This past weekend I stumbled across buried treasure, worth millions. It is the treasure I have been looking all my life. And I found it when I wasn’t even looking. Here’s what happened.
A couple of months ago, a friend asked me to speak at a father/son (ages 6-12) retreat he was helping to lead. Since I am looking for speaking opportunities, I readily offered my help. My job was to speak to both fathers and sons on Friday night and then address the dads only on Saturday night. Other than that, I was free to come and go. I thought about hiking in the mountains on my own, but once I got there, I sensed there was a treasure here for me, long buried.
I started to see the treasure emerge on Saturday night. Here the fathers each affirmed their sons in a ceremony around a campfire. Many of the fathers cried as spoke poignant words deep into the souls of their sons. I was profoundly moved, but there was more to come.
On Sunday morning, they did another ceremony called the Honor Tree. Here the fathers got up to honor their own fathers before their sons, to give the sons a sense of connection. Even with difficult fathers, the men found something to honor their dads for. I suddenly felt that I should do this for my father in front of everyone, honoring him for the good he gave me. It felt good to connect with the men here, but there was still more treasure.
The retreat closed with the fathers locking elbows in a circle with the sons in the middle. They all sang a blessing over their sons as they looked into their eyes. I saw one boy with tears streaming down his face. It completely undid me. Something primal and deep shook in me, the 13 year old in me who has always ached for the blessing. When it ended, I didn’t want to leave. Something holy and mysterious had just happened.
As I drove away, the tears came as I heard the Father whisper the same blessing to me as his son. Something massive shifted inside. The boy left in me found the power to fully take on manhood. I was stunned. I had found the treasure I have looked for all my life.
This retreat needs to be promoted on a wide scale. The organization is called AbbasWay. Check out the website. Retreats will be next August. If you are a dad with a son this age, or know of a dad, please spread the word.