Thursday, October 20, 2011

Raising Boys To Be Men In Today's Culture

After reading a recent article by William Bennett on the subject of raising boys to be men, I could not leave this topic alone. Rightly so, Bennet has pointed out that the majority of boys in our modern society have delayed becoming men; that their adolescent years have been prolonged well beyond the historical age of maturity, and if they reach manhood at all, it's fast become the exception, not the norm. And just to clarify... this is not just a problem with our society at large, but it's a huge problem even within the Christian community.

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I am posting this with great trepidation... after all, who am I to write on raising boys? I'm the mom of three girls... The only male in this house is my husband. Believe me, I have a vested interest in boys, for my girls will hopefully marry mature godly men someday! Perhaps raising grandsons will be in the future. And growing up with only a brother and mostly male cousins didn't go unheeded... I had to WORK at being a girl with all that "male-ness" to contend with! Many of you might be able to write a better post than this one because you've successfully raised boys who became godly men, but humor me if you will and consider some of my thoughts. Especially if you are new to parenting and you have miles to travel through the journey of raising children.

And let me say right from the beginning, moms of boys have a REALLY tough job raising them to be manly in our 21st century culture. It's a lot easier to write on something than to put it into practice! My heart goes out to you for the daunting task at hand. But it isn't impossible in the least. This isn't the first time in history that parents have faced this challenge and if the Lord tarries it won't be the last. To make excuses dooms our children before we even get started! Better to embrace the challenge and wear out our knees in prayer than to whine that it can't be done!

Second, to write a post with "five simple steps to raising boys" trivializes the issue. It can't be accomplished that simply. Books upon books have been written on the subject and most assuredly will in the days ahead, however, I hope to get the conversation started here at Homestead Revival with ideas that will spur parents to consider this topic at length and make applications where it's appropriate for their families.

In my humble opinion, I present to you some of my own concerns that I feel are major obstacles in today's culture for boys to become men (in no particular order)...

Obscured roles within the home. In general, we talk a good talk, but we don't walk the walk when it comes to the husband-wife relationship. Our men either shrink from being authority figures at all because wives refuse to be submissive (or do so subtly), or the men become unruly and overbearing in order to try to grasp and retain authority. I know that sentence seems kind of ugly on both ends, but it has been the struggle in marriage since the Garden of Eden. The only difference now is that women are mostly working outside the home, have freedoms they never dreamed of even 100 years ago, and many are raising their children alone. Is it any wonder boys shrink from being godly men when they aren't sure what that means?

Ladies, we cannot make our men be leaders in the home, but we can be submissive and honor our husbands, giving them respect, even when we don't think they deserve it. (Do we deserve respect back when we fail to show respect?) Within Christian circles, I've heard many things come out of the mouths of women that are totally antithetical to being submissive wives (mine included! I've shocked myself at times!) Many men (I dare say, most) will shrink back from taking on their god-given role as the leader when the wife is constantly pushing against them in the area of respect and submission. Why then, would our young men aim for something that they see as an impossible challenge? Why would they jump into a marriage where they feel they will be disrespected? And if they did, would they even know what Biblical leadership really looks like?

(I could write a book on this, so it's probably best that I move on to the next point and let you mull it over and decide for yourself.)

Vicarious experiences through electronic entertainment that don't really challenge maleness. That's a mouthful! Even secular researchers recognize that we are on a dangerous path with all our new-found electronic freedoms. And I'm sure you're not surprised that I have strong opinions about electronic entertainment, but putting all that aside, the best of the best in video games will always fall short because they don't really challenge boys to be men. Strong thumb muscles from remote control workouts do little to strengthen overall body muscles and expel excess testosterone. In fact, a steady diet of internet surfing, Facebook time, texting, video games, and the like has a better chance of breeding laziness than anything else.

