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Ideally, we get to live as a beloved son during the first season of life – freely receiving the grace and blessings of others to the full without anything required of us. But part of maturity calls us to grow into one that generates life for others as well. And at times we find ourselves in between these two roles – the son who also becomes the father.

For instance, our fathers guided us into the world when we were young, often taking us where we needed to go even when we were resistant. And in a sense he will always be our dad. But as he gets older our roles might reverse. We might find ourselves dressing him and guiding him as he once did for us. And we might also have to father him in a way by making decisions in his best interest even when he’s protesting otherwise. We’re the son, but we must also offer him our strength as a father.

Likewise, as we’re fathering the next generation, we often discover ourselves delicately balancing the responsibilities we owe to the preceding generation with those we bear for the generation that follows. What does it look like to honor and care for those who cared for us as a grateful son, while also remaining faithful to our duty to father those coming after us?

To be sure, these dual roles are simply part of the complexities of life, and we must learn how to embrace both. There’s wisdom in sonship even as we get older. While this is not an excuse for immaturity, part of us needs to remember the posture of a son regardless of our age. In the same way, our fatherhood is needed throughout our seasons of life as well. This will look different as we get older, but our fatherhood is not limited to raising young kids.

In the end, there’s a time when the son must become the father, while still remaining the son. Learn the wisdom of accepting both of these roles simultaneously.

Photo by Elli Bayati on Pexels


Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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