A cry of joy escaped the snorkel tube as my four year old jumped over the side of the low bamboo boat. His flippers carried him off behind Daddy before the two disappeared deep into coral, far beyond my reach. Memories of my own near-drowning at Jacob’s age kept me fastened to the bench, taking my inner cautions captive so my boy could discover a whole new world on his Dadventure. It’s not just okay to make room for Dadventures in a boy’s life; it’s good.
Our family believes in Dadventures. Since my husband has an adventurous spirit, I should’ve known our kids were destined for lessons in reptile captures and starting fires with flint. My accident-prone childhood left a deep sense of caution in my gut, but before our littles were out of baby backpacks, I choose to embrace my husband’s contributions. After all, boys watch and listen to mom’s attitude about Dadventures.
When they’re little and their world hinges on mommy, they listen to see if she believes in daddy, trusts him, and respects him. Does she embrace male/female differences by encouraging masculine parenting? Sons need deposits from dad as much as from mom. Single moms work hard to compensate and invite godly men to make deposits into their sons. Dad can give what I don’t have to meet needs I can’t. A son is the product of a partnership.
“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8)
While I bobbed on the surface over the coral canyons, Jacob discovered a whole new world, a new side of his Creator, and a side of his dad he never stopped admiring. They explored the world without me, and I was grateful. Let your boy discover the world with dad.
Discoveries of heartache and loneliness had followed by the time our boy weighed his backpack for a canoe trip with a crew of dads and sons and no cell coverage, updates, or moms. There would only be ebony skies with the Northern Lights, crying Loons and high cliffs begging boys to jump into take-your-breath-away water. He wanted to go where I was not invited or prepared to follow. This Dadventure bonded them tighter and moved our son one step closer to the man-circle, which might be why my stomach felt so empty when they drove away. If he was to grow in trust for his dad, I had to make more room for Dadventures. I had to let my boy follow his dad into the world.
God gives gifts to our men to give gifts to our boys.
From the cabin window, I saw angry clouds claiming the distant peak where they climbed. From the safety of my porch, I could only wonder and pray. Three days later they told stories of sheltering in a crevice and crossing chest-high, glacier-fed streams. They still call it “the epic hike.” It’s not merely okay to make room for Dadventures in a boy’s life; it’s good.
I am certain my boy will face challenges, so he needs to learn to face them as a godly man. Let your boy learn to overcome the world from dad.
Mom isn’t called to curb dad’s contribution in the name of concern and caution. We may be tempted to keep our man-cub close to home where we feel in control. Our mom-ways can rob our boys of opportunities to grow into young men, especially if we stifle their father’s part in their progress. Instead of expecting dad to choose mom-approved activities in mom-preferred ways, let’s embrace our men influencing our boys as they are wired to do – as men. When your boy’s older and his world is wide open, he’ll listen to see if mom believes in him, trusts him, and respects him like she did for dad.
- Let your boy discover the world with dad.
- Let your boy follow dad into the world.
- Let your boy learn to overcome from dad.
A mom’s contribution can’t be overstated, but a dad’s contribution can’t be eliminated. Embrace the Dadventures in your boy’s life, and he will learn to discover, follow, and overcome as the man God calls him to be!
- For a daughter’s perspective on The Epic Hike & how it impacted her, read here.
- Read about The Involved Father & what he is like here.
- Check out the chapters Baby Takes Two & Baby Talk About Daddy in my book Expectant.
God winked when He joined accident-prone Julie with risk-taking Jeff. Together they’ve parented two kids (including a climbing boy!) through serving, reading, and adventuring around the world. While she lives where tea is sweet and grits are cheesy, Julie loves to teach God’s word to women in her hometown and across the globe. She is a Women’s Ministry Leader and author who is also passionate about fighting human trafficking. Check out Julie’s blog home Come Have a Peace (www.juliesanders.org) and Marriage Mondays to find reasons for peace and information about speaking.