Give me some things to work on? It can be anything. What should a young man be focused on today? (Question from a young friend November 9, 2021)
Rarely do you receive such an open ended question. Moreover, to receive it from a man under the age of thirty is quite rare these days. Yet, this is the question proposed to me by a young man that I have embarked upon a friendship with over the last couple of years. In this, I will labor to answer this young man’s burning desire.
Thanks again for having the tenacity to ask this question young man. It shows your willingness to look beyond your own logic and to seek council from someone outside of your generation. This is a rare trait today among your peers . For a fool is right unto himself but he is wise who seeks council. (Proverbs 12:15) Thus, I pray not to squander this great opportunity. I start by taking a nod from the greatest thinker and teacher, Christ. I answer your question with a question. What man aborts his posterity to the dirt?
Your question shows signs of wisdom. But, it is your path that will prove you out to be wise or foolish. Your question is a very basic question to anyone who has given life some thought. It is deeply profound in that the wisdom of this age is as wide as the sea itself. I have taken much liberty to reflect upon this great philosophical question. Thus, I do not hesitate to share what I consider to be the basic tenants of what I believe and why.
Meanwhile, I can think of many men who have given this question much more contemplation than my sum total. My mind comes to the great thinker, Jordan Peterson, who has stormed the world over by answering this question largely for young men such as yourself. Another of my favorites is Douglas Murray from across the pond. I love his insights and marvel at his work, “The Death of Europe.” I am deeply intrigued with the great libertarian, Charles Murray in his work, “America Coming Apart.” I take great delight in listening to Thomas Sowell, a genius. Jason Riley is a new modern great thinker that explodes the concepts of “Human Capital” and strikes me as a genius with his work, “The Myth of Black Power.” My favorite of all philosophers is R.C. Sproul, the great Christian apologists. To hear him preach God’s Word is as close to the courts of God as o can earthly imagine. Finally, Voddie Baucham is a sound preacher and teacher on Gods Word in a time when our people are suffocating with materialism and false teachings. He is a treat to my ears to hear. Dennis Prager restored my understanding of the greatness of America and why she is my love. I long to see her reborn again. I have learned much from the Jewish Historian, Henry Abramson. He is quite witty and a real insight into the life of the Jews. But, you didn’t ask this question to either of these great men. You reached out to someone you know. That’s shows a genuine effort beyond measure. For what would it profit me to only open myself to those I do not know and forgo the wisdom and council of those men that are within my circles? I have confidence that I will partake with many men and the greatest teacher of them all when I travel across that great river at the end of my journey. But until then, guard yourself young man for I seek to cut deep but ever so slightly into what is true and noble in these regards. May you nor any of your peers be spared the wounds of such sparring.
Furthermore, know that the principles which I engage you, I have practiced for some time with my own posterity. Thus, I’ve taken a theory based upon some basic propositions and applied them to my own personal journey of being a father. The theory no longer hovers over me with clouds of doubt as I am able to look upon the fruit of such labor. I am able to see my twists turns and crooks of clouds of doubt in tangible expressions. My straight paths and bumps, I am reminded often. For these I know and can touch and sense as they are close to me as my own.
Do know my dear brother, that I do believe in these principles. I hold them up highly within the context of my own family though they did not come from me alone. I have not been perfect in no regards and my posterity will be quick to remind me of these crooks. And yet, I did not allow my failures to deter me from these propositions. By no means, charge with my head up, eyes front, to the finish, see this through.
My friend, to answer your question, let me start by saying fame and fortune is not it! Though, I condemn neither, to seek such in the end is vanity. They are mere vapors in the wind, though profitable for the moment. But do choose your path wisely and take risks along the way. Here is what I would pursue.
By the Grace of God, through two of His servants, Elizabeth Elliot and Phil Downer, I have embarked upon seeking the good of my prosperity and soul by focusing on three basic principles as a man. Elizabeth Elliot a great missionary and wife of Missionary Jim Elliot, started me on my journey by enlightening my thoughts away from the concept of teenagers. She was the first to draw my attention to this flawed concept and detrimental development in young people. She simply taught that the Bible doesn’t allow for so called “Teenage years.” The years of irresponsibility, wastefulness and excuses. She pointed to this as a falsehood that America has established to the detriment of its posterity. She taught childhood and adulthood and nothing in between. From this thought, I gained a fundamental understanding that by all means it was my role as a parent to train my children to be spiritual mature adults as soon as possible before or near the age of twelve. This spiritual maturity was and is the work of the Holy Spirit. My role was to accept the challenge of teaching, instructing, correcting, disciplining, training, coaching, counseling, providing and modeling to this end. But how would that be accomplished practically? This is where Phil Downer in his work, A Father’s Reward, proved helpful. Phil placed some meat on the bones of what I felt the Lord would have me to do in regards to raising my children.
