Part of the father son adventure is the father communicating his own story to the son. The story of the father gives the son a perspective about his dad that he did not have before. The father’s story allows the son to view his father in a different light and helps the son see his dad more clearly. It gives him a more complete picture of who his dad really is and, in time, a more complete picture of the son’s own identity.
The father communicating his own story to the son is about communicating the truth. It is telling the real story about what happened from the father’s point of view simply because it is the truth about what happened. When the story is told this way, it gives the son a tremendous gift.
Chances are that the son hears stories about his father on a regular basis, but Mike Haddorff, director of Christ in the Rockies, says that hearing stories about the father is much different than hearing stories from the father. “To hear Dad’s story straight from the key player,” says Haddorff, “is one of the most shaping events that occurs in a young man’s life.”
The story’s purpose is also a key factor here. Many times the son hears stories that are meant to communicate some ideal or lesson. These stories may even be told by the father. These are parable-like stories are intended to communicate some specific understanding to the son and hopefully he gains a lesson. He is meant to gain a lesson about life, learn a principle, or receive some kind of moral teaching.
These lessons are important but when the father tells the son his story for the purpose of communicating the truth about himself to his son, it gives the son a new way to see his dad. Ironically, when the son hears this story about his dad, he no longer sees himself as the protagonist in one of his father’s stories. Rather, he sees his father as the protagonist in a story all his own. Said another way, it allows the son to see his dad as another man and not simply as Dad.
This is because his father has a different role in this story. This is the father in his own context, not the father in the son’s context. The son sees that Dad is who Dad is and it gives the son an opportunity to accept his father for the man he really is. The son sees that his father has had his own difficulties along the way, he sees how his dad has chosen to deal with those difficulties, and the perspective that his dad has on those things now.
The truth has a way of breaking down walls. It will likely take time for the son to receive this story in the fullest way possible. However, the sharing of this story can, in time, greatly enhance the relationship. Most of all, this kind of storytelling benefits the son for his entire lifetime. It enables him and gives him new perspective for his own journey of authentic manhood.
Haddorff says that many times fathers feel that their story, about how they came to be who they are, is uninteresting or irrelevant. These same fathers will glamorize stories about someone else. He says that it is sometimes difficult for fathers to see that they have a key role in “the great story” as he calls it. “Our son’s too are seeking out a great story,” says Haddorff. “This search is not just because of curiosity but rather a drive deep within to bring definition and understanding to their lives.”
The reality is that this kind of storytelling usually does not occur in the day-to-day of life. Because of this, it is helpful for the father and the son to plan a father son adventure so that they can get out and away from the daily routine. The father’s true story is unique from the norm and so it is helpful for the father and the son to get out of the norm for this difference to be properly communicated.
Christ in the Rockies creates the opportunity for fathers and sons to get out, to travel to a new place, to be coached, and to devote the proper time to this story. Perhaps it is time that is the quintessential ingredient in the father’s story. It takes time for the father to decide how he will share this story with his son. It takes time to plan a father son adventure and get to the new place where the story can finally be shared.