Here is part 2 with our interview with Steve Zollos, author of Time for the Talk, Shepherd Press’ newest release. Steve has answered some important questions about his new book and why he wrote it. 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.
In your book you encourage fathers to share the gospel and their testimony with their sons. What if a Dad has a ‘bland’ testimony?
Jay, as you know, there is no such thing as a ‘bland’ testimony. It is imperative that a son knows that the power of God is at work in his father’s life.
I used to think that I had the dullest testimony. You know, raised in a middle class family. Never had a problem with drinking or drugs, and I just sort of turned to God one day. But that’s not the whole truth.
Now that I look back and I see some of the people I love not walking with the Lord I realize the power of God in drawing me to Himself. You see, from the world’s perspective I didn’t really ‘need’ God. I wasn’t desperate or dying. I was well educated and had a strong family life. How great is God that he can draw a person who apparently has his act together to himself. I believe that fact that God can reach into a complacent heart to reveal my need for a savior shows His love, His mercy, and His grace in one of the most powerful and intimate ways.
Not only that, but the truth is that in a way your testimony really isn’t ‘your’ testimony at all. It is your testimony of God’s love – His saving grace practically shown in your life. Our sons need to understand that all that we are, all that we live for, all that we hope for is wrapped up in Christ.
By sharing your testimony with your son, you are conveying in a very real way – a way that he can understand – that the good news is indeed great news, and that that same good news that saved you, that same Gospel grace, is available to him. If he can understand this fact alone, then having The Talk with your son has already reaped a harvest for you and him.
Some dads may think The Talk is a one time discussion about ‘the birds and the bees’… how would you respond to that assertion?
Certainly there is a key conversation that explains many things that a young man needs to know the truth about, but that is only the start. Our goal is much bigger than a one time conversation.
One of my sons approached me just the other day and said “Dad, do you have some time to talk with me? I have a few things I need to get off of my chest.”
I believe that he has learned a few things through the talk. He knows that I will speak with him as a young man and not a child. He knows that I will handle our conversations in confidence. He knows that I will be completely honest with him.
Because of the groundwork set by the original talk, ongoing opportunities arise to continue the conversation. Sometimes I find myself having to reinforce things already discussed. Other times, his questions take us on to completely new territory.
The point is that it is this trusted, ongoing relationship that we are after, not so much a one time conversation. Surely you will discuss the so-called “birds and the bees” but if done correctly you will plant the seeds of many future conversations as well.
What do you mean when you say that having The Talk with you son can open a whole new level of Father/Son communication
Being the father of a boy and being the father of a young man are two very different things. When a Dad raises a boy he is charged with being the provider, the leader, the primary role model in his young son’s life.
As the boy begins that most important transition to manhood, the boy begins to take on the very same charge. He feels the God ordained need to lead, to provide, to take charge of his life. It’s an important transition, and one that every boy must make. How well that transition is made will largely dictate the type of man, husband, and father the young man will be.
I think any father who has seen his son transition through this process understands that this can be a difficult, and often times volatile time in a young man’s life. Fathers categorize this in different ways so you hear things like: “his hormones are raging,” or “he’s going through a rebellious time.”
It may well be better explained as he’s growing up and starting to take on the mantle of manhood. In other words, he’s trying to figure out this ‘man thing.’ Some kids retreat, some charge head on without much thought, some timidly dip one toe into the water at a time in an attempt to determine if they really want this manhood thing at all. The bottom line is that it can be very intimidating for a boy, especially if they have not been prepared for the changes and responsibilities that come with becoming an adult.
That’s why a father needs to ‘shift gears,’ to help his son become comfortable handling the controls of his own life. Where will he turn for answers when he needs them? Who will he rely on when things get tough in life? Where will he turn for clarity when darkness shrouds his path?
If a father takes the time and effort to change from ‘command mode’ to ‘friend and counselor mode’ then it is very likely that you will be one of those beacons of light in your young man’s life. This is the new level of communication and relationship that I refer to in Time For The Talk.
It is a relationship, a place, where your son will know he is loved, where he knows he is safe, where he knows there is no judgment. A place where he will be willing to hear the truth, knowing that the “wounds from a friend can be trusted.” (Proverbs 27:6). It is as much a transition for the father as it is for his son.
Too often teens walk through these transition years estranged from their fathers, and leaning on their own understanding, the understanding of their peers, and looking to the media for their affirmation.