I’m trying to imagine the world that my son will be living in by the time he’s old enough to read a book like “The Man You’re Made to Be”. It’s probably very different to the one he’s been born in. I hope that Brexit is no longer in the news in 2024!
I often wonder who my little boy will grow up to be; I can already see that he is funny and cheeky and often hungry, but I hope many things for him, many of which are reflected in Martin’s brilliant book.
I hope that he grows to put his hope and trust in the Lord; that he will put God first even when times are difficult. I pray that he knows he is loved; by God, by his Dad and I, by our wider family and friends.
When I was pregnant, the thing I prayed for the most is that he will be kind. We are so often told that we can and should be anything, and I don’t mind what career path (or paths) he chooses, but I pray that he will be known for his kindness. The Bible talks many times about God’s hesed, His loving kindness and I pray that as he grows to know God, he grows in kindness.
I hope that by the time he’s grown, there will be no stigma around mental illness (and that I will then have found a new job to do if that is the case!) I hope that he knows there is nothing shameful about expressions of emotion; of tears and frustration and shouts of joy, but that these emotions can be expressed healthily or unhealthily – with any luck we’ll model some of the healthy expressions, but I know that if he looks to Jesus he will find a clear picture of how we can cope with our feelings. As Martin writes:
“In a culture of bottled up male emotions, Jesus is a breath of fresh air: a blue print for a healthier kind of masculinity.”
I hope that my little boy will know how incredible our bodies are and that will inform how he treats his own body and how he treats everyone else. That he will use what power he has to encourage and build people up, rather than tear them down.
I would love him to know the joy of books and reading, his Dad would probably like him to love cycling (I’m ambivalent about that one!)
I hope that he has friends who bring out the best of one another; that they will go on adventures together, have fun and be able to rely upon one another in harder times.
And I’d like to echo the final words of Martin’s:
“I pray that you will be able to draw your identity as a man not from past experiences, genetics or decisions you’ve made, but from the unswerving know ledge that you were handmade by a God who says to you, day after day, and minute after minute of your life: I love you man.”
Martin Saunders is the Deputy CEO of Youthscape and you can buy his book from the Youthscape store exclusively for one week before general publication!