Cory J. Ward is a new author who has two amazing sons: Joushua and David. When he shared that he would be releasing a book on Father's Day, we just had to be apart. As you may be a father, brother, son, or mentor/mentee, we definitely want you to read his new book. You can get it at www.coryjward.com! For now, check out an excerpt from Cory J. Ward's new book: Dear Son!
It’s 4am in the morning and I hear the shuffling of little feet coming into my wife and I’s bedroom. I look up and see this dark figure with dreadlocks...... (Joshua) behind that figure is a smaller one creeping quietly as well (David)......... They come to the edge of the bed and climb in, they are attempting to be as quiet as a 2 and a 4 year possibly can be, David’s favorite place is my chest, as he lays I see the corner of his mouth turn up and grin, David likes to hear my heart beat and the way my chest raises his little head. Joshua’s favorite place is my belly, “I want to lay on your belly daddy” I assume for him it's firm but yet soft like a good pillow. Either way that’s the routine...... Joshua is 4 and David is 2. Unfortunately, like some boys I didn’t have my dad growing up and it left a huge void in my life, I quickly imagine myself being their age, waking up in the middle of the night and searching for a chest or belly to lay on but not just any chest or belly but my father!
To My sons it represents comfort, safety, assurance, etc....... In the same aspect would I have known where to look or whom I was looking for? I say that to say this, since day one Joshua and David have always known where I am going to be and even in the dark can find me. But what if you have no point of reference of what you're looking for and where what you're looking for is if you have never had it but everything in you is telling you that you are missing something. Like so many unfortunately I myself like to know that feeling....... That feeling that something is missing, I don’t feel complete even though you have never had “it” by it I mean the presence of your father. Now I know every situation is different and you may not have your dad under the same roof but consistency is a great bridge to combat distance and living circumstances and situations. You may not wake up in the middle of the night and have a chest or belly to lay on but you know due to consistency...... “he’s coming to get me in the morning”, “He’s going to be at the game this week” or the recital, or whatever your “it” was. You are not wondering, looking for something without directions or guidance to help you. So I said all that to simply say them coming into the room almost every night is a part of that void never being developed or ever worrying about not having proper directions to get to where they need to go! What it was ultimately is saying...... Dad was readily available even when it’s no convenient.
Fatherhood can be described in so many ways from so many perspectives and schools of thought, mine comes from the Good father, Abba , God…… My thought process on fatherhood comes from the Bible! Unapologetically and unashamed. Had I not found Christ and submitted to the teachings there are 3 things I can tell you for sure. 1. I would not be where I am today as a person, 2. I would be a horrible husband, 3. I would be a bad father. Now I am not perfect at any of the above mentioned but with Christ I am consistent at each and still have my bad days but a better awareness of whom I am working to become according to what God says about each. I’m going to explain fatherhood in three specific aspects that detail many things within those 3 aspects. Fatherhood is an assignment (Proverbs 22:6) in this particular text the wording starts with “Train up a child in the way they should go” children are an assignment from God and for boys his first teacher should be his father, manhood is modeled and taught through word, action and deed. As a father your words must match your actions and deeds, meaning You have to be what you desire them to become, not in vocation or career per say but as a person.
Regardless if you are the garbage man, factory worker, suit and tie type the most important thing you can give your son is a set of principles, values and a code of conduct to live by, those things are transferable regardless of your education, background and income so its vital for fathers to be principled themselves so that they can impart those things into their sons, impartation also involves proximity so you have to be involved and intentional, can’t be an armchair dad, not being active but yet barking orders and merely telling without being and that means even where your away, I always ask myself two questions when my principles are put to the test away from my family, 1. Would God agree with me compromising my self-proclaimed principles then asking my sons to live by them while I pick and choose convenient times to? 2. What kind of story do I want to tell? Because the key is consistency not perfection, consistency is simply making the conscious choice to do what you know is right, there will be times where you fall short due to you being human but keep striving you’ll get there and when you are called on the carpet by you children don’t deflect accept and apologize, trust me they will give you grace. There have been plenty of days where I have had to go to my 2 and 4 year old and apologize for being inconsistent but it has helped create better awareness in myself and trust between me and my boys.
So let's look at the word “train-up” in this text, the word chanak means to “dedicate'' and “inaugurate” lets unpack the inaugurate definition as it actually links to my next point about fatherhood being an office. Inaugurate means “the beginning or introduction of a system and policy” The office of fatherhood is so vital, if handled with integrity, intentionality and Godly wisdom everyone wins……. In this office you are your children's first hero or villain. This office holds great power and responsibility, you are priest, protector, provider, projenator, leader, listener, teacher, advocate, disciplinarian, all are duties of the office of fatherhood that can’t be taken lightly because one day as you are doing day they will do, they will hold this office and they will only be as effective as they have been trained! Just about every social ill in society can be connected to fatherhood, the good and the bad. When the office of fatherhood is not honored similar to political offices society suffers. Just about every societal ill can be traced back to the office of fatherhood, and when we look at the statistic (77% black children born to single Washington Examiner) mother we always seem to point the finger at single motherhood but I look at it the same way God did with Adam in the garden, Eve bit the apple first but their eyes weren’t open until Adam bazxx it, Adam was created first not due to power, lording over or being the boss of but because of duty and responsibility!
I want to pause an look at that 77% percent reported in the article I sited, just because the child is born to a single mother does not mean the father is not active and present, but to when it comes to the statistics about single mothers the question should be asked “Adam where are you” now let me clear as another outliner every situation is different and I would be naive not to mention that there are well funded systems in place that have contributed to fathers being absent (Black fathers in particular), Jail, prisons, bitter mother of the child, Friend of the Court, lack of identity, I also know every circumstance children were made in are different (One night stand, out of wedlock) etc so I want to put that out there for awareness purposes and to still drive home the fact the circumstances doesn’t change the responsibility that comes with the office I most importantly don’t want anyone reading to feel judged or condemned, your children are a beautiful blessing and they need the best version of you.
We have covered fatherhood as an assignment and an office now lets cover the clue to the first two to make our trinity of fatherhood complete which is fatherhood is a function…. As a verb function means to “work or operate in a proper or particular way.” The function of fatherhood is all about doing the work and simply operating in the role….. The function is simply being……. Being consistent, being present, being whatever you have to be in order for them to become. The function is keeping your word and apologizing to them when you don’t keep it, listening, loving and leading. The function is modeling how to be honest, integral, and being a servant first. When these things happen with intentionality and urgency women are safer, respected, and valued. When fatherhood is done God's way young men love women without her having to be his lover, he is not intimidated by her success and supports her as an equal.
In closing These three pieces are what I think of when I think of fatherhood, an assignment that must be done and done correctly, an office that must be respected and governed correctly to ensure the success and safety of others and a function it has to be done if there's going to be change. That’s how I view fatherhood through those 3 aspects, but I forgot to add a vital piece which is mentorship. Self made men are a myth, fatherhood is a journey but not one to take alone…. It's not a boxing match where you’re one on one with all the issues that are going to come at you as a man and your children as they go through life but it is similar to a war. Wars are won with great intentional planning, adapting well to sudden change but most importantly soldiers! And soldiers are only as good as all the stuff just mentioned but mainly depending on who’s in the trenches and foxhole with them. Men need other men period so when embarking on the journey of fatherhood don’t do it alone, and know its okay not to know everything ask God to connect you and surround around the right men remember “Iron always sharpens iron”