Competency & Learning Objectives
We’re getting closer to the end of the philosophical discussion around the problem of ‘lost boys’. That’s the good news. The bad news is we’re still not there…yet. As we mentioned, it’s a complicated (wicked) problem, and we want to be as efficient and strategic as possible in offering solutions and insights that we can manage from our end and that no one else seems to be addressing in the same way. To that end, these ‘discussions’ are as much for us as for you.
Last week, we concluded our discussions around character development and spiritual formation. Going forward and combining both Piaget’s cognitive learning theory with the mission of Treign Up, we believe the best ‘curriculum’ model will focus on competency and character. For character, we’re highlighting 6 virtues that Christ exemplified during his time on Earth.
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We’ll use the 3 C’s framework to help us determine HOW we can build these character traits in boys. The focus of this newsletter will be on competency. What is necessary for all boys to be trained and prepared to know how to do as Christian men?
The Power of Necessity
Every young man wants to know that they have what it takes. Takes to do what, exactly? In the past, boys were raised with intention to be men out of urgency. They needed to be competent in certain areas because there was a necessity. If boys DIDN’T become men in the community, the people died. Boys had to become skilled warriors. They had to become skilled hunters. They had to be competent in any number of skills related to the community's survival.
Boys weren’t lost. They were necessary.
And they were taught to be competent. But those days are long behind us and in the shifting cultural landscape find boys falling through the cracks.
Jordan Peterson has struck a nerve in his books, lectures, and podcasts. His growing audience is mostly men and what have they come to hear him talk about? Responsibility. In a class lecture captured on Youtube, he says, “Men have to figure out what they have to do. (He’s making a point that women already know what they have to do.) And if they have nothing worth living for then they stay Peter Pan….The alternative to valued responsibility is an impulsive, low-class picture.” I was interested that he used the term “Peter Pan” because it’s the same reference I make when we refer to “lost boys”. The obvious reference is from the novel by Barrie about boys that never grow up. In regards to God’s purpose and plans for men, taking responsibility is a central theme. In the Parable of the Talents, for example, Jesus weaves a story about three servants who are given certain responsibilities. The first two carry out their responsibilities in a worthy manner. The third shirks his responsibility and does nothing. You could make the case that the story is about the first two servants having more to work with than the third who does nothing in terms of what he was responsible to do. I say that the parable is all about taking responsibility. Surely, the second servant had less to work with than the first servant but got the same commendation from the Master when he returned unexpectedly. Jesus called that third servant, “wicked” and “lazy”.
Another interesting point is that he gave them all something to do; not something to think about until he came back.
God did the same thing for Adam and Eve in the garden. He gave them something to do; something to be responsible for; to work and tend the garden (Genesis 2:15).
This leads us to a new framework that we want to introduce and get feedback on for what it is necessary for Christian Men to be in the our culture. There are four boxes:
Who Men ARE (described above) - The character traits embodied by all Godly men.
What Men DO - The responsibilities God has called most men to tend.
What Men should KNOW - The cognitive and spiritual competencies to uphold their responsibilities well.
What Men RESIST - The dragons that all men must be prepared to face.
Based on our research, it seems that Godly men have been called to 3 primary responsibilities:
Preside: God wants men to lead in their families, churches, and communities.
Provide: God wants us to provide to these 3 areas financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
Protect: God wants us to protect these 3 areas spiritually, mentally, and physically.
These are the things that god wants us to DO as men.
To carry out these responsibilities well, there are four things we need to know and understand:
Jesus: It is all for nought if our men do not have a personal relationship with Christ. Our men need to know how to enter into the presence of God, hear his voice, and have the motivation to obey his commandments.
Basic Education: Men need to be educated. We believe the fundamentals are reading, writing, and mathematics. Bonus points for logic and rhetoric.
The Bible: We learn about Jesus through his word. Its vital a man has memorized scripture, and is always willing and able to “give an answer to everyone who asks you for the reason of the hope you have.”
Themselves: The final category is insight into themselves. The experiences we have gone through in our lives give us scripts and scars that shape our decisions. Many times, what lies at the heart of these are deceptions that our enemies use against us. Identification and awareness of these can go a long way to helping us fulfill our responsibilities well.
Finally, all men face challenges some of which are unique to masculinity. We need to train our boys to be prepared for these challenges so that they are equipped to overcome them.
The Devil: The Bible is clear that spiritual warfare is being waged all around us. We have to be willing and able to engage with the Armor that God has given us.
The World: Our world is constantly touting new ideas and values that are evil and against the ways of God.
Our Flesh: Sexual temptation, rage, and passivity are only a few things that our flesh naturally gravitates toward.
This framework is our first attempt at creating a strategic view of what the Bible calls men to. There is a lot of work still left to determine some of the more tactical steps required to train our boys to be able to do these things well. But, we’re looking forward to the challenge! What would be so valuable, is for you to reach out and let us know what you think! What is missing or should be replaced?
Next week, we’ll be sharing our Manifesto for Treign Up, which will help to paint a clearer picture of what Treign Up will be focused on over the next few years!