Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chivalry, Part 2: Invisible

father 4 Pictures, Images and Photos
Well, today as we were driving to Springfield once again, I was able to read the chapter for us both. As soon as I started reading it, it drew us both in. Dan offered feedback, and I'll share in a bit. The chapter was about dads who are invisible to their sons; in other words, they mean to do great things with their sons, and they love their sons dearly, but their actions tell a different story. They may desire to spend much quality time with their sons, but they're really not there for them in the way that they should be. Work may take them away, or even something as disastrous as alcohol can take them away and put a distance between. The author, Robert Lewis, tells the story of his own father and how his father's alcoholism affected every facet of the family, including himself and his two brothers. Even the mother was affected deeply by a long, tumultuous marriage. Lewis shared that because of their father never really talking with them, sharing with them, teaching them, it affected who they grew up to be. One brother lost all sense of identity and even his masculinity and turned to homosexuality, later dying of AIDS.

As I read to Dan, he talked about how it's true that the father's "absence" can sear the consciousness of his sons. If the father is not teaching them about what a man is, what a man should be taking care of or doing, or even just spending quality time with his sons, his sons are going to grow up to be very confused individuals when it comes to life; it can even affect their own families later on and how their sons grow up.

In the latter part of the chapter, Lewis tells of how his father came to know the Lord, finally, after a drunken, domestic accident nearly killed his mother and even his father.

As a mother, this chapter even spoke to me. Our sons need their fathers, it's very true. They need fathers who will bring them up for God's glory. But they also need mothers who take the time to really spend with them, to get down at their level and talk with them, notice the word with, not to. They need a mom who is not afraid to get her hands dirty, who will play cars with them, who will dress up in a Star Wars storm trooper costume with them and play with pretend light sabers. They need a mom who will pray with them, even over what may seem like the smallest things.

I'll leave you with a quote from the book:
Invisible Dads are toxic to their sons. I know because I have counseled many of them. Invisible Dads are busy, rushed, and full of good intentions. Their stories and circumstances vary widely, but the crippling impact of their lives upon their sons is the same: a disfigured masculinity with disastrous results.....
Every son deserves a dad who fills his life with love, affirmation, and blessing. Every son needs from his father vision, direction, and solid answers to questions such as: What is a man? What are a man's responsibilities? What does a man believe? How does a man behave? What should a man try to achieve?
(Raising a Modern-Day Knight by Robert Lewis, pg. 30)

More to come next week....I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!


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