When you are growing up as the oldest of four kids there is no one to give you hand me downs, except your dad. Now if you don’t know what hand me downs are then you were either an only child or your family had enough money to make sure you had lots of new clothes. So this is not going to be a story that you can probably relate to when it comes to clothing. But by the time we get done here you are going to see that you are probably dealing with some hand me downs when it comes to your life.
Being the oldest of three boys and one girl and growing at a rapid rate around 8th grade I needed a lot of clothes quickly. You see I grew 9 inches in one year. So that meant I was constantly wearing pants that were called high waters. (If you don’t know what that means then we can’t be friends.) My mom used to joke that they were just the right length when I left the house in the morning but by the end of the day, they were too short. The problem with growing that fast is that it gets really expensive and being the oldest of four we were not in a place to buy jeans every other day. That meant I was getting dad’s hand me down clothes. Which you might think that can’t be that bad. Well if at the time your waist is a size twenty and your dads is a size thirty then it can cause some issues. But, you belt up and you keep going. Now here is what you might not know about wearing your dad’s hand me downs, it makes you feel grown-up. I mean to a 13-year-old boy you are now wearing man’s pants. They aren’t the kiddie pants in the boy’s area of the store they come from Men’s clothing, you see what I mean? Yes, they didn’t fit you perfect but, you knew that at that moment you were wearing man’s pants.
Flash forward to now. I am no longer wearing my dad’s hand me down clothes. I am a dad of my own with a son and yes at one point in his life I gave him one of my shirts or even a pair of pants. And yes the same was true for him as it was for me when I was his age the waistline was for sure not the same. But I can remember as clear as a bell my son looking at me and saying, “Thanks Dad I really feel like a man wearing this.”
Here is the problem for many of the men that are around today. They never had that moment with their dad where they got to wear his hand me downs. Maybe it’s because their dad was no longer alive, maybe it was because their dad was in prison, or just maybe it was because their dad chose to not be in their life. No matter what the reason that little moment in life where you were able to see yourself develop into a man never happened and it is something that you have been thinking about with each day. Who knows you may be a dad now and you are trying to figure out what you are going to do for your son when the time comes in his life where he is starting to become a man.
Here is my encouragement to you. Don’t buy him a shield, don’t buy him a trip up some mountain, or create some party that lets him know he is becoming a man. Just grab a shirt, grab a pair of pants, take him one of your ties and let him wear them for a little while. Because the truth of the matter is that he is going to probably outgrow your stuff anyway. I am not necessarily saying he is going become a bigger man then you physically. (It could happen.) But he is going to outgrow what you have given him and that is ok because that means he is becoming his own man. Which is what you want so that someday when you see him as a dad he is going to let your grandson live in his hand me downs.
No matter where you live I want you to know that the death of fatherhood is devastating your city from the inside out right now, today. Here in the United States the statistics are staggering when it comes to fatherless homes:
- 25 million children in the United States are growing up in fatherless homes.
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
- 71% of all adolescent substance abusers come from fatherless homes.
- 80% of all in psychiatric hospitals come from fatherless homes.
- 70% of adolescents in juvenile correctional facilities come from fatherless homes.
- 60% of rapists come from fatherless homes.
- 70% teen pregnancies happen in fatherless homes.
(Statistics from National Center For Fathering 2015)
The statistics are not any indication on the women that are left with the heavy responsibility to care for children in many cases on their own. These women are doing the job of two and doing it, most likely while they are working more then one job. They are not the reason that we are talking about fatherhood. We are talking about fatherhood because in most cases (not all cases) that we have men that are walking away from their responsibility and opportunity to be a FATHER.
So what does this mean for us today? What does this mean for us in the coming years? I believe that it is an amazing opportunity for those of that have had a father or have grown into fatherhood to help both young man and high school boys. It is the opportunity that we have to be a part of breaking the chains of dysfunction that have lead to the slow death of fatherhood. Here are some ways that we can take this opportunity and begin to make a difference:
- Start where you are at with the boys that are right in your own neighborhood. I guarantee that you will see some young guys throwing the ball around or kicking that ball around on your street. Just take some to spend with them playing and talking. It is amazing how much a kid will talk while they are playing.
- If you are father then take the time to get to know the other boys or girls that are hanging out with your children. Don’t just let them wander through the house without them seeing or getting to know there is a father in the place.
- Take the time to talk and mess around with the boys and young men that are involved in your church. You just might be exactly what one of these mothers are looking for when it comes to helping them encourage their children. (I had two men in my life that were just like this)
- If you are single man that has no children of your own then I challenge you to get involved with an organization that would enable you to mentor a young man. I know that there are many amazing organizations like this where ever you life. (Where I live we have an amazing group called, “Save Our Youth”.)
