“Kal, if you don’t stop coming to mom and dad’s bed in the middle of the night, you’re never gonna get your man card.”
Kal is 9. He is a migrant sleeper. Sometimes he sleeps on a cot in his brothers room. Most nights, he asks if he can park himself in the recliner beside mine until he falls asleep, and I give in so we can squeeze in just a few minutes of father/son time. On these nights he gets carried to the sofa to sleep for the night.
And most nights, he wakes me in the early morning hours by crawling onto the edge of our bed. So I told him that he had to start sleeping all night on the couch in order to earn his man card.
Didn’t think much about it until one day he proudly exclaimed, “dad, did you notice I slept all night on the couch?”
“Great son! You’re on your way to getting your man card.”
Then the daily questions started. What else did he need to do to earn his card? So I started to have some fun with it and use it for teaching & motivation.
I listed some things he’s already done as requirements:
-Whittle a spear from a stick
-Throw a tight spiral with a football
-Complete a 5k race
-Conquer a ropes course
-Learn the words to “Freebird”
-Catch a fish and get it off hook
-Help your dad carry groceries to the house in the snow when he couldn’t get his truck up the driveway.
-Catch a shark with rod and reel
When he wanted to give up on his first attempt at finishing a song on Guitar Hero on Wii, I told him he’d lose his man card. Giving up on a task just because it isn’t easy just isn’t acceptable. So he stuck with it until he finished.
I finally told him he’d earned a man card. Each additional test or task just earns a “punch” on the card.
“What can I do today, dad, to get another punch on my card?”
There are some things that little boys need to learn to do. And there are certain things that dads need to try to teach their boys (and girls) to do……..even though they aren’t important skills. Just part of being a dad and connecting with your kids.
I started running out of quick and easy answers. Some became silly.
-Hit the bullseye on a dartboard.
-Load and start the dishwasher
-Wear the same underwear for three consecutive days.
So I started thinking of serious answers. True life lessons to teach. Sometimes to be taught by words. Sometimes taught by our actions. Dads, your children are watching you.
-Forgive someone who has wronged you
-Show initiative. Notice when someone needs help and extend a helping hand.
-Close your mouth and listen when others are talking, and let them finish.
-Admit fault when you’re wrong
-Ask for forgiveness
-Never half-way do anything
-Speak kindly of others
-Share freely with others what the Lord has blessed you with
-Have a thankful heart
Teaching your sons to catch a fish or throw a spiral doesn’t quite make them a man. But the time spent doing these things puts a dad into a position of being the most powerful influencer in the lives of his children.
Real men love. Real men serve others. Real men try their best to be like Jesus.
Matthew 20 NIV -//
whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Real men live to help those around them rise up…….to an eternal reward…..to their own life of impact.
“Dad, are man cards even real?”
I think so. You get a new hole punched every time the Lord blesses you with the strength and ability to lift others up in some way.
Bear wrestling not necessary.