In just a few days our nation will remember D-Day. As 6 June 1944 dawned, one of the largest invasions in history was underway with the goal of liberating Europe from Nazism. Many heroic tales have been passed down since that day, from the paratroopers initial drop, to the last wave of soldiers to hit the beaches of France. Courage, perseverance, valor, selflessness, and sacrifice are woven throughout these stories, along with countless others, as the war raged for another year.
I find sobering the selflessness and sacrifice of these heroes. Their acceptance of the futile odds of returning alive or unscathed is more than admirable. I can’t help but wonder what the response would be should the world again ask so much from young men? I then wonder, “Am I raising the type of man that would do this?”
A friend sat across from my desk one morning as we discussed an important decision regarding her 12-year-old son’s future. Uncertain what was the next best step, she said, “After much prayer, I’ve been asking myself, what kind of man am I raising?”
The fuzziness of what to do next came into focus. Her forward thinking provided clarity. In the coming days they found peace. Their decision was not easy, but by simply putting into perspective what was most important, “what kind of man they were raising”, the next step could be seen clearly.
Still impressed by the family’s question, I continually ask myself, “What kind of man am I raising?” Am I raising one who will demonstrate selflessness, sacrifice, courage, perseverance and valor?
Having these character traits for earthly freedom is noble - necessary at times. But what of eternal freedom?
Are we raising young men who can be courageous in their faith? Who can persevere under trials in their lives? Who demonstrate valor in the way they work? Who selflessly love God and others? Who sacrifice their needs and wants for the sake of their loved ones and friends – not for their glory, but for God’s?
To help us build these traits, we must create and look for teachable moments. In our age of political correctness, our quick trigger on what easily offends, and our false sense of safety and security, I wonder if we’ve lost our equilibrium to teach as Paul and James describe:
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:3-4 NLT
“So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:4 NLT
Consider Cameron Coke’s words as “trials of many kind” come your child’s way:
“The Lord may lead our children into uncomfortable circumstances. For your child, that discomfort may involve a foreign nation or a college sorority, a low-earning profession or an investment bank. But regardless of what risk and discomfort may look like for your child, don’t let idols of comfort and safety rob them of the chance to experience the joy of life devoted to King Jesus—regardless of the cost.”
So…what kind of men are we raising? What kind of men will they raise…?
Seek other fathers and sons and go on the journey of raising these men together. Then, when they are experiencing an impossible battle, they don’t just hit the beach, they storm it- and others will follow.