A few years ago, the word “accountability” made me feel uncomfortable. It sounded like something that took effort that I didn’t want to give. It sounded like something that required too much vulnerability. Simply put: I didn’t like the sound of it at all.
Accountability means that I have to give effort and be completely vulnerable about my worst “stuff” to someone who I am close with. And if it’s tough for a kid to open up to his dad about his “stuff”, I can only imagine how dads must feel about accountability if they are thinking about getting honest about their “stuff” with their sons.
Who wants to have to open up to someone and share just how broken they are to someone who looks up to them?
When my dad first started to talk to me about “the birds and the bees” and how my hormones would start to make me feel I felt grossed out and very uncomfortable. But eventually all of it started to become true. At that point my dad told me about accountability and what it meant.
This, of course, made me even more uncomfortable, and frankly pretty scared. Not only was I barely a teenager and beginning to realize what sex was, but now my dad was wanting me to share with him what I thought about it! Ugh!
However, my attitude started to change when I realized that my dad was also uneasy about it. I knew that he did accountability with a few other guys, but for some reason, he wasn’t so stoked to do accountability with me, his son. And after we began checking in, I realized why.
Accountability requires a lot of vulnerability.
I would tell him how my emotions were, any sexual temptations I had, and pretty much how my day went without hiding anything from him. This was a scary experience at first, but I got used to it after a while.
Yet I still couldn’t figure out why my dad was uneasy with the process. Wasn’t it harder for me to open up than it was for him? Wasn’t I getting the worst end of the deal?
In fact, it was actually much harder for him.
I discovered that it was very hard for him to open up, especially to his son who was supposed to be looking up to him as a good example and role model in life. As he began opening up and being honest with me, that made me feel more comfortable opening up to him. This mutual vulnerability increased safety for both of us and it continues to build today.
The closeness and connection my dad and I share today wouldn’t have happened without our accountability process and commitment. I never would’ve thought that something that seemed so horrendous and way too vulnerable would end up strengthening our father-son bond and bringing a new level of relationship between us.
Lucas Fort and his father, John, are a part of the ministry Pure Community and presented their workshop titled ‘Father-Son Accountability’ at the 2016 Higher Ground Men’s Conference. Their book by the same name is available at http://purecommunity.org
The Higher Ground Men’s Conference blog is a ministry of Prodigals International. Higher Ground is an annual men’s conference hosted by Westminster Chapel in Bellevue, WA designed to encourage and equip men of faith (age 13 and older) to win the battle for spiritual integrity, sexual purity and social justice. Subscribe to the blog below for monthly encouragement and updates about our 2017 conference.