a blank screen, most of what came to my mind didn’t sound like anything particularly deep, or insightful.   So, if you’ll allow me, let’s just get to know each other a little bit.

I’m a Texan.  I do live in the country, on some land, but I don’t have a horse.  I don’t own a cowboy hat.  I don’t chew tobacco.  And, the last time I said “shucks”, … well, that might be the first time I’ve ever said it.  So, I consider myself pretty ordinary.

Getting a little more personal, I’m a father of four sons.  I’m proud of each of them.  They’re all grown, from 26 to 35.  They all have their struggles, and are still “on their own journey”, but gosh I like being around them.  I have four grandchildren (even though I don’t look old enough to be a grandpa.  The inset photo makes me look older than I really am).  My grandkids are almost perfect.  My youngest grandchild is in the hospital battling cancer, but she still has this smile that just pulls you into her little world and makes you forget about yours.

Now that we know each other a little better, let’s talk about raising a son.  There are probably way more qualified men to lay out the fundamentals of child raising, or who could counsel you toward a purposed approach of building manly qualities into your sons that will translate into productive manhood.  But, I can definitely speak about how to restore a young man after he has slid in the ditch.

It goes without saying, that trying to apply any of this “wisdom” into a life that is separated from God is really not going to work.  So, that’s step 1.  If you want to have a meaningful relationship with your son, you’ve gotta seek a meaningful relationship with your heavenly Father.  Because He sure wants a meaningful one with you.  There is SO much to say about this, but that’s not really the topic of my writing today.  Now, having said that, what to do when so much damage has already been done, and your son is well on his way in the wrong direction-  Pray.  If there is a God in heaven (and there is), He hears your prayers.  So, pray.  Pray for your son.  Pray about your own faults, and confess, specifically.  We all need to bring our own story to the Author.  He knows just how to “tweak it”.  Next, as you are getting to know Him (or getting to know Him better), read His letters to you (Proverbs has a lot to say about wisdom, and the Gospel of John has a lot to say about getting to know God, personally).  After you pray (regularly), and after you purpose to get to know God better yourself, promise yourself to speak the truth to your son, without speaking judgment on him.  That way, you’ll be speaking life, and building life on the blocks of redemption.  Finally, trust.  Really trust.  Not in yourself.  Not in your methods.  Trust in the God that you are asking (sometimes begging) for help.  God has constructed scenarios to be repeated and lived out.  These scenarios are little pictures of the way He loves and relates to us.  So, want to be a good Father?  Imitate God:  Walk in the truth.  Speak the truth.  BE love.  Save judgment for when its appropriate.  Sacrifice yourself for the greater purpose….Redemption.

One of my sons began to experiment with pot when he was younger.  It just about killed me.  My wife (who is my good thing from God) and I pulled him from “the ditch” several times, but each time he’d just slide back in.  Finally, when we were about to reach down into the ditch and stick out a hand once again, God got our attention:  “I’m trying to reach him in his poverty, and you keep throwing him money.  I can’t save him, until you quit rescuing him.”  So, we stopped reaching into the ditch.  We just continued to love him.  Really, continued to pray for him.  And, always welcomed him home.  But, we stopped trying to be savior.  There’s so much more, but basically we just started trusting God more than us.

  1. Purpose to seek God for yourself, daily. You can’t share what you don’t have.
  2. When you think about it, we have a REAL audience with our King.  How un-wise to forsake this.
  3. Read what God has to say (II Timothy 3:16 –“all scripture is given by inspiration of God”). He’s God.
  4. Trust Him. That’s what faith is. – Look for Him at work around you as you acknowledge His presence in your own life.

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Randy Skiles is a small business owner in East Texas (real estate).  He volunteers with YoungLife and God has equipped him to write songs about life in Christ.  He goes to prisons (and other places) to talk about God and His ways, and sing them songs. His music is available on itunes.