Raising Boys

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a BOY!!!

I remember the first time I heard those words.  It was pure shock.   As far as I knew, babies only came in one gender…. girls.   We had five beautiful daughters, and I didn’t know the first thing about raising boys.    Talk about unqualified and overwhelmed….

It turns out that raising boys is amazing.  I see your eyes roll and hear your snicker.   Ok… so maybe raising boys is a wrestling match in a war zone. Amid gales of laughter, boys will use smelly feet and bodily functions to their advantage.  “Arm yourself ladies ….with a cardboard shield, a Nerf gun, and a can of Lysol.”  Makes you want to run doesn’t it?

 Truth is that raising anybody has always been a battle for their soul, and currently it’s harder to raise a boy than ever before.   The culture is at war with manliness.   Culture is determined to define your son for you.  Boys will embrace that definition if you do not actively war for their soul.

Remember the goal.

You want to raise a Godly man.

I currently have a real vested interest in raising boys.  Beyond my own two wonderful sons, those five beautiful daughters have given us nineteen grandkids (all 11 and under) and fifteen of them are boys.  Yes, you read that right… fifteen grandsons.  When there are that many little boys all in one place; you have a real vested interest in how they are raised.  (Actually when there are fifteen little boys all in one place you need some strong coffee and combat gear 🙂 )

 

More than anything else our present blessing of boys has really brought home to me how important it is to have a plan and a goal.   The truth is that you want your son to be a gift you give to the times he lives in; a man who can stand when no one will stand with him, and who will lead. You want to raise a true follower of Jesus.  Imagine a family unleashing fifteen young men on a culture, young men that know what’s true and are focused on what really matters.   The potential is enough to make you quiver with anticipation. 

Remember the goal.

You want to raise a Godly man.

Sometimes that’s hard to focus on when you are in the midst of whatever is the “challenge of the moment”.  Boys have a habit of continually presenting you with the “challenge of the moment”, then reveling in it, and finally shooting you with it. It makes it a little hard to focus.

Boys need goal-oriented parenting. Their daily energetic nonsense tends to obscure the long term in favor of the tyranny in immediate disaster. Then the goal degenerates to “I want your immediate obedience or conformity to this present issue” (spoken at the top of your lungs), rather than I am working toward your forever obedience to the Lord of Lords.  If you haven’t thought through your goals, you will find yourself always “reacting” rather than choosing your path.

So ask yourself…

What do you want? I mean really want…????.

For me, it’s to raise true, authentic, amazing followers of Jesus…. and with that in mind here are some thoughts on the matter:

 

Teach them the Word.   Take them to church.    Give them godly men for examples.

I know those seem like obvious things to do, and they are.  The problem is that even the obvious tends to elude us in the craziness of daily life.

You can’t lead someone if you don’t give them a clear vision of where they are going. Without vision you will have to drag or push them, not lead them.  So…. You teach them the Word so that they know what the goal is, and you take them to church to reinforce what you’ve taught. 

 Great ideals inspire.

Godly men teach by their lives that character is all about who you are and it always shows in what you do.   Teaching your son to protect and defend the weak, to support others not crush them, that true greatness is measured in how well you serve etc. they will show him that real strength is measured by self-control and teach him to accept responsibility and apologize when he is wrong.   Expose your son to Godly men of the faith who have gone before.  Inspire him with their lives, and give him the tools to stand up for truth no matter what the cost.

Remember the goal.

You want to raise a Godly man.

 

 

Discourage video games.

Boys have an innate desire to conquer and accomplish great things. The danger with video games is that they give them that conquering endorphin-driven rush of feeling without them ever having done anything real. They win the virtual battle or game and feel that surge of accomplishment and strength, but it is all an illusion. Nothing real has been accomplished. As a matter of fact, the hours of idleness make it harder to do or accomplish real things, especially because the video conquests are so easy compared to the hard work and difficulty of doing something real.    (That being said, I know kids are going to play these. My point is that it is in their best interest to delay starting them as long as you can, and to limit them as much as you can).  Especially strive to eliminate and avoid those games that desensitize to violent behavior or lure towards the occult.  They simply don’t fit with the goal.

Instead of artificial accomplishments, make sure your boys get the opportunity to meet and overcome real challenges.  If you can make it fun, all the better. 

Remember the goal.

You want to raise a Godly man.

 

Celebrate his gender

Don’t excuse bad behavior by blaming it on gender. Boys need to be proud that they are boys. It is devastating for little boys to constantly hear how naughty or hard to raise they are, and that girls are generally good.  It isn’t true; so don’t reinforce it.  Bad behavior is genderless. It is a result of bad choices which come from a sinful heart. It has nothing to do with being male.  Little boys are adorable and they need to know that you think so.

For many years everyone worried about girls feeling inferior because of what the culture said to them.  Now, there has been huge pendulum swing and you find boys almost being apologetic for being male. Teach your boys to embrace their gender, to revel in the fact that God chose them to be male.  Masculinity is a beautiful expression of personhood, and it is healthy for your boys to express, love, and be proud of it.

Remember the goal.

You want to raise a Godly man.

 

 Jesus is the ultimate example of godly manhood.

So dear mama of boys, I’m praying for you that God Himself will help you to focus on the goal, and give you the grace to raise mighty men of faith for His honor and glory.