by Jason Cruise
Most days during the school year I drive my oldest son,
Cole, to school. I cherish this short commute because we use it to talk about
life through the eyes of an eight-year-old. Our conversations range from
everything to hunting, homework, the latest item on the school lunch menu, why
Classic Rock is critical to humanity at large, and occasionally, girls. I've
discovered that girls do, in fact, still have the "coodies" in the new
millennium. Not much has changed on that front.
As we drive up to the school, I tend to ask Cole the same question. Every day, he knows it's coming.
"Which is better, to be the head or the tail?" He'll tell me, "The head, because the view is better."
When he exits the truck, grabbing his book bag, I say to him, "Be a leader today bud." It's a
simple exercise that I will not give up on because I want him to be conscious of
leadership, even though he's eight.
are defining manhood together. In trying to coax him into such on-going
conversations, I said, "Hey, Cole, let's spend some time together this summer
trying to define manhood and the qualities it takes to be a real man of
He responded, "Dad, I mean, why would you define what it means to be a man when you're actually already a man?" It's a great point, so I went on to explain that a moving
target is hard to hit, and when you don't know what your target is, it's
impossible to hit it all together. He seemed to understand why a man must define
his pursuits, and so I asked him, "What do you think it means to be a man,
Cole?" His answer stunned me somewhat, because I didn't expect an
eight-year-old to plow deep.
He said, "I think a man should be loyal."
I asked him why he chose loyal, and he said, "Well, like let's say one of your friends is hurting, or something has happened, I think a real man doesn't leave someone stranded."
I really didn't know what to say. I was stunned at the depth of his response.
A moving target is a hard target to hit. A target undefined is impossible to hit.
In terms of all things related to biblical manhood, I suppose that is where many men live out their days, even though many of those days actually exist underneath the shadow of the steeple. I spent many years knowing that I was a follower of Jesus, but I'd never really made an honest assessment of what it means to be a man of God. For years I had general ideas of what biblical manhood looked like, but I had never truly defined my target.
It's been said that "a goal without a plan is just a wish."
I don't want to wish I'd be a man of God. I want to know I'll be a man of God and live like a man of God, because, I have a concrete understanding of biblical manhood. Such an understanding will only come if I carve out my manhood from the pages of Scripture.
I am looking forward to our father/son journey in defining manhood. Judging from the way things have started, it appears certain that I am not always going to be the one doing the teaching.