Here is my challenge to you whether your are a father or not, do something. Take the time to get involved in a child’s life. You may never know the difference you can make by helping be a part of being a FATHER.
What are some other ways that you can get involved in the lives of children that are living in fatherless homes?
I am excited to be able to start the new year with a goal of writing on this blog at least twice a week and making it a part of what we are doing at Elevation. I am also going to be writing to help husbands, fathers, and men to be all that God wants them to be in each of their lives.
So today is kind of a two for one! We have started a series called, “The Vow”. We are talking about the vows that we need to take serious if we are going to be prepared for marriage or to have strength in our current marriages. Because if you are reading this you probably have like me seen the stats or studies that show that half of marriages are not making it for the long haul. And most men are like me where we did not have the best or if any examples of what it means to be a Godly and loving husband. So it is my hope that we can start the conversation where we can give men a place to start when it comes to preparing to be great husbands or help those husbands to grow and get better.
I have been reading through the book of Psalms and there is one that is specific about what it looks like for a husband to spiritually lead his family. We talked about what it looks like to, “Seek the One, to Reflect the One” to our spouses or women that we want to marry in the first message of our series. So read with me Psalm 128:
Psalm 128 (NLT) A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. 1 How joyful are those who fear the Lord— all who follow his ways! 2 You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! 3 Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. 4 That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him. 5 May the Lord continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live. 6 May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!
The writer is talking about how it starts first with the fear of the Lord and of the one who is following in the Lords ways. Then it says that we will enjoy the fruit of our work because of who we are following the Lord. But then it show how as we “SEEK THE ONE” it will enable us to “REFLECT THE ONE” to the people in our homes. It is says that the wife will be like a fruitful grapevine flourishing within your home. This shows that as you make Jesus the one in your life and that he grows and shows through you that your wife will flourish, that your home will be better because of the both of you being affected by Jesus and that your HOME will be different because of you both being changed by following the Lord.
It then goes on and talks about the kids! Your kids will be affected by the way that you and your spouse are being changed as you “Seek the One to Reflect the One” as a couple. The future of your family the future of your kids are being lead by the way that you are being lead by Jesus. If we want to be a part of changing the directions of our families legacy’s we do that be following Jesus. It also points out sitting around the table, maybe this week as you, “Seek The One to Reflect the One” you have a conversation around the table with your kids about what you are learning or doing as a follower of Jesus?
But then it talks about seeing Jerusalem prosper and that you may live to enjoy your grandchildren and see Israel have peace. As I studied and read more this is showing that as we “See The One to Reflect the One” that it will lead to change in our community, that we will be a part of the change to generations of people because of the way that we are following Jesus. What you do as a follower of Jesus and as a husband and as a father can be used by God to change the communities that we are in and the generations that are to come after us.
What do you need to do this week to “Seek The One to Reflect the One”? How can you make sure that your wife is flourishing? How are you getting your kids around the table to talk about following Jesus? Take some time to pray and think about this and please feel free to leave a comment and share what you are planning to do.
I was never prepared to be a dad let alone a dad of two daughters. I mean I was a boy so when we had our son I kind of had that one figured out. But daughters really, two of them, I was really deep in the weeds. So I wanted to be able to share with you some of the things that I have learned being the dad of two daughters that have grown up to be amazing women. So here you go:
- Listen to your wife! I had to listen to my wife a lot because I am the oldest of four and my sister was ten years younger then me. So I was clueless to a lot of areas when it came to what girls didn’t need or did need from a dad.
- Hug them always. One of the things that I always have done is hug my girls. I hugged my girls even when they didn’t want me too. Yep I went against the first one but that was only because I wanted my girls to know that I was going to love them and care for them whether they wanted me to or not.
- Be Honest with them. Now if you are a dad to a girl then you know the dreaded questions that start like this, “Dad what do you think about . . . ” insert hair, dress, make up, and a long list of others. Unfortunately when we first started with these questions I was to honest and I did not set up my answer. So I had a lot of looks from my wife and coaching with, “You don’t say that to a girl”. To which I would answer, “Well then why did she ask me?” So I would preface my answer by saying, “Do you want me to be honest?” Now I said that when I didn’t like what I saw and I have said that when I did like what I saw. (Be consistent)
- Set the Tone. If you want your daughter to have a man that is going to love and care for her, then you need to set the tone. So that is where you as the dad need to model exactly the kind of man that you want your daughters to look for in their life. In fact I think that you should set the bar so high that your girls will go out on dates with the young men in their life and expect them to act like you. And when the young men don’t act like you make sure you teach those same girls to not except it. So if you haven’t got what I am saying, then here you go. Love your wife the way that you want your daughters to be loved.
