Our oldest son heads to the DMV to get his learners permit in a few weeks. Assuming he’s successful, he’ll have 365 days of training behind the wheel before he does it... gulp... alone.
His mother or I or a courageous grandparent will be by his side every second while he’s driving – which will be often. Cautioning words, an extra set of eyes, encouragement and (I pray) a lot of patience will flow from the more experienced hands to the learner.
It’s a time of intense and important preparation. In a few short months, he’ll have to make choices that will literally affect the lives of others... without our help.
He’ll be responsible to follow the laws of the road and held accountable for his actions. The needs of others will always come before his desire to get somewhere quickly. Care must be shown to his vehicle. Effort will be required to provide for gas money and insurance.
Having thought about all the training and care and effort that we’ll put into him becoming a good driver, I’m left wondering: have we done enough to help him become a man that follows God's heart?
Will he leave our house fully secure in God’s love for him? Will he treat the gift of grace as a means to show others God’s love through his own actions and words? Will the experiences and stories we created and shared together be enough to set him on a fruitful pathway to manhood?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated the ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children. I would an addendum: …and the readiness of those children to inherit it. Our boys need training to become the men our church, town, county, state, nation and world need.
Boys must have help growing up to become men who feel God’s love and forgiveness, men who are courageous and wise and honest, who will stand up for those in need and sit down with those who suffer.
Once he turns sixteen, has spent his year training, and has passed all his tests, we'll hand our son the keys to a car.
Shouldn’t we be at least as intentional in preparing him to hold the keys to the Kingdom?
PS - We created the Pathway to Manhood to help start these important conversations. Hope you'll join us.