Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Vision for Men in Training

Helping our boys become men is more than a little challenging, especially in a world filled with competing interests.  Why get firewood in, take out the garbage and clean your room when there are video games to be played and apps to be downloaded to your iGadget?  Why should a young man bother with leading the family in prayer in the morning when he could be getting a few extra minutes of shut-eye?  Why think beyond your own selfish desires when you are only young once, after all - you will be a man when you grow up, right?

Wrong.  Unless we train our boys to be men when they are young, they will be nothing but boys when they are grown.  Unfortunately, we live in a society that no longer respects the position of men.  We undermine their authority.  We ridicule their masculinity.  We marginalize their existence.  We treat them like children who are incapable of managing themselves, much less lead a family or a nation.

Master Hand Grenade is a sixteen year old man.  He is not perfect.  He is a work in progress.  He still wavers between boy and man, but the balance has tipped in the mans favor.  He has begun to have a vision.

Biblically,  a man fulfills four offices when serving his family.  He is the priest of his home.  He is a prophet.  He is a provider.  He is a protector.  In our quest to help our boys become men, we have realized that not just a father is responsible to be a priest, prophet, provider and protector, but that our young men can and should step into those roles in the absence of or in conjunction with their father.

Sir Knight is gone during the day, working to provide for his family.  He leaves before the children are out of bed and doesn't return home until it's time for dinner.  Master Hand Grenade could choose to be a child and laze around all day expecting to be taken care of, however, he chooses to be a man and act in his fathers stead.  His father has given him a vision of what a man must be and Master Hand Grenade would be ashamed to be merely a boy.

Each morning, Hand Grenade leads our little band in prayer.  He takes prayer requests, prays over the concerns of the day and asks for the wisdom to discern the scriptures we are reading.  In doing so, he takes on the role of "priest" for this family.

Being a prophet is a bit more challenging.  Sir Knight is chief prophet in our home, however, Master Hand Grenade listens and learns.  He looks to the future, sees the signs of the times and helps his dad formulate plans to keep our family walking in the way of truth.  By adhering to the proverb "A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it" (Proverbs 22:3) he is fulling the office of "prophet".

Understanding the role of a provider is easy in theory but much more challenging to execute.  Sir Knight works every day and brings home a paycheck, therefore providing for the family, but how can Master Hand Grenade provide for our family?  He doesn't have a paying job.  He can only hunt during hunting season.  What is a young man to do?  He can do his chores (without being asked, doing them thoroughly and with a good attitude).  By sawing, splitting and bringing in firewood, Master Hand Grenade is providing heat for our family.  By taking out the garbage, he is providing a clean home in which we ladies can work.  By keeping the oil in the generator changed and the gas tank full, he provides us with power to keep the house running.  Sir Knight depends on Master Hand Grenade to provide for our physical necessities in his absence.  If that isn't fulfilling the office of "provider", I don't know what is!

Being a protector is something every little boys dreams of.  What boy doesn't daydream about vanquishing the enemy and restoring peace to his little kingdom - of being the hero?  Sir Knight has spent many an hour teaching Hand Grenade the complexities of keeping our family safe.  When Sir Knight drives off in the morning, he does so with the calm assurance that if need be, Hand Grenade would give his life defending me and his siblings.  Rather than wasting time killing bad guys on the latest video game, Master Hand Grenade has shouldered the responsibility of protecting real-live people, his people, in his fathers absence.  By protecting us, he is about his fathers business.

By the grace of God, Master Hand Grenade has never had to fulfill the role of protector - until last week, that is.  When the kids and I were in town, doing some last minute shopping before Christmas, an obviously drunk man approached my daughters, who were standing outside our truck.  Quick as a flash, I was out of the truck, racing to stand between my daughters and this potential threat, but before I could get there, Master Hand Grenade had stationed his body squarely in front of the drunkard.  Then, the most amazing thing happened.  Master Hand Grenade grew 6 inches.  No, really, he did!  My son is already 3 inches taller than I am, but in the space of about 4 seconds, he gained the status of a giant.  Suddenly the drunk man looked up, saw "Captain America" standing in front of him, and instantly became compliant and non-threatening.  Having been trained to be a man, Master Hand Grenade didn't hesitate to put himself between his girls and a very real threat.  Sir Knight's faith had been well placed.

Our country needs men.  Real men.  Our great desire is to raise such men.  Master Hand Grenade is well on his way.  Master Calvin is following in his footsteps.  They will fall, they will fail, but we will help them back up, dust them off and give them a vision for what could be - what should be.  They are men in training.


  1. Its good to hear Master Hand Grenade has "stepped up to the plate" so to speak when his sisters were facing a potential threat.

    I hear a lot of tough talk from a lot of men about what they would do "if this happened" or "that" happened. The only true test to find out "when" something does happen and the man really does what he says.

    I learned that in the military. When the "poop hit the fan" I stood up to the plate and did my job. One other thing I can say. I have seen large weight lifting football players cower in fear, and I have seen scrawny little guys with eyeglasses with the "hearts of Lions" and show absolutely no fear.