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• Boys need to be outdoors! Even if they don't want to, boys should be outside for a portion of each day. Even if his talents and inclinations lean toward the arts, academics, or some other indoor activity. Nature has a way of opening up his heart and mind to God while exercising his body. And if the Lord calls him to some vocation that requires a lot of desk work, he'll need to be familiar with the outdoors to keep his body fit and strong for the task at hand. He needs to develop the habit of nature.

Boys need to conquer, protect, and take dominion. Throughout history, this has taken place within the context of survival for daily life. Farming, hunting, fishing, building shelters (helping to construct a home), learning to fight... all skills a boy not only would need in the future, but skills the parents needed him to practice as quickly as possible for the good of the family unit. Sports took place as a means of community entertainment, but only sporadically, occurring mostly at social gatherings on special occasions.

Today, we've substitute real skills that last a lifetime for football, baseball, basketball, and soccer. And mostly because many boys do not have access to hunting areas and such, especially if they live in urban areas. PLEASE hear me when I say that sports are not evil or bad for our kids as a general rule. Two of my very own children do so with great joy. But we are fooling ourselves if we think that these are adequate substitutes for conquering and taking dominion; for protecting and learning skills for a lifetime (precious few will ever be engaged in sports as a career). Have we convinced ourselves that the only place a boy can learn team work and submitting to authority is within the context of sports? Are we running them around to so MANY sports that they don't have time to learn life skills? Ask yourself what IS your son is doing in order to learn conquering, protecting, and taking dominion?

Boys need responsibility early in life. Chores and jobs should always be age appropriate, but we must be careful not to "dumb down" our children, assuming they are too young for some task. Most of the time, we underestimate, not over-estimate, their ability to do something. And it's okay if they struggle with it in the beginning; it will give them greater satisfaction and genuine self-confidence  (not the sinful pride of false self-esteem) when they master a goal that seemed impossible only a few days prior.

• Allow boys to fail. This is a good thing when the stakes are low in order that they know how to recover, get up, and try again. And to do so with dignity! Too many moms rescue their boys, never allowing them to own up to their own mistakes, preventing them from facing giants, and testing themselves (proving their worth) against blows they will most assuredly take as men. I'm not advocating setting our boys up for failure; life will bring plenty on it's own and we don't need to hunt it down. But in today's society, we err on the side of rushing in to protect them from little opportunities that would serve to make men of them in the future.

Boys need a clear understanding of the terms "gentleman", "meekness", and "manners". As a teacher and principal, the inevitable conflict between boys playing rough and playing with restraint came up... every. single. day. One mom would complain that a young man was too rough with her own son (coming to his defense!). The other mother would counter that her son had been cooped up in a classroom for 4 hours and needed to expel energy... and after all, he IS a boy. What's the correct response in a situation like this? Yes, the rougher boy had a need to be manly, but context is king in this situation. REAL men know that meekness is strength restrained. Like a wild stallion brought under control by it's master. The stallion will always have the ability to crush and trample, but he learns that with people he must be meek. If a boy understands that there are times to be rough and tough, yet times to be restrained and mannerly, while given opportunities for both, he won't become exasperated. (And to the mom who is rescuing her son in this kind of situation... stop, talk to your husband first, and ask how to proceed if your son is feeling bullied. Another man should know what skills to instill in his son to help him rise up to meet conflicts like these.)

Boys need entrepreneurial skills. Even if a young man ends up working for someone else, having entrepreneurial competence develops a sense of responsibility, assertiveness, initiative, thinking ahead, planning, execution, and a host of other skills he'll need someday as a leader within the home or on the job. Don't wait until they are of "legal" age to work outside the home for someone else; start them earlier with their own small home-based business. Who knows, it could be the beginning of a life-long career. And if times are tough, they'll know how to roll up their sleeves and find ways to support their family rather than waiting for the government to provide in the unemployment line.

