MOTIVATION Ashley Thaba
AFTER writing my article last week, exhorting healthy men to stand in the gap for those without fathers, I was encouraged to get excellent feedback from many readers, including a radio station in Botswana who called to invite me to expound on my thoughts on radio.
If you missed that interview, you can listen to it on my YouTube channel by searching for Ashley Thaba. To make the audio more interesting, I included pictures of my husband and children to play in the background in order to inspire fathers with ideas of how to bond with children. I hope you will enjoy it!
This week, as a follow up, I promised to give some practical tips on how older men can pour into the youths, based on the guidance of Titus 2. Titus 2:2,6-8 states: “Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you, yourself, must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticised…”
Let’s review a few key points and discuss them detail.
What comes to me the most is that in order to teach others, you must practice what you preach. You cannot lead by words, but by actions! The way to do this is to live a life of self-control, worthy of the respect by others.
As youths, observe older men from a distance, in order to learn from those who are living wisely by doing good. This is the starting point for mentorship — having a life that the young would want to emulate.
This is not to say the older man must be perfect to qualify; the challenge is on striving to go beyond mere words, that is, bringing words into action.
Now, how can you, more seasoned men, cross the bridge to reach the younger generation?
Titus encouragesn us to do that with love and patience! Here is the thing. Although, younger men need to hear your stories of lessons you learned the hard way, at the click of a finger, on google, they can read countless blogs, gaining knowledge on every possible subject. But, here is what a written article, or even preached sermons from a pulpit, can never offer – love! Love is only possible when two human beings spend time with one another!
I am blessed to have a father who loves me – I mean who loves me. From across the Atlantic ocean… from America to Africa, we chat multiple times a week. We exchange e-mails. We leave each other voice notes on WhatsApp.
Though he doesn’t live here, he makes it a point to know my friends and what goes on everyday in my life. When he comes to visit, he even makes it a point to take my friends to dinner or make the time to sit down and chat with them.
Why? Because he wants to share my life with me! What is important to me is important to him! Is it boring?
Maybe! Who wants to go on vacation across the planet and spend countless hours having conversations with people half their age, that they may never see again?
But these people are in my life and he, too, is in my life. So, they matter to him! (If you watch the YouTube video, you can see this amazing man of God who I respect so much!)
He patiently listens when I am having the worst and best of days.
He is not quick to give advice as he knows that at times my intention would be to just it on him or rejoice with someone who values me enough to pay attention. But, let me tell you — on those occasions, when he quietly reprimands me: “Ashley, I am really disappointed…”,
“Ashley, can I give you advice? I believe you should do this…”, I heed his words! Why? Why do I allow him to rebuke me, encourage me, and challenge me… because he has shown me he will walk with me! I am secure in his love, being 100% convinced he genuinely cares about me and desires me to be happy. I can hear and adhere to his constructive criticism because I know it will help me become a better person!
Men, is there a young man that you have shown that consistent, patient love?
Would you call him more often and listen to how his week is going?
Is possible that you find ways to support him?
Can you assure him that just because he messed up, it does not mean he is a failure!
Does your love make him feel so secure that he can be real with you and know that even if you won’t approve of his actions, you will not judge or condemn him, but patiently advise and walk with him to get out of the mess he has gotten himself into?
Can you reassure him that you have been there too, but in the end it worked out?
Can you share your testimonies of the lessons you learned the hard way so he can take the shortcut? Can you be that light on his dark days?
Can you pray for him and let him know you are there for him, even when he feels others have given up?
Can you earn the right to speak life and wisdom into his life by loving him?
Older men — my challenge to you — find a younger man and love him! Spend time with him. For the sake of our nation, pour into him so that he, in turn, will become a man who will bless our country by walking in integrity, kindness, wisdom, self-control and love!
Questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook page – mom to mom: parenting consultations.