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Fathers and Sons

My dad died of cancer in 1995, and since then Father's Day has been a solemn observance for me.

Until this year.

My son was born this past April, and I've looked forward to celebrating Father's Day once again. My wife and I named our son after my father -- a fitting tribute to a man who meant so much to me.

Dad knew all the right answers to life's questions. I knew he loved me not just because he told me so, but because his actions constantly reinforced this message.

He was my scout leader and my little league coach. He would get up early on rainy mornings and help me deliver my paper route. During my adolescence he encouraged my creativity and motivated me to always achieve my best. A strong believer in education, he revelled in each of my academic successes.

At special times in my life, like significant birthdays or graduations, he would write me a letter about how proud he was to be my father and commend me for the admirable decisions I'd made so far during my "life's journey." Each letter always ended in the same simple, loving refrain: "Of all the sons God could have given me, He chose to give me you."

I feel fortunate to have had a father who cared for me and shared his love so openly. Now as a father myself, I want to do my best to ensure that my son and I will enjoy the same kind of relationship my father and I had. Even though my son is still very young, I've already started searching for resources that will help me communicate what's important in life to my son, as well as help us grow closer to one another.

Recently I picked up a book titled, Fathers and Sons: 10 Life Principles to Make Your Relationship Stronger, that says it will help stimulate interaction, conversation and communication between men and their sons, something my father did all the time without me knowing it. The book is built upon ten life principles or "maximizers" and is written by a father and son duo.

Ron Jenson is the chairman of Future Achievement International and is also the author and narrator of books, audio tapes and video cassettes that have sold over 700,000 copies. His son, Matt, is a recent graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois where he received the 1998 Billy Graham Scholarship for excellence in evangelism, service and academics.

The Jensons use an acrostic based on the word "maximizers" to help readers understand the principles. Each chapter is devoted to several sessions based upon different aspects of the M.A.X.I.M.I.Z.E.R.S. principles and how they can be applied to readers' lives:

Making Things Happen -- includes sessions for developing responsibility, focus and a sense of priorities.

Achieve Personal Significance -- helps readers understand the role of self-concept.

X-Out the Negatives -- begin to understand how to learn from your mistakes.

Internalizing Right Principles -- examines one's code of ethics.

Marching to a Mission -- challenges readers to evaluate their purpose in life and their goals for the future.

Integrate All of Life -- learn how to balance life's priorities, attitudes and goals in light of one's mission.

Zeroing In on Caring for People -- emphasizes the importance of unity and the unique worth of one's individual talents.

Energizing the Inner Life -- find the importance behind faith, character and the cultivation of the inner man.

Realigning Vigorously -- will give pointers on how to maintain one's direction.

Stay the Course -- learn helpful strategies for winning in life and remaining faithful to one's commitments.


Although not specifically categorized as a self-help book, it utilizes worksheets and question/answer formats to get fathers and sons talking about the different principles. A Bible study supplement is also provided at the end of the book.

Ron Jenson, said he and his son wrote the book because they wanted to see dads and sons connect.

"We wanted to give them a tool that would help make this happen as they met regularly and talked through and worked through simple activities that help them build key life skills into their lives in a mutual growth environment," Jenson said.

Ron and Matt write in their book, "child rearing and dad-rearing is a joint venture." The authors said they wanted to help remind fathers and sons that they are both on the same team and that it's all right to question one another to find out how the other person feels.

The book is geared for fathers with sons in the eight to sixteen year-old range, but Jenson said readers can easily modify the book's material to meet their own needs.

"Moms can adapt this to their work with their kids and some are already doing this. The illustrations may differ a bit, but not much. Also, this is a great mentoring tool for grandparents, big brothers/sisters, and youth workers," Jenson said.

Jenson said that after being released in April, the book was featured for a week on the radio program "Family Life Today" with Dennis Rainey. The book has already gone into a second printing, according to Jenson.

You'll want to read the Jenson's book if you're a father like me who is looking to strengthen your relationship with your son. Even if you're a father who thinks you have a good relationship with your son, you might want to check out "Fathers and Sons," for some tips on how to bolster this important relationship.


Book Info: Fathers and Sons, by Ron and Matt Jenson, published by Broadman & Holman, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources. For more information on this product call 615/251-2000. You can order this book online through


Keith Beene is a freelance writer and stay-at-home dad who lives in Murfreesboro, TN, with his wife, Ellen, and son, Erik Samuel.

Copyright © 2005 - 2019 Hal Levy and the above captioned author.