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A caveat for mothers who do the majority of homeschooling of their boys through their teen years...  you'll need to be extra careful not to overly "mother" your young man. It's our God-given inclination to protect our young, nurturing them until they leave the nest. But we should be weaning them off our coddling, not prolonging it. Consider the possibility of your son working independently for most of the day on his studies, while reporting to dad in the evening. Fathers can further help by assigning them some manly manual work for a portion of the morning or afternoon, such as cutting firewood, clearing land, working on an old car, repairing something in the home, etc. If you're a single parent, consider an apprenticeship with another godly man for your son.

And for those raising daughters only... it's easy to become critical when surveying the male population coming up, but beware of being too hard on the mothers of boys or the young men themselves. No one will ever parent perfectly and often we judge the unfinished product. Uphold your sisters and brothers in prayer, with all humility and love.

As you can imagine, I have not even begun to scratch the surface of such a deep topic (and applications are running rampant through my mind). It's a hard topic to address because it strikes a deep chord in everyone's soul. Take heart, dear mothers! He wants your little man to stand strong and be godly even more than you do and He will be there to help every step of the way!

Please share the #1 thing you feel boys need in order to become godly, mature men, after a relationship with Jesus Christ.






42 comments:

  1. Excellent, excellent post, Amy! You raise important concerns, which I say as a mother of 3 (so far) sons.

    Have you read Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young? They address these same issues and more, and as parents of 6 sons, they have much practical wisdom to share on these topics. It's a FANTASTIC resource, which I can't help but be reminded of as I read your words.

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  2. Amy, thank you for this post. You did it respectively and beautifully! As the mother of 2 boys, it can be difficult to know how to parent them sometimes, not knowing what it's like to be a boy! I think the first the after a relationship with Jesus that boys need, are a father that is willing to spend time with them and invest their own time to intenionally teach their boys. I am very blessed with a loving husband that takes our boys hunting and fishing, teaches them to build and work with wood, maintain vehicles and other "manly" chores, and do all these with patience with them. He also shows them the value of hard work to provide for your family, he never shys away from taking on other work besides his 50 hour a week job. Thank you, again, for taking this subject on, and for your empathy and respectfullness in doing so.

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  3. POW, I have not read that book... Thanks for mentioning it!

    Kelly, you'll love today's post @ Desiring God...

    http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/dads-consider-the-impact-of-availability?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DGBlog+%28DG+Blog%29

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  4. You touched on this a little, but self-control is an area we are working on now with our young son. Learning to control his anger, learning to control his tongue, learning to control his body and his eyes. With all the provocative advertisements, immodest dress, immorality, domestic abuse, internet access, all the things we can buy, access to numerous lines of credit (debt), a myriad of entertainment possibilities, temptations to laziness, etc etc, we believe that teaching him self-control beginning now as a little boy will serve him greatly in the long run. Of course that looks different right now than it will as an older boy and a teen and an adult. Right now it's rather simple things like learning to look in our eyes when we talk to him, sitting still to complete a worksheet, speaking kindly to his older sister, and learning to be gentle with his baby sister. But we are seeking to lay a foundation of self-control in his life that we hope will serve him as he grows.

    Amy, you brought up a bunch of great points to mull on and consider. Thanks!

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  5. Great post! After having three girls, I had my son. It is very difficult to raise a manly man when his father left our household when he was two. Now he is seven and it is still not easy. By having good men in his life who are willing to show him how to be a man, he is learning. I also make sure I show him the skills he will need to succeed by showing him how to use tools, building his character, and steering him towards manly pursuits. It is not easy and I pray daily over his path in life.

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  6. Wonderful post, Amy! We have 3 girls and 1 boy. It can be very difficult at times. I pray that I am making the right choices.

