August 11, 2008

God First When Communicating With Your Sons

Ephesians 6:4 “And ye fathers, provoke
not your children
to wrath; but bring
them up in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord”.

As a father having a 16 year old son, I find it
challenging to talk to him at times, to really
have a discussion about his week at school,
home, his friends, his worries and
concerns. It is especially hard since he
and his sister live
an hour away with
their mother and I see them every other
weekend. So when I pick them up I start off with a smile.

Smiles are strange things for some
men; Wekevia defines a smile as a ”facial expression characterized
by an upward curving of the corners of the mouth and indicating
pleasure, amusement or derision”. To many men a smile is sometimes
portrayed as weakness, but why is weakness associated with a
of acceptance, love and pride?

Children interpret 85% of their communication with the father or father
figure in their lives by non-verbal gestures. When you break it down,
“most communication is actually non-verbal. This means that factors
like posture, facial expression, hand movement, and eye contact
play a significant role in communicating” ( As men
we rarely verbally express to our sons how we feel; stated in
1 John 3:18, ” My little children let us not love inward, neither (with)
tongue, but in deed and truth”. A response is faster through the physical
messages that we as men give as opposed to the verbal responses we project.

Since we model for our sons, the author K. Harris of Prince, The Future King series states, “fathers are critically important to their children’s well being and are a role model for their sons.”

It is widely known how important fathers are in the lives of their children; statistics abound with data on how fathers affect discipline, academic achievement, and social relationships.
My father was not in my life so Idid not get
foundation for communicating as a young man, so I watched other fathers with their sons to learn how to be a good communicator to my son. This taught me how to communicate from a multicultural perspective since that is the world we live in. This coincides with the writings in Proverbs 4:1 which states, “Hear ye children the instruction of a father and attend to know understanding”.
Men, teach your children that you will guide them and nurture them, but not lead them down the wrong paths.

The interactivity of a father and son can range in emotions from respectful, happy, joyous, awkward, rebellious or confrontational. Smiles and hugs can defuse a possible confrontational situation and confirm feeling of love, respect
and acceptance. Our interaction with our son(s) should come with either a hug, a smile, a pat on the back, and or words of encouragement not cussing, physical violence and the denigration of their inner spirituality. Our children like us are spiritual beings that need guidance and opportunities to grow.

Stated in (2006), “Child research has consistently demonstrated that loving, involved fathers are beneficial to the health, education and welfare of their children. When fathers are absent from the home or uninvolved in the learning and developmental process children suffer”. As a teacher at an elementary school and a professor at a local community college I see the results of the lack of a father figure in many homes. This is not to say that mothers are not doing a good job, on the contrary many are doing an excellent job, but a mother is challenged in teaching a son or sons how to be a man in today’s world.

In modifying discipline and addressing behavioral challenges, smiles are used to reinforce learning outcomes and redirect inappropriate behavior. What child would want a smack down instead of a smile and a hug? Discipline works better when it is proactive by addressing positive behaviors before hand not just reacting to negative behaviors when they occur. Research has shown that it does not matter the ethic background of the child so there is no “White” way or “Black” way to discipline. I have been told on several occasions that I treat my children like they are white by talking to them and providing positive reinforcement instead of beating the he** out of them. My reply to this statement is, “slavery has been over for many years, it is time to stop the slave mentality of trying to beat our youth into submission”.

Do we challenge our children’s behavior through the use of fear or love?

When will the generational mentality change to help our children grow into positive and productive adults? Stated during an NEA convention in 2006 to fathers nation wide, “.. tell your children how much you admire their good
qualities... Listening to your children and talking with them and not at them are all rewards, the kind that you can give hundreds of times every day”. Stated in 1 John 3:11, “…for this is the message that ye heard from the
beginning, that we should love one another”. We have to remember that our teenage sons want the same things that we as adult men want, to be respected, loved and trusted.

They must be taught to respect, how to love and how to gain trust. Trust comes in many forms and fashions, when reading Ephesians 4:25, “wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members
one of another”. So men unite in a common quest to raise our sons whether you are in the home or not and accept the responsibilities that we have as contributors of life.

To speak truth to our sons and to each other, in Ephesians 4:29 states, “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that may minister grace unto the hearers.”
The hearers and those that witness our actions are our children, our young men struggling to be men, waiting for a word from their fathers, a word of truth, a word of respect, a word of acceptance and love.

How can we reinforce these, with a smile and a hug.

William Jackson
“Copyright William Jackson. All Rights Reserved

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