There was a young boy by the name of Samuel. Samuel was smart, athletic, and he had a mysterious curiosity. From the outside, Samuel looked like every other boy, but this wasn’t the real Samuel. Samuel’s mom and dad had divorced when he was eight, and now his mom is married to a man who “never wanted to have kids.” Samuel’s dad moved away from their small town and away from his son’s life without a forwarding address. Samuel simmered with anger and struggled with depression. Although the fathering gap was obvious, Samuel’s step-dad wasn’t concerned with stepping in to fill it. Over the years of striving to be loved by his dad and then his step dad, Samuel’s grief grew a dark and dim, hidden by overachieving.
The script that formed in Samuel was I could only be loved if I could perform.
The real Samuel thought and believed that he had to excel at school, becoming the archetype of athleticism, and his curiosity was a way of hiding from real life. Overachieving was the cover fire for his wounded soul that lacked blessing.
To be blessed is to be appreciated, valued and spoken of for who we are and not having to strive for approval by what we do.
To be blessed is based off of personhood not performance.
To be blessed has to do with being, while affirmation has to do with doing. If one does not receive blessing, he will try to fill that void with affirmation, but it will not meet the need to be blessed. A young boy’s blessing is to know that he is valued as a son, as a member of the family, and to know of his potential as a man. As for Samuel, he created a script that said, “I must achieve to receive blessing from others” and he never fully recovered. His internal narrative caused him to work himself into relational stonewalling; thus isolating himself from those around him with hobbies and unnecessary overtime. He never had close friends. His wife and kids were distant and confused. His father and stepfather’s lack of blessing radically defined his life. The unmet desire for a father’s blessing left his soul war torn like the blood washed beaches of Normandy.
Churchill became one of the greatest men of his era even though his father treated him as if he were a mistake. History has well documented Churchill’s longing for a father to let him know he was valued, loved and had potential as a man. His longing was met with an emotional distance that was as cold as the snow-capped Alps.
Winston Churchill lived a painful life on the road to being revered as a great leader. Churchill was the atypical son, or so his father thought. Lord Randolph Churchill, Winston’s father, thought that he had to be “retarded” because he wasn’t like the other boys. History well documents the lack of conversations Churchill would have with his father. Between his father’s political conquests, parental apathy and mental decline, Winston suffered from this lack of blessing throughout his life. As a young boy, Winston once recalled how he longed to have his parents visit him in boarding school, but for reasons that only God knows, they didn’t visit him. This brokenness fueled a fire in Winston, but in many other people it snuffs the fire out. Winston did have a person who tried her best to give him a blessing, and that person was the nanny, Elizabeth Everest. She poured into him by listening to his dreams and praising him for what he had done. Her affect on his life was noteworthy.
Winston would have many faces on his way to greatness. He was a military academy graduate, prisoner of war, brilliant orator and writer, and political outcast but even in his loneliest of times, persistence and resilience were his constant companions. His rise and collapse made him one of the most hated men in England, but his continual striving is what helped him to be the man we remember today. Even with his acclaim and success, he longed for his fathers love even after his father’s bones were long in the grave. One only knows, but did Churchill become the man we remember because of his lack of father’s blessing or in spite of it?
Passing on a blessing to a son is key in the development to become a man. Internally, boys desire to be a man, but the corrosive world betrays the internal desire for purpose, blessing and affirmation. As John Eldridge says in his landmark book, Wild at Heart, “Deep in the heart of a man are these three formative questions: Who am I?, What am I made for?, and What am I destined for?” These three identity-forming questions shape the heart of every boy/man and without them a boy/man is a ship without a rudder in a sea of gender confusion fueled by masculine angst. Bottom line, he will have much steam and energy but no direction. This fractures a man even more and misplaces the strength that he has been given. This doesn’t have to be the end. We can change our own destinies and the destinies of those we are raising.
I can feel the urge to take my own masculine ground when I read this rallying cry from Churchill on June 18, 1940,
“Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization.
Upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity or our institutions, and our Empire.
The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us.
Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island, or lose the war.
If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed, and the life of the world may move forward onto broad and sunlit uplands.
But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States,
and all that we have known and cared for,
will sink into the abyss of a Dark Age made more sinister
and perhaps more pronged by the lights of perverted Science.
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and Common wealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say,
‘This was their finest hour.’
Indeed, it was a fine hour for Churchill, the British and the world.
Maybe this will be your finest hour?
There is more at stake that you can imagine. The battle is bigger than you are currently aware. The Enemy seeks to divide and conquer. We need one another. A band of brothers bent on fighting the battles that matter, such as the battle to bestow a blessing to our sons. Here are some ways to put this into practice.
How can you send a proper blessing to your son?
- Remind him that he is your son and you are pleased that God chose for him to be your son. This simple and constant reminder is based off position in your family.
- Any time you see your son doing something that shows his growth as a man, notice it and tell him.
- After failing, give your son the confidence that even though he has messed up, he is still valued, loved and appreciated as your son.
- Finally, steer him away from harmful situations that compromise his integrity, character, and journey to being a man.
How can you send a blessing to another man without it being weird?
- For Christian men, remind them that as a brother in Christ, they are a vital part of the family of God. Their place in the family of God is not based off performance; it is rooted in the blood of Jesus and the finished work on the cross.
- For all men, point them toward other men who are using their masculine strength for the benefit of others.
- Make yourself available for further conversations.
What does Jesus have to do with both?
- As the gifted Psalmist wrote about God, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his dwelling. God sets the lonely in families…”
- Giving oneself over to the One who can reorient, renew, and reshape your destiny is the first step to recovering a blessing. Like a wise man said of all Christians, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
- God rescues those who submit to his authority, giving them the sonship, family and blessing they crave. These are pieces that are vital to our identity in Christ.
Did you see it? The way to blessing begins through faith in Christ Jesus. We are not our own, and we are not alone. This bears repeating. We are not our own, and we are not alone. We are His, and we are family. Even with the failures, there is a Way. When our shadow side competes for the Divinity within us, there is a Way. Even if we have never been given a blessing of a future, there is a Way. Jesus is the Way.
Psalm 68:5-6, NIV84 (emphasis mine)
 Galatians 3:26–29, NIV84
John 14:6, NIV84