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  7. Dear Amy, thank you for this wonderful post on raising boys in today's world. It strikes a cord with me in that I am now a father of a boy who is soon to be 9. As a previous principal, teacher and a coordinator who has worked extensively with At-Risk boys within alternative schools, I feel that we have lost much in our society today in respect to raising young boys. I agree that we have delayed adulthood for our young men and the christian father figure in the home is lacking in so families. Your post has tugged at my heart strings. I have written about this in my own blog and see the need for change in today's world.
    If you would not mind, could I put your post in my blog for my readers to see. It would offer so much encouragement to them as it has for me. Thank you for being vigilant in this touchy topic. August Thurmer

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  8. We have 3 boys and 1 girl so my stuggle is more of keeping my daughter feminine! :)
    Honestly, you touched on so MANY good points! Above all else though I feel that the first and most important thing for a boy is to have a mother and a father that display a good, Biblical example of marriage. Boys learn so very much by watching their mother and father and their relationship. A boy will learn what it takes to be a godly man by watching his father be the provider and leader for his family and he will also learn what a godly wife looks like when he sees his mom being a keeper of the home and submissive to her husband.
    What little boy doesn't want to be just like his daddy? And what better way to show your son an example of the type of woman you'd like for him to marry?
    Thanks for this post!
    Heather@MountainHomeQuilts

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  9. Such a great post. You have a great many things to think about there. I have 2 sons and 2 daughters. I think my biggest challenge lately is getting my first son (he is second in birth order)to become more of a leader. He has been following his older sister's lead from birth. It's a hard thing to do as our daughter is the very strong mothering type. Thank you for reminding me that prayer is more of something I should be doing.

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  10. I think responsibility is the most important skill they can learn, that while coupled with an acceptance of who they are - not all men are meant to be farmers or have the skills for business, sitting behind a desk does not make one less of man; rather, in my humble opinion, it is the ability to accept responsibility and sacrifice that makes a man (much like it does a woman).

    Not every man is going to find out ways to make his family wealthy (in the monetary sense), but we (speaking as a mother of a son) need to be training them that life = responsibilities and responsibilities = sacrifice and true, unselfish sacrifice = love.

    P.S. I think just about every point you made about raising boys relates to girls too - we need to be raising our daughters with many of the same skills (how many more women could stay home if the idea of building a business from home was something they already knew?), girls also need responsibilities, training and even being outside (being feminine, to me, doesn't mean you run from dirt and bugs!)

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  11. Molly, I whole heartily agree that most of this applies to girls, too! A wall flower isn't much of a helpmeet to a man!

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  12. August, you're welcome to repost this. I would be grateful if you would link back to this post or blog site. And thanks for the encouraging affirmation on your comment... It's good to hear from a guy's perspective on the subject.

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  13. Great post Amy! I give a hearty AMEN to all of your points.

    This is the Scripture the Lord gave me when our first son was 12 hrs old. After 3 girls, I had NO idea how to parent a son and I was a little concerned about how to proceed. This is what the Lord gave me that day, 21 years ago:

    Psalm 119:9-16

    9 How can a young man cleanse his way?
    By taking heed according to Your word.

    10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
    Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!

    11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
    That I might not sin against You.

    12 Blessed are You, O LORD!
    Teach me Your statutes.

    13 With my lips I have declared
    All the judgments of Your mouth.

    14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your
    testimonies, As much as in all riches.

    15 I will meditate on Your precepts,
    And contemplate Your ways.

    16 I will delight myself in Your statutes;
    I will not forget Your word.

    So, this became my foundational verse to raising all of my children, but particularly, my sons. It is so hard for men to keep their way pure in this society. There are stumbling blocks all around. So many temptations. So many misunderstandings about what a Godly man truly is. But the Word of God.....in that is their strength........

    Another key verse for raising my children is:

    Proverbs 23:26
    Give me your heart, my son,
    And let your eyes delight in my ways.

    A young man who gives his heart over to the Lord, His Word and His parents, will be a mighty man of God.

