Ever take a small child with his birthday cash to a dollar store? Either the child goes crazy and piles more in the basket than he can afford or he takes an agonizingly long time to pick out the one perfect item. Silently, you are wondering how this child will ever pick the right college or spouse with his current decision making skills.
As our children mature, we tend to forget our concerns. Most of the time our children make pretty good decisions and once in a while they will make a really poor one. Either way, we let them work through it with little formal instruction on the steps for making a good decision.
Maybe you struggle with decision making yourself. If you are like me, the popular pro/con list rarely works. Either we are so swayed, we can only see one side or we are so analytical, both sides come out evenly. Praying helps, but God rarely places a billboard on our street with specific point by point plans for us.
Recently, I was privileged to hear Malcolm Gladwell speak about his new book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. (I admit, everyone in the audience got a free copy of the book after his speech, but it doesn’t change my opinion of the book!) Now, I have heard the story of David and Goliath so many times, I feel like I may know them personally. Mr. Gladwell shared some insight into the story though, I had never heard before.
After doing some extensive research into battle tactics and weaponry of the time and the potential health issues of Goliath, Mr. Gladwell came to an interesting conclusion. David wasn’t as much of an underdog as we portray him, but that does not lessen God’s role in the story or our dependence on God. Rather it demonstrates how God can equip us to slay our “giants” by giving us talents and opportunities that make these supposed giants not so giant after all.
Want to hear something really scary? Observers have noticed something about most public justice systems around the world. The average police force operates on a 15-70-15 rule. Fifteen percent of the force is considered incorruptible. They have high moral standards. It doesn’t matter what bribes or threats others may make, these people in the moral fifteen percent will stay true to their moral standards.
The other fifteen percent is equally true to their standards. Unfortunately, their standards are the lowest – they are actively seeking bribes and other dishonest ways to increase their power and income. It doesn’t matter what rules or punishments the force has in place, this fifteen percent will remain corrupt.
And what about the remaining seventy percent? This is what I find the most upsetting. The other seventy percent is easily swayed. If they are placed with the ethical fifteen percent, they will generally react in ethical ways. If they are placed with the unethical fifteen percent, they too will begin looking for bribes and acting in unethical ways.
Have you ever watched a child almost dart in front of a car? Anyone and everyone will move heaven and earth to intervene and save the child’s life. No one stops to worry about who is watching the child or what the reaction will be after intervening. All anyone cares about is the immediate intervention needed to save the child from being hit by a car.
In reality, many children in our world are in need of intervention. Not just from abuse, neglect and starvation (although millions need that too). The children of the world need us to intervene so they will not become attached to Satan. Even in our churches most of our children will eventually leave God. Yet, we feel little need to intervene in some way. We assume children will pick up “God” by some sort of osmosis. Even the Church itself often provides parents with little more support than classes once or twice a week and an occasional fun activity.
Walk into almost any church and you will find boys with names like Caleb, Noah, Daniel and John. I would assume many parents chose those names in hopes their sons would grow up to become strong in the Lord, just like the men for whom they were named.
Unfortunately, giving a child a name of a godly person does not guarantee your child will be faithful. If it were, every child in most churches would have a biblical name! Parents have to do something more to set their sons on the paths to becoming heroes of faith. But what?
Raising Boys by Design by Gregory Jantz and Michael Gurian gives parents a blueprint for helping develop the character traits your sons will need to become the men God designed them to be. The authors use a combination of recent brain research, counseling experience and their own personal journeys to explain what most boys need and very few are receiving to help them grow to be godly men.