Over this fathers day weekend I spent some time thinking about my dad. I thought of our times growing up in a small town in Virginia, the times fishing and hunting. Spending time in the woods exploring and discovering all the old farms and mountains in that area. I also spent some time reflecting on his life as a man. A young father figuring out life much like I am now with a young family. Trying to pay bills, love his wife and children the best he knew how. I also thought about how he spent time with his friends. His friends were all from different walks of life. Some were business owners, some worked for the government, but most of them were blue collar guys walking out similar walks in life.
Then my thoughts went to my friends. The guys my age that are slaying every day to do the same things our dad did, pay the bills, stay passionate and alive for our families, and walk closely with God.
These days I think there are a lot of opportunity for men to see other men as a threat. As competition for this small amount of blessing out there. Fighting for stability, impact in the Kingdom, and many other contexts. You name it and I think guys have some hardwiring that pit them against each other. Some of it I think goes back to the fall, to Cain and Able. Brothers fighting over a Father’s blessing. Look at Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, heck, even the disciples fighting over who is going to be the greatest in the Kingdom.
But, what if as men, we had the opportunity to change that? What if we believed there was more than enough to go around? What if we were each others champions? Cheerleaders? As men, I think we have enough going on to not make it a harder road? And what if we cheered on other men because in fact, that’s what need as men the most: Other men believing in us, believing that what we have to give this world is unique and irreplaceable?
I can see it with our summer TG guys. They have been here 3 weeks out of 12. The beginning is always the hardest. Away from home, the comforts of the familiar, thrown into a house of strangers asking all the same questions, just answering them in their own personal way. Yet, last night I got a text from one of our resident guides that lives with the young men, saying they were cleaning the house starting to joke and connect. They are now turning towards each other for help with their questions about life. It is a beautiful mystery that happens every summer. Somewhere in the midst of trial and challenges we realize we cant walk this road alone.
So for me today, I want to go find one of my friends and tell them I think the world of them and how they are leading their family, or how they are offering their strength to their neighbors or community. I want to tell Brett he leads men so well, PJ that it took guts to go back and get his Masters, that Charlton cares for the hearts of his clients well, that Sam is one heck of writer, that Xan is a strong man of conviction that wants to make the right difference in this world, that Jeff has so much more to offer young men, and that Lee is the king of hearts and has an amazing sense of empathy. These men deserve to be cheered on, they deserve to know that someone has their back just like I deserve that. And again, what if we can change that spirit of Cain and Able, that spirit of disdain to a spirit of humility and faith that there is enough of the Fathers blessing to go around?