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  14. Amy,
    This is very well done! We have a son who is 13 years old. I was having a talk with just yesterday morning. He wants to keep acting like he is 5! He is our only son but I feel like all the kids in his school are seriously behind in their social skills (probably due to too much time in front of the Wii) and over all maturity! They don't have any responsibility. We do not feel we can put our son on a mower, tractor, or four wheeler! He refuses to "grow up". We try very hard to teach him manners and to show him by example how a family is supposed to be. I am submissive to my husband and he is the head of the house. He knows God and has given over his life to him. The church we are in right now really isn't teaching him because there are so many new converts or seekers that it isn't beneficial for him to go. I may as well take this "bull by the horns" and start doing more home bible studies. Thanks for the inspiration! I am now going to jump off here and write up an action plan!

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  15. This was an incredible post Amy! Thank you for going out on the edge a bit with this one. I have only parented boys and I couldn't agree with you more...on every single point! It was so nice to hear someone else writing the things I think daily and feel strongly about. Thank you for this heartfelt post and taking the time to articulate yourself so beautifully. I haven't commented before but I love your blog so much. It is always such a blessing to read! :)

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  16. I love this post and I must agree with Molly. My husband is not an outdoorsman, but rather than being skilled at motors and woodwork, he is very talented at working on computers and tending to the many many jobs that are needed indoors. I, on the other hand, are more of an outdoors type. I don't think that this makes my husband any less of a man...rather more of one as he recognizes his skills and works to better perfect them even though it is not the typical stereotype of 'guy work'. I encourage all of my children (2 girls, 1 boy and another boy on the way) to each give their lives to God and follow the paths that He is leading them down even if it is not what one would think that they 'should' do. Our son is still young, and I know that there will be many challenges down the road. I appreciate your willingness to talk frankly about this and share your thoughts and ideas.

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  17. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are spot on. We have one daughter and four sons. Two of our sons (and our daughter) are adults. One is serving as a missionary in Argentina. We found that Scouting is a great alternative to organized sports for teaching boys manly skills and attributes. Plus, most of the time I would just kick them out of the house and say: Go Play! And they would go explore and create and find adventure on their own. Reading scriptures and pointing out the strengths of various men gives boys an idea of what real men think and feel and do. Our son in Argentina asked me how a man could be tender yet strong. I reminded him of how he treated babies, kittens or puppies, saying that he would touch them gently and speak kindly to them, while using his strength to protect them from harm. I believe young men yearn to be manly, but too many young women usurp the role, and there are few (any?) good role models in the media. Feminism has simply ruined family life in the name of equality. They approached things from the wrong angle. They should have demanded that men become more refined, cultured and obedient to God's laws, rather than stooping themselves to the level of the lowest male. But that's a whole 'nother subject. Keep up the good work. We are praying for Godly mothers raising Godly daughters for our four boys.

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  18. I can not agree more! I have had these thoughts on my mind a lot lately, especially since finding out our one on the way is a 4th boy for our family. I feel that we are being called to raise strong, Godly men. I grew up with a father who (though I love dearly) would not lead, and in a house of women who... well, castrate any male that comes along. It has been so heavy on my heart to be different and to raise men to take care of the families and love God. I have been so blessed with a husband who is himself a strong leader and lover of our family. Thank you for clarifying the thoughts that have been floating around in my head!

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  19. Great post! My oldest boy is going to be 5 in December and my husband and I spent hours last night working through what should be on that "birthday list" the grandparents are requesting. The world would say (and does if what's marketed means anything) that he's still so young, but we think he needs to start his growing up part of life. Instead of a bunch of plastic toys (something we don't do anyway), we're sticking with things he can build with like blocks and connector things, and a beginners electronics set he can do with daddy. Gardening tools and equipment for bird and bug watching are also on that list.

    As far as giving him "manly" things to do during his longs days at home with mommy, I'm often stumped, but some of his "manly" jobs (in addition to inside chores) included bringing the empty trash cans in each week for daddy and gathering sticks for the fire when we're on our walks.

    You're right... it's hard (as a women who gets girly things so much more) to be raising men. Don't forget ladies that your husband (or other Godly men in your church if your husband isn't around) is a great resource for what your boy can be doing now to grow up as a man!

