Real Men Catechize their Children

Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche was the title of a best-selling book by Bruce Feirstein published in 1982. Supposedly, a real man would eat egg and bacon pie if his wife made it, she served it to him, and she cleaned up afterwards. What a real man would not do is make it himself, call it by its French name quiche, serve it to his female life partner, or wash up afterwards because, that is women’s work.

Only a feminized “quiche eater,” the sensitive New Age guy, the vulnerable empathizer with the Women’s Movement, or the confessor of feminist critique of traditional roles would do such things. Only clones of Alan Alda or Phil Donahue (if any of you remember them) would act like such pansies.

Real men are tough. Real men do what has got to be done. Real men improvise, adapt, and overcome. Real men know the measure of manliness is the size of the obstacle it takes to stop them. In man’s work, we punch through, take knocks and cuts, scrapes and bruises. We muscle things into shape. We eat red meat barely cooked bloody rare.

Right?

Yeah, right!

It takes only a Small Catechism to stop 90 percent of us. Twenty minutes a day, four days a week is heavy overtime for us. A spoon fed lesson that we need to merely read aloud is too mentally demanding. A heart for our children’s eternal destiny is just sappy sentimentalism. Religion is for women and children, and it happens at the church, not at home, not in the shop, not on the highway, not by the log splitter, not on the practice field.

Real men don’t eat quiche, and real men don’t catechize their children, because that is women’s work. No, check that. That is the pastor’s job.

Too judgmental? Too sarcastic? Aw, poor fella! There there. Let your momma kiss your owie and make it all better. You’re tough enough to take a man-to-man conversation, aren’t you?

Tough guy, are you tough enough to look in the mirror? Are you rugged enough to face facts? Are you manly enough to handle the truth? If you are not capable of catechizing your children, don’t think hunting elk makes up for it.

In a previous article, “Stage 4 Cancer — Do Our Families Have It; or the Sorry State of Catechization in the Home,” I listed what a bunch of Lutherans reported as the reasons fathers do not teach the Small Catechism to their children. The truth is, the reasons reported are lame. It is not teaching the Catechism that would make us sissies. It’s our weakling excuses that do. Look at the obstacles that stop us, how puny they are.

And that is only the beginning. To be so neglectful of your children is hateful. They are in need. They need the Catechism. But what they especially need is you. They need you reading it to them. There is no substitute for you. There are Plan B and Plan C. But those are not substitutes for Plan A. They are only B and C. You are Plan A. Failing in this is like sending your kids to school with no shoes, no lunch, and no lunch money. Why do you do it? What were you thinking?

Your child is a little lamb in Christ’s flock. Christ is the Great Shepherd of the Sheep. (Hebrews 11:20) He has assigned you, in your office as father, to be an under-shepherd of your little lamb. All the while, the Devil is a roaring lion roaming around, seeking whom he can devour. (1 Peter 5:18) Your little lamb is threatened continually by the lion, the wolf, and the bear; by the sin of fallen human nature; by the cunning of the enemy of our souls, the Devil; and by the corruption of the world. When these attack your little lamb, you, as father, are to be a manly shepherd, like David:

33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 “I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 “Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!” (1 Samuel 17)

You strike the lion with the Catechism. You grab the bear’s beard with the Catechism. You deliver your little lamb from their mouths with the Catechism. This is the sling shot of your spiritual warfare to defend your little lamb. The Six Chief Parts of Christian Doctrine in the Catechism are smooth stones from a brook to land in Goliath’s head.

You’ve got time for football and no time for your child’s soul. Is that so manly? For crying out loud, with football, you are a spectator. How hard is that? You are watching others hitting and being hit from a couch! Want to get in the game? Pick up your Catechism like shoulder pads and helmet, and go find the line of scrimmage in your child’s spiritual life.

The Lord commands you,

5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6)

For love of the Lord, and for love of your child, be a man about it and teach your child.

About T. R. Halvorson

T. R. Halvorson was born in Sidney, Montana on July 14, 1953, baptized at Pella Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sidney, Montana on November 8, 1953, and confirmed at First Lutheran Church in Williston, North Dakota in 1968. He and his wife, Marilyn, are members of Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Sidney, Montana. They have three sons and six grandchildren. T. R. farms at Wildrose, North Dakota, and is Deputy County Attorney in Sidney, Montana. He has been a computer programmer; and an author, conference speaker, instructor, and consultant to industry in online legal information. He is among the authors of the religion column in the Sidney Herald at Sidney, Montana. He is the Editor of LutheranCatechism.com.

Comments

Real Men Catechize their Children — 2 Comments

  1. Very convicting, Pastor Halvorson. I did not know Christ when my children were growing up, but I now have the opportunity to instruct them as 20 somethings. It’s not easy, but if the grace of God can extend to me, why not to them also? Now I even have grandchildren to teach in this way. It’s very encouraging to know that the God we serve is many times more powerful than the prince who rules this earth (temporally)…Alleluia!

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