So, here it is. I can not give you anymore than what the Lord has given me. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4). The foundation of these principles are built upon this solid foundation, truth of scripture. Focus on what is true in all things. How does one accomplish that was my question? What parameters would I use to satisfy my desire to see that I teach my children to walk in the truth? I learned three foundational things from Downer. Responsibility, Accountability and Relationships. These are the three pillars that a young man should focus on.
Let me expound a bit more. I saw my role as a father to teach a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit in three critical areas of life and development. Responsibility, accountability and relationships must be at the forefront of a young persons development in their spiritual, psychological and social development as soon as possible before or near the age of twelve. In other words, a child must answer to God sooner than later in their life in these areas. So, at every turn, this was my aim and continues to be my advice to those who would ask me what should I focus on?
Are you responsible for yourself? Are you afraid of responsibility? What can you do to assume responsibility? Do you fear it? Are you afraid? Do you blame others young man? Who are you accountable too? Are you afraid of marriage because you care not to be accountable to a wife? What of children young man? Can you avail yourself to the discipline of being a husband to one wife and many children? What does it matters if you have fame or fortune and yet only accountable to yourself? Are your relationships God honoring? Do you seek relationships that will help you to be responsible and accountable to Him? What parameters have you set to guard yourself from wicked alliances?
Finally, what man would abort their posterity? What do I mean by this question? Not until I started working with young men of pregnant women who were considering abortion did I think even more deeply about this. As much as you will hear from women who are pro abortion that, “It’s my body, my choice!” Ask them to tell you if they impregnated themselves? You see, It’s simply not possible. There is a man involved in every case I’ve been involved with. Who would think that these men need counseling? It’s as if they don’t even exist to far too many. On the other hand, some of these men are aggressively and abusively pressuring women to abort their own posterity. This abuse is mental, verbal and often physical. It’s sad that those who are so much for protecting a women’s right to choose will not face the fact than many are being forced to abort their babes by abusive men.
Sadly, many of the young men are horribly afraid. They are afraid of responsibility. For they have never had to own it. There is no accountability for their actions and many have been involved in multiple relationships with women who have aborted their children. When I speak of “Aborting their posterity,” I’m speaking of the men and not the women. I attribute the pregnancy to be the responsibility of both with the man holding the highest degree of responsibility and accountability. Away with this, “It’s my body, my choice” falsehood being forced upon the minds of young women and men today. A women can not produce a child alone. These men relationships are broken. Abortion does nothing to heal their wounds. Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this because when I look in the eyes of young men who don’t understand that they are aborting their posterity, I see nothing but despair for our people and our posterity less we turn.
To cast ones posterity to the dirt is perhaps the most degrading actions a man can take. So, do you focus on the uplift and wellbeing of your posterity for Christ? How? When men do not marry the women they impregnate what do they make of their posterity? When young men do not work or leave their mother’s home, what is their responsibility or dignity? When men encourage, intimidate or abuse women toward aborting their own flesh and blood to what degree of responsibility or accountability to God do they honor? And if they are silent in casting their posterity to the dirt, what manhood have they demonstrated? And this casting to the dirt of one’s posterity is and can be widespread among men who are not responsible for their actions, demonstrate a lack accountability and welcome illicit relationships throughout their life in all regards, not just in the matter of abortion. I use abortion interchangeably between those who abort their children and those who “abort” their posterity in many other ways. So, focus on this. Your posterity! And to think that anyone will seek to do this later in life is a fleeting vapor, though not impossible. For the most, selfishness, greed and idolatry steals the soul of our youth when we are not responsible, accountable and held to high standards regarding relationships. For to be irresponsible in life, wreck-less in our deeds, and fruitless in relationships are damaging penetrable arrows to the soul of a man. This will bring him to despair, loneliness and a weak posterity in life.
