Great men are not born. They are built, shaped and molded during their childhood and adolescent years by the adults in their lives. But what if no man is there to teach him, to be his role model, his guide?
The most important factor of whether a boy will thrive or struggle during his teenage years is determined by the quality of the male role models in his life. The most at risk boys have the most dysfunctional male role models.
Whether a boy’s father died, abandoned him or is emotionally unavailable, a teenage boy without a man to guide him will lose his way. Countless statistics document the fact that fatherless boys are far more likely to drop out of school, abuse drugs, join gangs or go to prison than boys with fathers.
My father died when I was 12. It was a challenging time for my mom and a confusing time for me. But I was fortunate and had men - coaches, a Boy Scout leader, teachers, and a youth pastor - who stepped into the void. These men modeled what a man should look like, act like, and think like, and several of them pointed me to my Father in heaven and to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which led to a life-changing decision I made as a junior in high school.
Middle school years are a critical time when a boy’s choices, both conscious and unconscious, begin to form the foundation of the man he will become. One wrong step followed by another, and another, and soon his dreams begin to fade, and the reality that he must figure out manhood alone sets in. His hope is replaced with despair and his innocence turns to anger.
But I’m confident of this, no boy ever dreams of joining a gang, getting hooked on drugs or going to prison. Behind the macho facade of even the toughest gang member, is a boy created in God’s image who just needs a man to care about him, a man who will point him to Christ.
During my second visit to a Young Knights Roundtable, I met the mom of one of the young men in the program. She was there to meet her son’s mentor and thank him for the positive changes she was seeing. Her boy now treated her with greater kindness and respect, his speech was cleaner, his anger diminished, and his knowledge of God’s Word was growing!
I’m humbled and excited to be part of the ministry of Young Knights. The needs are great and the stakes high, but I’m confident that God, who is the ultimate Father, is able and available to meet the challenge. As a staff we are striving, in God’s strength and for His glory, to fulfill the mission of “Turning Boys in Great Men”.
I want to thank those who have invested time and dollars to provide hope to 25 young men on the south side of Chicago currently served through our programs.
You are making a genuine and lasting difference in their lives. And thank you for helping us position ourselves to reach 100’s more, turning these boys into great men who serve an even greater God!
If you would like to learn more about the need, our programs and how you can help, please check out our website or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In and for Christ,
“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress…” - James 1:27