In my last blog, I shared my belief that love, patience, and forgiveness were first and foremost the characteristics that we as fathers should instill in our sons. Not simply by vocalizing but through example.
Honor, courage, and commitment are also core values that were instilled in me during my time in the United States Marine Corps. Although there is almost no way that I could emphasize the depth of history and foundation behind these Corps’ values, I believe that us fathers can also instill such important values in our sons on their path to manhood. I slightly modified these definitions from the Marine Corps1 for this discussion but I believe these values truly define a man’s character, conduct, morals and ethics:
1. Honor is the foundation of character. It is the quality that empowers men to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior found in God’s word: to never lie, cheat, or steal; to abide by an uncompromising code of integrity. “Haughtiness (arrogance/conceit/pride) goes before destruction; humility precedes honor.” (Proverbs 18:11)
2. Courage is the mental, moral and physical strength we can mold into our sons that sees them through the challenges of life and the mastery of fear in order to do what is right. Our sons identify with courage by watching how we fathers react to and make decisions under stress and pressure. “Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety.” (Job 11:18)
3. Commitment is the spirit of determination and dedication that leads to professionalism and excellence in every endeavor. Let us teach our sons as young men to never compromise their character, maintain courage in the face of adverse circumstances, and stay committed to their faith and values. “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.” (Psalms 37:5)
I am thankful for my time in the United States Marine Corps. If such a prestigious military organization can adopt and teach thousands of young men every year these Godly values, surely we fathers can adopt them and teach them to our sons. It actually amazes me that men have been taught such traits of humanity for thousands of years and yet, collectively, we struggle to grasp the significance in our responsibility to pass on these lessons. Failed examples are all around us.
I am far from being a perfect father; however, I take responsibility for my actions, acknowledge my mistakes, try to learn from them and then work at changing myself so that I can lead my son into manhood rather than let someone else do so. As you grow each day in your mentorship role as an earthly father, always consider whether you are being a good or bad example of these important values for your son. I look forward to sharing with you in the near future more values that are critical in the process of passing on manhood to your son.
- United States Marine Corps HROM website (2016). www.hqmc.marines.mil/hrom/New_Employees/About-the-Marine-Corps/Values/