For My Sons:
Age 7 – Page (following the medieval knighthood model)…event: trip to Medieval Times with another friend and dad.
Gift: Leatherman (kept in a drawer that they get permission to carry.)
Message: you are not just a child anymore, but a contributing member of the family. You are meant to be a helpful and responsible member of our family. It is important that men are helpful and responsible – like a tool.
This is when an allowance and some family chores (more than just cleaning a room) are added too.
I also had the advantage of being able to have Mark join me at this age when I did sword fighting training. It was important to him and me that he could be my “right-hand man.” He has continued to do this for 6 years. I don’t know what other dads can do (my father took me on nature hikes with him and his students)… but it has been very valuable.
Key concepts: Helpfulness and Obedience.
Age 10 & 11 – the first parts of the official sex talk – with Mark, I did it on a canoe trip.
Part 1: spiritual and biological purposes of sex
Part 2: the act of sex
Part 3: the dysfunctions and broken side of sex
Age 14 – Squire – event: probably a camping excursion of some kind.
Message: A Man is not just a tool, but also a weapon… we are not just helpful, but life-changing.
Discussion of masculine power – weapons are super helpful, but are also potentially dangerous. This topic came up under sex too. The more powerful something/someone is, the more intentional we have to be about what we do with it. The potential for great damage and great goodness are both there. Maybe this is when we talk about purity and virginity… the commitment to expressing his masculine power to communicate to women that they are treasure to be honored.
Key Concepts: Meekness (power submitted to another) is the key concept here!
Age 16 – here I would like to do an intentional mission trip and talk about the concept of calling and devotion to the great commission.
I will do something at 18, but I am not sure what yet. Maybe an actual philosophical and theological discussion on what it means to be a Godly Man, and how that title is bestowed by God and not earned by us. I would like to take a serious father/son trip around here – around the end of HS – some friends of mine climb Kilimanjaro. I like that idea…
Age 21 (or marriage) – Knight – event: probably an adventure trip. Not even sure what those options will be in another 8 years, so I don’t want to guess.
Gift: Sword and maybe a family ring
Message: Discussion… men are a weapon and a symbol. Men are dangerous, but we are also living examples of God. Our children will think God is like us… our wives will believe that God loves them like we do…
Key Concept: Shepherding and Servant Leadership
more to follow!