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Like Father, Like Son

February 15, 2010

I had to stop and stare at the beautiful humor. Father and ten-year-old son were so identical you could have matched them up out of a thousand daddies and a thousand sons. They sported the same pointed noses and rounded chins. Their blushed cheeks and tall foreheads were perfect copies. Their dark, narrow eyes finished out their common genetic display. They even walked the same, each carrying a Coke and some snack. Their dirty, work-worn pants sagged beneath their bellies in the same manner, and the only difference between their rounded shoulders was proportion—a two-hundred pounder and a seventy-five pounder. I wondered how the boy escaped getting any traits from his mother. He looked like a clone of his dad.

As I stood there smiling, I remembered the many good times I shared with my young sons—and daughters—all the stores we entered, rides in old pickup trucks, chores performed together, helping me on the job, going fishing or hunting, or just stopping at a pawn shop to browse.

And then the bell started ringing again, the bell in my head that goes off when I see an example of what is missing in families today. That little ‘cloned’ ten-year-old was emotionally as sturdy as a cedar fence post. I could see relaxed contentment written all over him. He was not a troublesome kid who did things to get attention; he was a little man with responsibility. He respected his daddy and his daddy respected him. They were a team, something even a mother could never understand or share.

Fathers, there is no substitute for time spent with your sons. Boys do not want to sit in front of you and have serious talks. They will scratch you off like a chigger bite. Boys will talk when all eyes are focused on the yellow and white lines on the highway. They will talk when they have a splitting maul in their hands and you are stacking the fire wood they split. Words about duty and doing the right thing and being responsible mean little compared to the example you manifest day after day and year after year. Some of these old country fathers never knowingly try to teach their boys anything, but they manage to duplicate their own character and personality in their sons by means of fellowship.

I say it again: “More is caught than taught.”

“Like father, like son.”

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Life begets life. Living begets living. Righteousness and peace beget righteousness and peace.

The greatest privilege and opportunity this life affords a man is a second, third, fourth, fifth chance (depending on how many kids you have) to mold a man fit for the kingdom of God. Our personal mistakes and shortcomings can be corrected in our sons. We can give God a better childhood, youth, and manhood than our own. We make an indelible contribution to eternity.

What an incredible responsibility!


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12 comments on “Like Father, Like Son”

  1. An article like this resonates with my heart for my husband and son. It's a work-in-progress.

    Any advice for when the father & son are complete opposites in personality? My husband is a logical thinker, my son is an emotional thinker.


  2. Having three sons of my own, this reminder was much needed. I've learned that any time I have to give is better than no time at all. My sons are never content with idleness. They don't know it but they feel it if they have moments lacking in activity. If I am with them, sharing in work and responsibility, they will work as long a I do. Which is quite a bit for 10, 9, and 6 year old boys.
    I came to the same conclusion not too long ago concerning my boys being another opportunity for me. These young men are God's gift to me. An chance to rear men with higher standards and greater character than I had at there age. Just like my salvation, I certainly don't deserve this gift... but that's the whole point, isn't it.

  3. Whew, Did I need that! I am the blessed father of 5 boys ages 12 to 2 and feel like I am always on the go. Working two jobs has turned me into a bit of a nag. I needed this moment of reflection and now to repentance then back to the drawing board for a fresh start. Thanks for the pearl of wisdom you have shared. Blessings,

  4. "They were a team, something even a mother could never understand or share."

    That was not a true statement. Mother's tend to have more teamwork time with the children than dad's ever will. Part of that is that sadly daddies have to be at work most of the time.

  5. To Jennifer who commented: Our teamwork time as mamas should be spent perpetually speaking and behaving and teaching them in that which edifies their daddy while he is away toiling...that way, while he is home they want nothing more than to mirror him in whatever he does.In our home, their daddy is the most amazing man to ever live according to mama and when I teach them and teamwork with them, I often speak of how this will help them to be even more like daddy.When I train,I am ever mindful of what traits will make it easier for them to work along side their daddy fluidly as they grow older.It is our great honor as mamas to honor daddy's unique role in our homes that we can never replicate.

  6. Thank you Michael for this excellent article!
    I am still anticipating God's timing for starting my own family, but this is precisely what I've come to believe about the privilege and responsibility of a father before God concerning his sons. This has developed in me over the past 5 or 6 years of reading your materials and others, prayerful observation of many families, and through endeavoring to help my younger siblings reach greater heights than I had at their age. This article is a great summary to put it all together.

  7. I just wanted to say Thank you, Mr.Michael Pearl! I so know what you mean when you say he's sturdy as a fence post b/c I've seen the same in my son 10 year old Bradley. It makes me smile to see a confident hard working young man emulating his father. I will always remember "More is caught than taught" Thanks again and God bless you and yours! love always

  8. I understand the "something mother will never understand share" comment perfectly:). I have 4 sons, aged 7-12 and I can attest to the fact that , while I homeschool and spend much more time with them, time with DAD is MEN's time. They connect as men just like I connect with my girls in a way that their Daddy never will. It's a special, fun commonality of gender where the young admire, look up to and seek to immitate the "old". It doesn't matter if my husband is going to change the oil in the car, pick up mulch for the front flower beds or look at campers/vans. The boys just love being with him. They do talk to me non-stop about all sort of things, but it's no substitute for just hanging out with dad. He says a lot less than I do but he conveys a lot more.

    Thanks for writing this. I loved it.

  9. "something mother will never understand share"

    Women have a nature, God-given imperative to create a union with the newborn baby, a union a man can only understand if he himself experienced it with his mother.

    Almost everyone, alive today, male and female, has missed this opportunity. The opportunity has been robbed of them.

    In our culture the greatest damage done to humanity is the separation of mother-baby in the first minutes/hours/days of the new soul's life on earth. The mother-baby connection made at birth will define their relationship for life. 99% of the time this relationship is immediately, repeated disrupted by outsiders doing unmedically necessary interventions. Interventions that are lucrative. Interventions that create the ability of the medical system and other systems to interlope into family life.

    Fathers are very disempowered at this time as well, unable to protect their wife and child as nature intended.

    It is time for men to rise up and protect women and babies in birthing, the soul's coming to this planet, into the arms, at the breast of the woman, both in the arms of the man. Not medically induced, drugged, poked, prodded, cut and pulled out to be orally raped, scrubbed, separated, and crying in the nursery.

    Your story is great ... but too many men do not and will not ever have that relationship with their child.

    The mother-baby-father union is being violated and it is impacting humanity.

    My film for and about men at birth:

  10. I'm with you @joe! I'm so thankful for all of the Pearls' articles!
    And since I get to stay up all night (and sleep all day) sleep-training my (6mo) brother, I get to read them all night for the time that he's not awake!!