Thursday, January 2, 2014


our lucky number
Last night we had a special ceremony in our home. Earlier in the day, JT celebrated his 13th birthday with our entire family. When the extended family had gone home, my husband presented a special gift to him, a replica of Orcrist, Thorin Oakenshield's sword. This event had been planned for the last few years, ever since my husband read John Eldredge's book, The Way of the Wild Heart.

in the box
In his book, Eldredge discusses the challenges of the six stages in a man's life that he calls: beloved son, ranger, warrior, lover, king, and sage. He also explores the role of a father in a boy's transition to manhood. He places the beginning of the ranger stage around age 12 or 13, early adolescence. The question that becomes the drive for this stage is, "Do I have what it takes?" On the way to manhood, boys need to know that they can make it on their own. They need to know that their parents, especially their fathers, believe they have what it takes to be a man.

beautifully crafted hilt
Now that JT is entering the ranger stage, we wanted to acknowledge this transition. My husband spent a few days thinking through what he wanted to say when he gave the sword to JT. We made it into a solemn event and he addressed JT with these words:

Your father gave you this gift believing in your ability to take it seriously.
It is not the toy of a child.
It is the symbol of a man.
This sword means your father's confidence in your strength and character.

You are no longer a child, but you are still my beloved son.
I will still take care of you until you can take care of yourself, because it is the responsibility of the stronger to help the weaker,
whether literally or figuratively. I expect you to do the same for those younger and weaker than you.
This sword means your father's confidence in your ability to serve others and grow stronger in that ability.

This sword should make you think of Thorin Oakenshield, for obvious reasons.
Thorin had a big dream, and was committed to his plan.
Though a dwarf, his size was never a factor in his success or failure.
To accomplish it, he did whatever it took to see it through.
He gained the help of family and friends.
Thorin used his strengths and talents.
He had many flaws as well, but one very important strength he shows towards the end of the story, is his ability to admit his mistakes.

As a young man, you will learn to make manly decisions. Some decisions can not be undone, much like the actions of a sword.
This sword is a symbol of commitment to your Creator's plan and your accountability for your mistakes. 

sword in hand
When some think of the measure of manhood, they may think of physical strength or worldly success. While those things may make a man's life more rewarding in some ways, I think the defining characteristic of a man is found in his confidence in himself through his faith in God. No matter what we do, JT is on his way down the pathway that leads to adulthood. He will make mistakes on the way, but with the proper guidance, I'm hoping he can use those mistakes to build his confidence in his own ability to succeed.

And more than anything, I'm very thankful that he has a father of excellent character to show him the way.

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