Over many years of watching a Dad and his son grow together, I’ve learned a lot about the world of men. And if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that Dads are naturals at bringing adventure into the family mix.
At least that’s the way it was in the Osborn house. And growing up, Chris was always his dad’s sidekick and willing accomplice. Almost everywhere Jim went, there was Chris—riding shotgun.
They had dragons to slay and giants to overcome. Sometimes imaginary, sometimes real. I’ve learned there’s something inside a man (of any size) lights up in the face of the daring or impossible. It’s in the very fiber of their makeup.
Maybe facing the impossible is where a man learns when it’s not OK to back down.
Countless times I watched our son fall and more times than not, it was his Dad putting him back in the saddle again.
I often worried if Jim pushed him too far (if you’re a mom, then you know what that feeling is like). But looking back, I now see Jim helped his son grasp that he was stronger, faster and more daring than he knew. No doubt, Jim helped Chris crash through the ceiling of many self-limiting mindsets.
It was Dad who showed son what it takes to be a man.
I remember one particular time when Chris was a young kid, we were on a family outing in Sedona, AZ – hiking, climbing trees and scaling big rocks (because that’s what you do when you raise boys). Chris climbed out on a rock too far for his own good and got himself into a pickle. The next step he needed to take was riskier than he’d ever taken before. Fear washed over my mother’s heart when I saw the fear vivid in my son’s eyes. But Dad was there for him, ready to coach him through the tangle he’d gotten himself into.
Only this time was different.
Something inside Chris changed. But only Chris knew it. Only he felt it. He paused. It was one of those pregnant silences when you wonder—will there be an angry cry for help like the last time? Are we waiting for tears of frustration?
Not his time. This time was different.
Jim made an attempt to coach him out of trouble. But Chris responded with a shaky, “No Dad, I can do it.” That’s when Jim knew something changed too. He backed off. He understood.
I however, did NOT understand and my mother’s heart was beating out of control. I knew Chris’ strength was waning and I couldn’t help but imagine what would happen if things went sideways. But Jim knew better. He had stepped into that noose too many times. He’d learned when to give his son space.
Jim understood there are times when a man has to go it alone. Times when he must prove something to himself.
Chris took the necessary leap…a level beyond himself. He made it! And Dad gave son exactly what his male heart needed to hear, “Whoa son. Nice move up there!” Victory glowed on the faces of both father and son.
Moments like these are Dad moments.
It’s how a Dad teaches his son that nothing worth having happens without a fight.
It’s how a Dad teaches his son to reach for victory by leveling your gaze and staring down defeat.
I watched these moments happen in both tiny and gigantic ways. And I also watched a boy become a man because of it.
Don’t get me wrong, Jim wasn’t perfect. There were many scrapes and bruises along the way. Chris will tell you that. But fatherhood isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being present when a son needs a Dad to show him the way to manhood.
So here’s to the hairy legged version of humankind. May we, as women always remember to love and celebrate their male-ness. To say their unique design makes them vastly different than us in an understatement. But they are also glorious gifts made right from the image of glorious God.
Stay lovely my friend,