Steve Zollos, author of Time for the Talk, Shepherd Press’ newest release has answered some important questions about his new book and why he wrote it. I want to share this interview with you over the next few days. This book is a significant accomplishment. It will families reclaim a biblical view of sexuality for their sons. The book is frank without being sensational. Time for the Talk offers wise counsel and is a safe guide to lead your sons into biblical manhood. Let me know your thoughts about the book and the interview. There will be a link at the end of the interview for more information about the book.
Why a book about The Talk?
Everything a father does from the time his son is born is leading to that point in time when his son becomes a man. Think about that for a moment. You’ve protected your son from harm from the time he was born. You taught him how discern right from wrong. You fed him, nurtured him, loved him in a thousand different ways. You have in many ways given the last 10-20 years of your life away for him, right? But for what reason? So that he might one day launch out into the world as a strong, stable, and wise young man. Ultimately that is our goal as a boy’s father – to see him able to stand strong on his own in the face of the world that will tear at him like a violent wind, pushing and pulling at him in a whirlwind of temptation. There is no more important time for a Dad to be there for his son than when he is preparing to actually launch into manhood. All the rest of those years of teaching and preparation pale in comparison to the importance of this final preparation.
When my boys became teens I started looking for information that would help me serve my sons in this important time of their lives and I was startled to see what books were on the shelves of my local bookstore. The books I reviewed promoted immoral behavior, selfishness, and excluded fathers as important in the process of a boy becoming a man. So I began to pull together a Biblical perspective on having ‘the talk’ with my sons and that is really what you’re getting in “Time For The Talk.”
It’s not a script that you can read to your son. After all, this is about your relationship with your son. The Talk ultimately needs to come from you. Instead of a script I have provided perspective, and a framework of important information that needs to be shared with your son, your way, in a way that he can relate to.
You say “The Talk” is much broader than a simple discussion about sexuality. Can you explain what you mean by that?
That’s a really big question. When most fathers think about having ‘The Talk’ with their sons they immediately think of a 15 minute discussion about the birds and the bees. You know, the explanation of ‘where babies come from.’ The truth is that having The Talk with your son, when done right, is an ongoing discussion that will last a lifetime. The Talk is about ‘true manhood,’ that is to say The Talk is about encouraging your son to become the man that Christ has prepared him to be. The Bible teaches us in Ephesians 2:10 that we are God’s workmanship, and that we are created in Christ to do the good works that God has prepared for us to accomplish. That’s what The Talk is all about. Sure sexuality plays an important role here, but ultimately The Talk is a Dad’s opportunity to set his son on level ground. To specifically, and purposefully direct him in the way he should go. Sure you will talk to your son about sexuality, but you will also discuss what God says about work, sex, family, and His will. You will in some depth talk about temptation, perversion, sexually transmitted diseases, and about his choices now that he is becoming a man. Ultimately The Talk is about Christ.
What is the most important thing a father needs to know about walking his son into manhood?
If I had only one thing to communicate to fathers about leading their son into manhood, I would say, ‘prepare to change.’ That’s right, I am telling fathers that they need to begin a process of change that is as important as the one their son’s are going through.
For all these years you have been the commander, the leader, the navigator of your household and your children. Now you need to become a ‘friend’ to your son. Not in the way that he is friends with his peers. You need to increasingly allow him to steer the ship of his life – on his own. First under your direct supervision, but whenever it is appropriate you need to allow him to steer on his own. You need to develop a new level of trust. You need to begin to let him into your confidence, encouraging him as a ‘young man’ instead of a child. You need to shift from what I call ‘command mode’ to ‘friend &counselor mode,’ and it is not easy for a Dad to do.
When Dads fail to make this transition in how they see and treat their boys, a riff can be created that can quickly become a chasm between him and his son. Just at the point in time when his son needs him in his life the most they find themselves separated, often times completely isolated from each other. It is a heart wrenching thing to see a father struggle with the gulf between him and the son he loves so dearly.
You talk about ‘true manhood’ in Time For The Talk, what do you mean by that?
The world presents a very alluring picture of manhood that we are all susceptible to, but especially susceptible are young men. Think about it – how are ‘real men’ portrayed on the television, movies, even computer games? The world says that a man has at least 3 girls swooning around him, that he is sexually active, in fact his life revolves around sex, that he is flawless in his looks, he is certainly a drinker, and that he deserves to have whatever he desires simply because he exists.
That is in stark contrast to the description God gives us for manhood. What I present in ‘Time For The Talk’ is a Biblical perspective on manhood, or what I refer to as ‘True Manhood.’ It is very important that this contrast be made clear to our sons. It is very important that it come from someone who they know they can trust. It is a job ideally suited for fathers.
In Time For The Talk I focus in on 6 Biblical Character traits that I see clearly outlined in scripture for men to walk in. Men are to be Courageous, Humble, Selfless, Faithful, Self-Controlled, and Pure.
This is ‘true manhood’ and it stands in stark contrast to the counterfeit traits of a man that our sons are subjected to day in and day out in the media.