May our sons flourish in their youth
like well-nurtured plants. Psalm 114:12
reposted from Feb 26, 2014
“Jeffery is not a bad or rebellious kid. He is just a boy.” James Dobson; Bringing Up Boys
Boys. I am a little more experienced in the raising girl department by quantity, like 5 to 1. But the raising son thing wins duration My first born, my son is 14 years old.
I am no means an expert but I do know that good men are in short supply. And I know little boys grow up into men. So how do I grow man from a little boy? How do I get my son to be man God’s way?
1. Let’em loose.
A boy is a lot like a white water rapids. He can be directed but he can’t be contained. Boys need freedom. They crave adventure. They thirst for wild. Give it to them.
“The recipe for fun is pretty simple raising boys: add to any activity an element of danger, stir in a little exploration, add a dash of destruction, and you’ve got yourself a winner.” John Eldredge, Wild at Heart
We’ve had a cold, snowy Ohio winter. The other day after 4 hours of hiking and sledding with his German-shepherd in sub-zero wind chills, my son hiked to the top our hill, which is really far, and rode his sled all the way down through the woods. I cringed as he went on about dodging trees at breakneck speeds. As visions of concussions danced in my head, he was beaming with accomplishment. He was living his adventure.
My 13-year-old son doesn’t like to be reminded of his younger defiant days. We laugh now, but if he was still pulling those stunts he’d be headed off to juvie. He could throw a fit like no other. He preferred his shoes on the wrong feet, refused to ever get dressed and often screamed til he puked.
Taking him to church was a total nightmare. I tried activity books. He threw them. I tried snacks. He crunched them on the floor. I said, “Shhhh.” He got louder. His most famous quote came when I took him out of church at 3 years old. With spoon in hand I asked him, “You either go out and sit quietly or get a spank. What is your choice?” Pulling down his own pants, his bare bottom staring back at me, he fearlessly said, “SPANK!”
Need-less-to-say, we had to draw some pretty firm boundaries so that the beast could be taken out in public without CPS being called. He needed limits. Some of the wild side had to be tamed for the greater good of society and my sanity. The good news is that he is now a straight A student and the president of his school. The wild has been successfully channeled.
“I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do.” 2 Sam. 7:14
3. Real responsibility.
“Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ assistant since his youth…” Num. 11:28
From putting away toys as a toddler to mission projects as a teen, boys need to have real responsibility.
He’s not exactly the right hand man to the leader of all of Israel, but our son contributes to church and family. He has regular household duties. He cleans the kitchen better than I do. He babysits younger siblings. He runs the AV room at church and is responsible for cleaning half the building. He rises to the challenge of true responsibility.
4. Free time
Between school, sports and church activities the schedule can get packed full of organized events pretty quick. Give your boy some time to dictate his own schedule. If he wants to build Legos on the floor for 2 hours straight, let him. Give him time to recharge the way he wants to. Be cautious to not over book him. He is just a kid after all.
5. Nurture Gratitude.
“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God.” Psalm 50:14
Not much gets under my skin more than a kid that feels entitled. Our son is, what I’d call, a picky eater. Here’s my rule, if someone else sacrificed themselves to serve you, you accept the sacrifice with gratitude. Eat it!
Let thanksgiving be the theme for your home. Celebrate him. Openly express gratitude for what he brings to your family. As gratitude spills from you, a heart of gratitude will overflow from him.