When Jim McBride, executive producer of the new movie COURAGEOUS, walked his oldest daughter, Victoria, down the aisle on Father’s Day weekend, his eyes brimmed with tears and his heart overflowed.
But it wasn’t just the significance of her marriage that stirred his emotion. McBride found the experience especially profound in light of a rite of passage he conducted years earlier with his daughter.
When she was a teen, McBride presented Victoria with a crown to symbolize Proverbs 12:4 – “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown.” He blessed her and told her that just as she has been a crown to her father, she will be one for her future husband.
At the rehearsal dinner the night before her wedding, McBride’s daughter reminded her father of the blessing and thanked him. Victoria then told her husband-to-be how she had prayed over that crown for years. On their wedding night, she gave the crown to him.
His daughter’s rite of passage ceremony was the first of four for McBride. He wanted each of his children to know when they left home that they had the blessing and love of their father. “They can all point back to a moment when their dad prayed for them and told them they were a man or a woman.”
Before McBride accepted Christ as his Savior, he said he “bought into the lies of the world and climbed the corporate ladder.” After giving his life to Christ in his early 30s, he received a fresh vision of his responsibility as a husband and father and “made a conscious decision to allow my heart to work outside my body.”
He also realized that although his parents had always encouraged him and cheered him on, he personally had not experienced “that moment of spiritual blessing” from his own father. “I never had that moment where I knew he supported the direction I chose in my life.”
A Ring of Blessing
That changed a few years later, when McBride was in his late 30s. He and his family were visiting his father who works in the carnival business. “Late one night,” he recalled, “while I was helping under the tent, my dad called me to his side and put his arm around me.”
His father said he knew about a special ring McBride had given away. It belonged to the great uncle who started the carnival business and McBride felt led by God to give the ring to his great uncle’s daughter.
“I know what you did with that ring,” McBride’s father said, “so I had this ring made especially for you. It is a symbol of your father seeing you loving and living for God.”
McBride said the night “was a rite of passage that I will never forget. He not only acknowledged me as a man and said he loved me, but he said he was excited that I served Christ.
“It’s a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life,” he added.
The concept of the rite of passage became so important to McBride that he penned a new book, out Aug. 1, that encourages fathers to be intentional about passing on a blessing to their sons and daughters. Rite of Passage helps parents with wisdom, experience, and practical examples in leading young adults through a real-life rite of passage.
For generations, other religions and cultures have put their children through a rite of passage to adulthood. Many people are aware of the Jewish practice of the Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, for example. The reality, however, is that many children today don’t learn how to become adults on purpose; rather, they ride the wave of adolescence toward an unknown adult future.
“Moms, dads, and other adults have the unique opportunity to guide the teenagers in their life toward adulthood,” said McBride. “This is not a privilege to be taken lightly, but neither is it an impossible task. That’s my desire for this book.”
The busy executive pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., has been immersed in all things “father-related” the last couple of years. McBride has been serving as executive producer of the soon-to-be-released COURAGEOUS movie, which tells the story of four men struggling with the challenges of fatherhood.
As law enforcement officers, they are confident and focused, standing up to the worst the streets have to offer. But when tragedy strikes home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith and their fathering.
“In the movie,” McBride said, “there is a scene where the men try to remember when they first thought of themselves as men.” One character said it was when he moved out of the house. For another, it was when he turned 21. The third thought it was when he got his first job. Only one character heard from his own father that he was now a man.
The friends then come up with an idea that will affirm their commitment to being fathers of courage. You can find out more when the movie opens on Sept. 30, said McBride.
Tickets are on sale now for the opening weekend of COURAGEOUS. Visit CourageoustheMovie.com to find links to Fandango, MovieFone, MovieTickets; and all major ticket sites.
Around the nation, individuals, churches and groups are forming Action Squads—purchasing blocks of theater tickets, buying out COURAGEOUS showings, or committing to 1,000 tickets to secure the film in formerly unscheduled communities. Learn more: courageousthemovie.com.
Wedding photo by Kim Russell