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Project proves like father, like son

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Benjamin was inspired by scripture to develop a formation program for his son Joshua. Photo: Supplied
Benjamin was inspired by scripture to develop a formation program for his son Joshua. Photo: Supplied

Benjamin and Joshua Oxley are on a mission to help men live out God’s plan for their lives through an online program and graphic novel called Boys to Men.

As a young father, Benjamin, an Australian-based opera singer, developed a 10-week program based on the advice on Christian living in chapter 13 of Hebrews to provide faith formation around topics of masculinity and identity for his then-young son Joshua.

Now Joshua, who has followed in his father’s footsteps professionally, is helping to bring the powerful spiritual lessons to other fathers and their preteen or teenage sons.

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With illustrator Diana Ayoub they are reworking the comprehensive bible study program into a gamified resource to guide fathers and sons through a journey with a character known as the ‘mysterious gardener’ representing Jesus Christ.

The program, for which they are seeking funding to complete, follows the gardener he leads a father and son in overcoming various evils on the way to understanding their true purpose and identity.

Joshua is an RCIA catechumen with the Maternal Heart community in Lewisham and hopes to enter the Catholic Church this year.

He believes that “we are called first and foremost to see true masculinity as represented in Christ.”

“Like the letters to the Hebrews tells us, Christ is the true imprint of the Father,” he said.

Diana also hopes the program will reinforce a positive Christian model of masculinity given that today’s misconceptions around gender and identity are contributing to the culture’s attack on family structure.

“This generation is bombarded by visual things and are always on screens, so we came up with these beautiful characters and scenes in the hope of engaging younger boys on a level they can relate,” Diana said.

“We’ve tried to make the characters as approachable as possible so that the real-life father and son following them can put themselves in their shoes.”

“Christ is the figure that men should look up to in their roles in society as husbands and fathers,” she said.

“The more Christ-like they are, the more they are able to lead their families in the right way and rise up to become saints.

“We’re in desperate need of rediscovering that.”

Benjamin sees close family bonds as a sign of strength in his own life and said the fruits of the deep relationship he shares with his son have compelled the pair to share their lessons with the world.

“We spend a lot of time together and out of this we have been able to formulate this fantastic resource, where father, sons and whole families can witness the value in coming together.”

For more information on the Boys to Men online program go to http://www.boys2men.com.au

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