By Dave Brewer
Many men like myself were raised in the era of John Wayne movies, or we have seen his movies on television. We had dads who told us when we wiped out on our bikes, or got hurt playing football in the backyard, “Just put some dirt on it.” We were taught from the time we were little to toughen up, to hide our pain. Some of this was healthy because we need to learn resilience, we need to learn to have the strength to overcome all that life throws at us. At the same time, all men experience pain, and it is important to be at peace about our disappointments in life so we don’t become bitter. Otherwise these things fester, and we tend to take out our frustrations on the significant people in our life without even realizing it.
In one of John Wayne’s iconic western movies, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, he played cavalry officer Captain Nathan Brittles who was as tough as nails. In typical Wayne persona, he said, “Never apologize! It’s a sign of weakness!” While his role was heroic, his advice to civilians is unsound for a lot of reasons. We do mess up, we do overreact, we do make mistakes, and we need to apologize on occasion to our wife, our kids, and other people.
Many of our grandfathers came through tough times and did not know how to mentor our own fathers. As a result, our dads did not know how to talk to us men about marriage, parenting, how to handle temptation, peer pressure, failure, etc. Every boy needs to know that he has a special place in his father’s heart. He needs encouragement and affirmation, especially when he experiences failure. Actor Burt Reynolds once said, “When my father entered the room, he sucked all the oxygen out of it.” Reynolds never received the affirmation that he needed from his father while he was growing up. He spent years trying to prove himself worthy of his father’s approval through fighting and sports, all without success.
Author John Eldredge comments:
“Without this bedrock of affirmation, this core of assurance, a man will move
unsteadily through the rest of his life, trying to prove his worth and earn
belovedness through performance or achievement, or in a thousand
other ways. Quite often he doesn’t know this is his search. He simply finds
himself uncertain in some core place inside, ruled by fears and the opinions
of others, yearning for someone to notice him. . . A young place in his
heart is yearning for something never received. There needs to be someone
at his side to interpret the failures and setbacks, to urge him to get back
on his horse.” (The Way of the Wild Heart)
Eldredge also wrote about overprotecting our sons. He said:
“A boy is wounded when his parents simply let him live in front of the TV, or
the computer, or the video games young men love. . . It is emasculating to
shelter a young man from everything dangerous. (The Way of the Wild Heart)
Christ Church is sponsoring a men’s conference on Saturday, Nov. 17 called Broken, Not
Defeated. Life is full of challenges, and men today struggle because they face all kinds of things: father wounds, marital issues, difficulties with their kids, battles with addictions and pornography, divorce, how to protect their kids from distortions in our culture; setting limits for their kids on the use of smart phones and social media, etc. The purpose of this conference is to affirm men that we are all broken in some way, but that Jesus Christ is the answer to our struggles and the key to our healing and hope. Romans 8:35 says: “In all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
We have a fantastic featured speaker Steve Chiles coming in from Oklahoma, and many breakout seminars that will address the issues the men struggle with, including “Becoming a strong husband/father in your home,” “How to be a Dad when you didn’t have a model,” “Dealing with sexual issues,” “Being a man of integrity in today’s world,” “Fathering a special needs child,” “Breaking the demons that haunt you,” “Learning how to mentor others,” and “Cultural threats to the family and how to vaccinate your kids against these threats.”
You can register for the conference at ccgf.org/broken Register early and you will get a discount price. Make sure that you invite a few friends because all of us know other men who are struggling with various issues. Mike Davis, the Leader of the Men’s Ministry, Rev. Jamie Kendrew – Family Life Pastor, and Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Jared Ott have made this wonderful conference available. Make sure that you don’t miss it.