by Mike McDonough, Pastor of Spiritual Development
You learn a lot about people when you go camping.
Let’s be honest- your true self comes out when you are setting up camp on the hottest day of the year (so far) and sweat is just pouring down your face. Then just as you are about to dry out from the sweat (the next day) it begins to rain! Finally, you begin to dry out the third day, but it is pointless because it is the day you are going canoeing.
Despite the heat and eternal wetness, all of the dads and kids had a great time on our Father’s Day weekend camping trip a few weeks back. I believe our true selves stayed at bay and Christ really showed Himself in the lives of all who went.
One morning as I was sitting by the campfire pit (no fire because it was hot, remember?), I realized how much I needed these other men in my life. Then I began to think about how hard the camping trip and my life would be without them. I came to the conclusion that every dad needs a friend, and here are three reasons:
1.) Friends help dads be the dad they need to be.
Dads do not know everything. In our group, there was somebody who could bring clarity to the situation so that the best decision was made. Sometimes wisdom would come from fellow dads. At other times, wisdom came from the wiser, older man around the fire pit. We all need help learning how to best lead our kids. Learn from the friends around you.
2.) Friends help dads disciple, lead, and discipline our kids.
One of the great aspects of our trip was that any of the adults on the trip would step in and remedy any situation in which your kid was involved. Kids don’t always get along and make wise decisions. There were multiple instances in which a parent may be up the hill from their child and another adult would find a way to bring peace or get the snack or water for another child. Dads need friends to help take care of their kids. Everyone benefits when we take care of each other.
3.) Friends help dads with life.
This topic can be one of my soap boxes, so I will try to remain brief. There is little room for male friendships in today’s Christianity. There is a perception that a “good” dad spends all of his time with his wife, kids, and church while not at work. There is no time to go do something with a friend!
In addition to the time at the campsite, I was able to spend some time in the car on the way to the campsite discussing life with a friend. Honestly, we didn’t really solve much of anything, but discussing issues/problems/victories/dreams helped me learn and laugh a little about my current stage in life.
Every dad, and every man, needs some “bro” time. (I mean, what do you even call it? That sounds so lame). Find some friends and go do something together. Be a friend to someone else.
Do you have a best friend? Who are your top five friends? Develop serious friendships in your life! Wives, encourage your husbands to go do something with some other guys. Can you name five of your husband's friends and the last time he did anything with them?
Christians were not meant to do life without friends, and that goes for us guys, too.