Side by Side

Someone told me the other day that the greatest loss of the 21st century came as a result of the industrial revolution. Prior to the advent of massive manufacturing, which was obviously a good thing for the economy and country, the nation was predominantly agricultural. Men, for the most part, would work their family business/farm and their sons would join them at their side at the appropriate age. The result was that boys started watching their fathers work, negotiate, interact, and problem-solve from a first-hand perspective. There was an opportunity to observe, ask questions and eventually mimic the father’s behaviors thus developing the boys abilities and beliefs through a life on life investment.

Upon the shift that came as a result of larger companies driving the economy and providing more and more jobs, the men that previously worked with their sons at their side now left in the morning to go to work. The boys were left at home to go to school, help around the house, play sports or whatever. The difference, of course, was that there was not the same interaction and experience with the father.

photo 2-1croppedSince my son has been an infant, I’ve been involved with the Quest ministries of Fellowship of the Sword. Upon returning from a Quest, my son has always joined the circle of men for the final charge as we encourage one another at the conclusion of the event. From the time he was barely walking, Haynes would go into this circle with me. As I’ve had opportunities to lead, I’ve stepped out to address the group and Haynes walks out beside me. I’ve never invited him or prohibited him, he just instinctively walks out and stands beside me. If I step to the left, he steps to the left. He doesn’t tug on my leg or interrupt nor is he intimidated by the focus of the moment being directed towards us. He’s just there with me, observing and taking a part, however small.

We want to be intentional about our children being able to observe and participate with Julie and I in “real-time.” Julie leads a ministry that serves single mothers, some of whom come from difficult circumstances. Our daughter, Olivia, is often involved in ministry and service to those ladies from an up close a personal perspective. The conversations and emotions that can’t be replicated in a lesson nearly as well as they can be lived out in person have a weight to them that comes with personal experience. She’ll know how to serve people without judgement regardless if we ever “teach” that lesson from any kind of intellectual reasoning.

Plenty was gained from the industrial revolution. It’s time for our families to take back that which was lost.

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