- Prepare them for Life. I know that you are probably thinking, well that is a big statement and you are right it is. But I believe that it is something that is very important. So prepare them to handle their finances, prepare them to take care of their car, prepare them to defend themselves if needed, prepare them to speak up, prepare them to trust, and prepare them to leave home well. I don’t expect my daughters to have to have a man to take care of them, I know that they can do it. But I also want to prepare them for a life with another, so prepare them to talk with a man, prepare them to love someone, prepare them to sacrifice for someone, you see prepare them for life.
There are just a few of the things that I would say are important when it comes to being a dad to daughters. But here is the last one and the most important prepare them to say, “I am sorry.” How do you do this? Learn to say it yourself. If there are some others that you can think of then feel free to comment and share them.
I was not ready to be a father. (Not like anyone really is. . .) So when we had a daughter then a son and another daughter I knew that I was in the deep end of the pool. So I started doing all that I could to learn about what it meant to be the best father that I possibly could be. I read books, I watched videos, I talked with other fathers with grown children and usually I would ask, “Do you have any children that are in prison?” If they answered no then I would spend time asking them questions about how and what they did as a father. Ultimately it lead me to the parenting statement that my wife and I would use as our goal for our kids, “We wanted them to leave well.” That would mean that when we were going to make decisions about different areas of life. We would ask ourselves, “Is this going to prepare them to leave well?” Now I know some of you might be thinking that this sounds like a horrible statement. Where is the love in this statement? Where is the faith in this statement? Where is . . . you name it! For us we felt like that there was nothing more faithful or loving then to prepare our children to leave the safety of the home well. We made tough decisions that we hoped and prayed that would prepare them. We challenged them in areas that we hoped and prayed would prepare them. We disciplined them in ways that we hoped and prayed that would prepare them. But most of all we loved and cared for them enough to prepare them to leave well. So what are you doing as a father or as a parent that is preparing your children to leave well?
And just so that you know that I am not talking out of turn. I am proud to say that our oldest is graduating from college this May with a degree in elementary education and seeking to attend possibly for her masters, our son is playing college football where he walked on and earned a scholarship and is pursuing a degree in exercise science, and our youngest plans to run cross country and track at the same college as her older sister and brother where she plans to get a degree in exercise science with an emphasis in physical therapy. (There were bumps along the way, but we are seeing them leave well.)
Over the last couple of years as we have walked through planting a church in Aurora, CO. I have had to deal with many areas of growth. Developing leaders, doing long range planning, and knowing what to do when to do it. (Still working on that one.) But most of all I have had to deal with my insecurity.
I had a person that I have in my life that is able to speak into those areas of my life and a couple of weeks ago he just said, “Scott you are a very insecure person.” At first it really kind of ticked me off. But the more I have thought about it the more it has really been a freeing moment for me. I am insecure.
I am insecure about:
- my marriage
- my parenting
- my ability
- my leadership
- my . . . .
But the one thing that I gain strength from as the insecure person is my true security coming from my identity in Jesus. I am a follower of the risen Savior Jesus. I am a jacked up, insecure person, that only can live life because of the radical grace of Jesus Christ.
John 1:12 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
Sounds simple doesn’t it. Well it is! Every day since that conversation I have woke up with the this statement. “I am a child of the risen and conquering Savior, my life only comes from Him. I am secure because of what he has done, not me!” Take some time to say this statement each day and see what it does for you.
Hi, my name is Scott Bloyer and I am secure with being insecure. Who is with me?
As we get ready for Christmas this week I have been spending a lot of time thinking of being a father. Some of the greatest memories I have had as a father has been watching my kids on Christmas day. They each have allowed me to see some amazing moments of pure joy as well as great excitement for the time of the year. We have special traditions that my wife and kids have come to almost be so excited about that when we expereince them they are ready for next year.
But what I have been walking through is that over 1/3 of children today are living in fatherless homes. Now I want to say something that I think is very important. If you are a single mom, I want you to know that you have the toughest job in the world. You have to fulfill two very distinct roles in the lives of your kids. I pray every week for the single mothers that I know attend Elevation. But I do believe that we need to let those kids know that there is a father for the fatherless and he came on Christmas to be the everlasting Father.
Psalm 27:10 (NLT) 10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.
I pray that through out this Christmas season that each and everyone of us takes the time to think of those that are walking through this season with out knowing the one true Father, Jesus Christ.
How can you this week love on the fatherless?