Go get a wife man and be the husband of that one wife! Have children and be fruitful and multiply! (Genesis 1:28). Seek God above all things and in so doing find truth! For these are the commandments of the Lord! Get a job! Work and be accountable to someone other than yourself. A wife is a great start. A wife and a quiver of kids is even a better reason to come home and say, “Today, this is what I have done.” What good is a pocket of gold built by oneself unto oneself? Nothing more than a vapor that will be here today and gone tomorrow. However, your posterity can and will live long after you my friend. Pursue its good with all sincerity for the glory of God as a young man and your labor will satisfy your soul.
How do I do this you ask? There is no magic way to pursue these things. It’s going to look different for each person. The principles can be pursued by many means. Take on a mission trip in a foreign country or go work in a foreign country. Learn their language. Take up a real challenge, become a school teacher. Or volunteer to do work for your country or community in a meaningful way. Serve in the great military of this country. By doing these kinds of things, responsibility and accountability will be on you that will stretch you and cause you to grow. You will gain many relationships to His glory. Venture out into the world and travel paths least taken and yet be responsible and accountable along the way. Seek relationships in unusual places and do not flatter yourself with men who only think like you. If God shows you your wife, take her without hesitation and give yourself up for her in all ways. If fame and fortune comes your way, so be it. But, what good is it if not to His glory in that you have allowed His Spirit to spur you toward love and good deeds being responsible to Him, accountable to Him and yielding every relationship to Him?
In closing, I’m reminded of the day I realized that I had firmly set these principles in motion deep within my oldest son. He was ordered by the Coast Guard to be in Kodiak Alaska on a certain day in November. He informed me that he was going to drive from Seattle to Anchorage and then ferry over to Kodiak. How exciting I thought. I thought nothing of it until I got a call from a friend who lived in Valdez Alaska just a few days before his departure inquiring about his trip to the last frontier. I told her that he was driving up on Friday. She said, “Driving! Al, he can’t drive to Alaska this time of the year!” What? She said, “It’s freezing up here and we don’t even drive during this time of the year and we have been here for years.” Of course, I panicked! He had his newly wedded wife, I thought were embarking upon a simple but long romantic ride up to the last frontier! Ha! How about I find out that it’s over 2,000 miles and a four day drive on the Alaska highway. The Alaska highway can be a beautiful scene during the summer months but a potential treacherous journey during November. So, I did what most dads would do. I called and pleaded with him to fly to Anchorage. I offered to pay the cost of shipping the vehicle. What he did next was stunning. He said, “Dad, I have to be in Alaska in four days.” He then profoundly hung up the phone. He called me two days later before he and his wife embarked upon their journey. They had counted the cost and knew exactly what they were facing. He said, “I have replaced the tires with new snow tires. I have a heater. I have this and I have that. I will call you along the way, if I can.” Four days later he came out of British Columbia Canada with an almost flat tire due to a nail received at their last stop just before crossing over into Alaska. He called and informed me that his tire had a nail in it but they would try to make it after putting air in the tire at their last stop before entering Alaska. He called when they got to Anchorage and said, “We made it.” My wife looked at me and said, “Tell him to get the tire fixed.” I looked at her and said, “He has driven over 2,000 miles to Alaska and you think I’m going to tell him to get a tire fixed? He is a man now. I wouldn’t drive 2,000 miles to get anywhere and I have never heard of snow tires. I’m not going to mention anything about a nail!”
He was no longer accountable to me. He was accountable to the United Stated Coast Guard. He had a sworn oath to abide. He was responsible for himself and his wife. His relationship with her was now priority and more important than his relationship with me. They decided that this would be good for them. All I could say was “God’s speed son. Take good care of your wife.” For me, it was a crushing four nights of vacillating between, “This kid is crazy versus he is now a man.” In the end, his manhood won out and I’m sure this will forever be a defining memorable moment in their marriage. I almost cheated them of this experience and him of his manhood. I’m grateful that he understood everything that he had learned about his own responsibility, accountability and relationships. Be responsible my friend. Be accountable for your word and honor your relationships unto the Lord. I pray that this is helpful in all of your quests. God’s speed young man. Take the roads less traveled.
Connected at the Cross in Love,