My life is ordered according to my most important relationships:
- My relationship with Jesus
- My marriage
- My relationship with my three sons
- My relationship with my church/my friends/my city
A dad’s job is to intentionally train his kids for a life of godliness and impact in our fallen world. Psalm 127 says:
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
Rare is the dad who carefully trains and prepares his kids, handling them like an arrow intentionally and deliberately launched into the world.
I want to be that kind of dad.
Working from left to right in the picture above, my sons are now 5 (Cru), 3 (Hudson), and 1 (Gus). One of the ways I’m attempting to train and launch my sons is through creating rites of passage for them–distinctive markers in time that initiate them towards manhood. So far I’ve created just two of these rites of passage (I’m creating them on the go).
The first rite of passage I’ve created for my sons is a backpacking trip. Once a Buzzard boy turns 3 years-old I take him on a backpacking trip with me. Two years ago I took Cru on his backpacking trip. Cru carried his own pack (full of diapers, snacks, and a stuffed animal), Cru hiked in 2 miles by himself, and we had a blast together. Two years later, we’re still talking about the trip. Below are two pictures from the trip.
Now, it’s Hudson’s turn. This week I take 3 year-old Hudson on his backpacking trip. I’m taking him to the same spot where I took his older brother two years ago. I’m preaching on rest/Sabbath this Sunday, so I’m also using this trip as part of my sermon prep–I’m going to rest, relax, and play with my son and attempt to live and model what I’m seeking to preach this Sunday.
I know these trips are deeply forming my sons. So is the other rite of passage I’ve formed for when a Buzzard boy turns 5 (I’ll save that for another post). I hope to continue forming creative rites of passage that will shape and prepare my sons towards manhood. Our world desperately needs strong men of God. I want my church to help produce such men, but I first want to produce such men out of the 5, 3, and 1 year-old boys living under my roof. I love them so much.
Fathers and mothers, let’s train our sons and daughters. We must be intentional in doing so. Fathers, let’s take the lead in this.
P.S. This article was originally written May 29,2012.
Justin Buzzard is founder and lead pastor of Garden City Church, a church plant in Silicon Valley, and author of the books The Big Story: How The Bible Makes Sense Out of Life and Date Your Wife.