  2. Thank you for another great posting. We have 3 boys, and 2 girls, my wife and I feel that god has blessed us with them and we pray that we have done a good job in raising them. We worry about them as parents should, but so far they are on the right path in life. No drugs, and etc.

  3. Give "Captain America" an atta-boy and a slap on the back from me.


  4. Kuddos to you and your husband for raising such a fine young man, and to your son for doing what needed to be done.
    Warrior on.

  5. Enola,
    There were NO protector men in our family unit when I was reared in it.
    That environment elicited that it was my duty, as the eldest daughter of 4 girls, to assume that role as protector of my family, and especially that of my younger sisters.
    No bully dared antagonize my sisters with fears of harming them. At least not until they became adults.
    The role of protector is still unshakable in me, even after all these years.

  6. What a fine job you and Sir Knight have done with your children; and what a fine job they are doing in becoming the fine young men and women you have led the on the path to become! Kudos to you and to them, especially that brave young man who is strong is so many important ways. He will make a fine leader of his own family some day, continuing on with what you have taught him by your example...

  7. They're not as rare as you might think. My Dad died when I was 14, and some of the roles I just sort of fell into without thinking much about it.No one had to get me up for school, as long as chores were done, it didn't matter how I did them. I had to run off the occassional drunk family memeber who had been thrown out of a place and decided we should adopt them(I've had to do this a couple times as an adult-why is it the family drunks think family who don't drink should adopt and subsidize them?)-bear in mind I looked like a 4-foot-10 Weird Al Yankovic at the time(I was 14,and this was 1976). I fell into it with(relatively) little friction because I had good parents.Certain things were expected of you,and there is some pride in accomplishing those things and gaining respect. My parents excelled in making these goals something that you wanted to do-not just something to do to avoid punishment.
    I didn't necessarily see it at the time, but in looking back, my parents were genius at it.It's a 24/7/365 job.
    There are still plenty of decent people in the world,and never think otherwise. Jerks just make more noise and get noticed,that's all.

  8. May God bless your husband and your young men. May he also bless the ladies that take care of those men. I too thank God that my Mother also raised me to "be the man I was supposed to be".


  9. Enola, this is merely a suggestion. Perhaps Hand Grenade would be a great Karate pupil. Wish I had learned at his age. I had to wait until I was out of the Army and back from VN. I was 30 y.o. when I got instruction. It is great for self esteem and for practical knowledge. It has come in very handy. I think it is a good character builder.

  10. I am sick of girly men. This state had a governor who looked like a man, but he was also a girly man. It seems men think muscles make them manly, but it is actually their willingness to step into the breach that makes them manly. Thank God there are still some men around who do that, and to those men I say THANK YOU!

    Happy New Year!

    NoCal Gal

  11. I laughed at a great memory while reading this. About 25 years ago, when I was a young mother to a 12 year old son, we were in a K-Mart. Hubby was in the hunting dept. looking at guns and I was roaming around looking at towels, picture frames, etc. A much older man (than me, at the time) apparently thought I was cute and started ogling and trying to start a conversation with me. I was about to give him the snooty brush-off, when all of a sudden, my son rounded the corner. I will never forget it, I saw him size up the situation immediately. His chest and chin automatically jutted out, his hands clinched into fists and he was suddenly between me and this jerk. When he said, "what do you think you're looking at?" his voice was actually deeper than I had ever heard it. The man made his exit and my hubby's imput was never needed. My son had it covered.
    MaryB in GA

  12. What a beautiful post. I have had many of the same thoughts, but could not have written them nearly as eloquently as you. May God continue to guide the paths of your men in training.

  13. And here I was thinking as I saw the family road work picture "gosh, I'll have to post a comment and ask Enola if she noticed the young master grow a full foot in the last year". :)

    Your family is many times blessed - and a positive testament to 'reap what you sow'. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Wonderful post! Gives me hope that we are infact not alone in this counter-culture child rearing


  15. When I was active in LE, I dealt with many men or women in training. Or at least that's what I told them they were. Some good results.

    Master Hand Grenade, you've reached certain parts of manhood. One of those was when you "manned up" between your sisters and the drunkard. I salute you for your courage and character. It appears you'll be one of the sheep dogs.

    The sheep dog lives to protect the Good Shepherds flock and to confront the wolf.

    I am a sheep dog.

  16. That was amazing post. I had my wife and son sit down as I read it to them. Keep up Lord's work in your boys. Keep us updated on the boys as well.


  17. Wonderful post.

    Thankyou for sharing x


  18. It's been 3 weeks since your last post. My dear wife for the last 56 years and I both miss you. We hope all is well with you and your family.

    Hangtown Frank

  19. My sons are still very young, the oldest being only 7, but this is what I would hope he would do in the same situation. Brought tears to my eyes. You have raised a fine young man and I hope to do the same with mine. I am a new reader, but love the way you think. It is hard to find others who think as my husband and I do. Nice to know we are not totally alone.