King Me: What Every Son Wants From His Father

Thanks to Dave Artman for this book review, just in time for Father’s Day.

An attractive attribute to the book is the name and photo on the cover. The name is suggestively insightful as to what one would expect to find in its pages, but there is so much more than just the obvious. This is not merely a book about a father passing the baton of his own legacy on to his son. In simplest terms, it is about building tomorrow’s godly, masculine men in a feminized world.

Author Steve Farrar does a remarkable job of drawing all of his encouragement and training right from scripture. We men experience many failures in our lives, and Steve lays out the typical failures men encounter and what we should do about them and why. He does so with a humble, down to earth tone that is not steered by political correctness or beating around the bush on delicate issues, such as sex. Brace yourself; Steve gets right down to the brass tacks where you may feel a little uncomfortable.

A significant dynamic we need to monitor is the friendships our boys choose. Parents today often overlook this, but Steve lays out stories of his own, and of another familiar person, that being the father of Dr. James Dobson, wherein these men took swift and dramatic actions to redirect wrong avenues chosen by their sons through alliances with the wrong kinds of friends. This can be true of girls as much as of boys. However, boys need to be built up to become godly, masculine leaders. The process of building up requires investment of time, and requires that we don’t neglect the monitoring of our boys’ friendships, for their friendships are building blocks in the foundations of who they will become.

It occurred to me as I sat across a table in my garage from my 10-year-old son whittling away on his Awana derby car that something was going on  beyond learning to use chisels and files and sandpaper. Without meaning to, I was mentoring him. This was alone-time with dad, and even though our time together was task-oriented, we spent hours listening to his favorite CD’s, drinking chocolate sodas, talking smack about how his car would beat out all others, and listening to his dreamy ideas of opening up a father-and-son wood shop together. A critical part of that mentoring time was listening. This time together was a virtual safe haven from dad’s judgment or correction or discipline. This was time for me to learn to know his heart. Steve says in Chapter 9 that you can’t listen and lecture at the same time, and the kind of alone-time with dad I just mentioned is exactly similar to the principles Steve expounds on so much more eloquently.

Did you know that the current four-year public high school system began in 1894? A prestigious panel of men known as the Committee of Ten led by Harvard’s president Charles William Eliot began what we know as high school. The curriculum was designed to prep everyone for college. By the 1940’s, this concept was rooted as a requirement for all, and everyone was expected to finish. This essentially did away with the traditional mentorships (and apprenticeships) that boys prior to that were fashioned by, where boys learned crafts alongside their mentors all day long who were responsible for their meals and lodging as they transitioned into manhood. Mentorship gave way to the mapped out education curriculum, in turn reducing time spent in mentorships alongside male leaders and increasing time spent under the tutelage primarily of women at the classroom helms. Until 1894, mentorship was commonplace throughout all time beforehand. Steve Farrar cites the movie Master and Commander, wherein the H.M.S. Surprise was part of a naval fleet of British ships in the early 1800’s during the Napoleonic wars. Of significance was that the H.M.S. Surprise was manned by boys ten, eleven and twelve years old – navigating warships! Boys used to be delegated substantial responsibilities at younger ages. Whereas, boys in today’s culture tend to be strung out on entertainment with fewer responsibilities. Can you think of any preteen boys today that you can envision navigating warships? On the Wii maybe, but not in the real world. A little over a century ago, there was no electronic technology, no social media, no four-year high school curriculum. Boys grew to be men in a masculine culture. We need to be careful today not to allow our boys to be too affected by a feminized culture; not to forsake our boys’ chance to grow to be masculine men, just as they were created to be.

I can’t review all the facets of the principles between the covers of King Me in a brief book review, but I do hope your interest has been whetted so you’ll seek out a copy and read it through. Some day your sons will thank you that you did.

You can purchase King Me here.

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