I have a 15-year-old son, who as you are reading this is driving around Iceland with me (see here for more information). For any father that has or has had a 15-year-old son that may be all that I have to say. You understand my situation. For those who don’t have a 15-year-old son – please read on.
At 15 I find my son in a unique place. He is still a child, ok an adolescent, but still a minor. However, he is growing so fast he is quickly approaching my height. Hopefully, he will never reach my weight. So for now I can still take him in a wrestling match.
Sons at this age are curious. They think they know everything, but they actually know very little about the real world. My son is smart, don’t get me wrong. Academically, he is doing way better than I could have dreamed of doing. He’ll do well in college and whatever career he choses. But he is curious in that he is often compared to a bump on a log. You know – 15-year-old boys sit around a lot, they sleep a lot and they definitely eat a lot.
One of the challenges for a father of a son at this age is to determine how best to guide and direct him in the way he should go. As father’s we so often want to point exactly which way to go, how fast to get there and by which means. Why? Because we have been there and done that. We know better. But at the same time we want our sons to have learning opportunities, chances to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. But the real challenge is to figure out, which mistakes are OK to allow to happen and which ones are too dangerous and need to corrected before the happen.
When it comes to issues of faith and knowledge of the Lord it is also the same way. We have spent years teaching the children about God. Years taking them to Sunday School, Church and Awana. However, at this age it seems it is more appropriate to have the son find his own path with God. As my wife would say in spanish “Quiero que nace de ti.” “I want that it is born of you.” We want our son to walk closely with God, because he wants to walk closely with God. We do not want to force a faith on our son producing false hope and rejection later. We want that it comes from him.
So what is a father to say to his son on these matters?
David gives directions to his son
In today’s reading near the end we find David preparing to pass the throne to his son Solomon. He has gathered Solomon and the country’s leaders together to give them a pep talk. He wants to make sure the continue on a path that is good for the people of Israel and honorable to the Lord they serve.
We know that God chose Solomon to be the next king.
1 Chronicles 28:6 – 7 (NLT)
He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon will build my Temple and its courtyards, for I have chosen him as my son, and I will be his father. 7 And if he continues to obey my commands and regulations as he does now, I will make his kingdom last forever.’
David adds his instruction:
1 Chronicles 28:9 – 10 (NLT)
“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work.”
David tells his son:
- Learn to know God intimately, as your fathers did
- Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind
- Seek the Lord and you will find Him
- Reject the Lord and he will reject you
- Take this all very seriously
- The Lord has a plan for you
- Be strong and do the work that is set out in front of you
Even though those instructions were given nearly 3000 years ago, they can still apply to our sons today. If you have a son, won’t you take the time to tell him about David and his son Solomon.
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it