Build Strong Children, Not Repair Broken men

We have a quote for you that we kind of want to riff off of and see what Jeremy thinks and I might share a thought or two and that is it is easier to build stronger children than to repair broken men. This is a quote from Frederick Douglas, the famous abolitionist, famous orator in about mid 1800s. Now it’s crazy how something can be almost 200 years old and even be more relevant actually now then maybe when it was even said. Because, I think actually men were in a lot better state in the mid 1800s.

Not perfect and certainly a lot of hard parts culturally and all over. I love that quote. I want to hear your thoughts, Jeremy, because I think it’s true. I think we have to realize not be so burdened that we reach paralyzation or anxiety, but we have to realize to be strong men you have to raise strong boys and boys that understand how to be gentle and kind and follow Jesus and trust him and live in his resurrection power, etc. And it’s so much easier to do that than to kind of go back and reform a lot of broken decisions, a lot of broken framework. So what would you add to that?

It’s become almost a joke in our culture where you go to the counselor, you’re 43 years old and all he wants to talk about is what happened when you were seven or 10 and so this reality is our culture really has finally really come up to understand what Frederick Douglas clearly realized over 100 years ago that we are really breaking children in the home and that if we can somehow, those little things that are happening inside of homes are breaking things inside of human beings that are so difficult and costly to repair. And to actually have stopped that from happening is 100 times easier than to repair it later. And this is one of the reasons you guys, why Jeff and I are so passionate about talking to dads because there are a lot of you guys are in a place where I think you’re asking the question, “Well, how strategic is it for me to really be thoughtful and intentional as a dad about the way I’m raising my kids?” And we’re saying it is incredibly important for the future of everything.

It’s difficult to imagine a more strategic thing than to encourage dads to be really thoughtful and careful about the way that they are crafting these little human lives during the most impressionable years when they’re learning how to love, when they’re learning who they are, when they’re asking some of the deepest questions about the world and about God and to be there for them and to be talking to them and be engaging with them with increasing skill that is one of the things that that can really help heal society in the future. Now obviously one of the reasons why I think a lot of us don’t maybe spend the time to think about this is that we may not be alive to see a lot of the fruit of the kind of work we’re doing in our children’s generation.

And so sometimes we can become fixated what is happening maybe politically in our generation. What catastrophes can we think about forestalling and that obviously has purpose, but man, really think about the future. Think about that next generation and the impact that you can have. Because a lot of the damage that’s been done we’re only going to be able to repair elements of a lot of it because there was just so much devastation in each of these generations. But man, there’s so much we can do for the next generation. And so the leverage is just all there for us to be aware of. And I just think Frederick Douglas hit the nail on the head. What are your thoughts, Jeff?

I mean I think again, it’s interesting how something can become so relevant even later and later as we go on. And it’s almost he kind of saw the writing on the wall with manhood and I think this also can go across the board in a few different regards. I don’t know why I thought of this book. It’s not super relevant, but The Coddling of the American Mind. I don’t know if you’ve read that book or heard of that book. I feel this has coming out that from a different angle of just understanding the layers that have to actually take you to a place of where you’re at when it’s, no, we got to go farther back, understand the whole story and what’s going on. I think there’s, like you said, I think it’s all across the board there.

I think we have to realize how important it is to shape our kids early on in life. We’re shaping them. I think sometimes we think it’s hands off let them do what they need to do and what they want to. No, we are shaping our kids for the betterment of mission, for the world, for themselves, for God, for everything. So we have to understand that but then also understanding that all of us will still have parts about us that are broken, that are hard, that weren’t perfect, that our parents may be messed up on us and that God heals. God redeems. God always for until you die, wants to shape you into the image of his son no matter what it was like as a kid, good or bad, or somewhere in the middle. So that’s what I would probably say and end with there’s always hope. There’s always grace. But at the same time we also have to be diligent for living and doing and living out our mission as fathers to shape our children.

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