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  20. Great post, Amy! Although, I do not have any children yet, my husband and I have spoken extensively on this topic, and he would like to start a father/son discipleship program someday at our church. There are so many things a boy needs in order to become a Godly and mature man, however, my number one would be a strong man of God as a role model (preferrably his own father). I am excited to see what could happen when father's really step up to the plate, and teach their sons what it means to be a Man! Thanks again for this post! I always love getting to hear your insight!
    With Hope,
    Megan Jenelle

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  21. Amy,
    This is a wonderful post. You are very thoughtful in your assertions and I agree with all you've said. I am the mother of a son that is also a newlywed and it warms my heart to think that there are parents of ladies out there trying to impart on them, the significance of how we raise men and women.

    When my son was very young, I was guilty of mothering too closely by protecting & sheltering my son from the world. That only stifled him and weakened his self esteem. I was blessed with a wonderful husband however, and he always managed to reign me in. I feel that our hard work was fruitful. Today, we have a strong, independent, son who loves with all his heart, respects his new bride, and loves God. Thank you for this post.

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  22. Amy, I can't tell you what an awesome post this was. THANK YOU so much for bringing this topic to the front lines!! This is something that I have really been burdened about, but am struggling with knowing exactly how I should go about teaching our two young sons to be godly men. There are SO many ways our society is teaching our men to be feminized. Television in particular more often than not portrays men as being incompetent and lazy. I think getting rid of Hollywood in our homes is a huge step toward teaching our boys their proper roles. I am so blessed to also have a husband who is willing to take our 4 yr. old son fishing, hunting, and building stuff. As a matter of fact, they're in the woods squirrel hunting as I type this, lol! I LOVE watching them working together, and I wish more than anything that Jerry could find some sort of handy man job that he could take our son with him to every day. Boys NEED that example. I don't believe the Lord created them to sit in a classroom and have their noses in a book all day long. I whole-heartedly agree they need to be outside... doing stuff... putting that energy they were blessed with to good use!

    I also struggle with controlling my tongue, and being a submissive wife- though I try, Lord knows I am getting much better. I definitely want to show our boys AND our girls how a wife should be submissive to her husband as the leader of the home.

    I am going to look up the book that p.o.w. suggested (thanks!). I could use all the advice I can get!

    You hit the nail on the head with everything you said, Amy. I truly believe that if more boys were being taught how to be men, our country would not be in the mess it is today.

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  23. Thank you for this wonderful post! As the mother of a 5-year old son, I whole-heartedly agree with your comments. My husband and I pray that we will raise a Godly man that will honor Him in everything that he does.

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  24. Amy, thank you for one of the best posts ever! We have 3 sons & 3 grandsons now. We have homeschooled them and real life "chores", wood splitting, building, gardening & farming, fixing things, even running a sewing machine, etc. We didn't do much sports and they sometimes talk about how they would have liked to have done more, but two are Eagle Scouts (youngest almost) and leaders where ever they are. They have grown up to be good, hard working men (almost for the 16 year old).

    Appreciate all that you do and your family's support too!!!

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  25. I'm a new reader and I really appreciated this post! My oldest and only boy (right now) is almost 3 and I think about these issues often. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, they are very insightful. I'm just beginning my homesteading journey and I love your blog!

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  26. You sure hit a chord with me. So much of what you posted jabbed at me...in a good way...cause I am raising two boys. I have five daughters...and both my boys are adopted. One from Thailand at 16 months...and one from Africa at age 7.

    First off...my Thai son is very out-doorsy...my African son could sit and play video games all day and all night....and can be very lazy.

    It's very hard for him coming from an orphanage in Africa where you did nothing all day except survive. No chores...NOTHING just hanging out with 500 other kids and hoping to get food that day or week...or running and hiding from rebel soldiers.

    So my dh and I find it very hard to motivate him. He truly is a sweet boy...doesn't have a temper...or anger issues. But tends to like keeping to himself and doing things alone...which is computers and PS3. He would never do school if he didn't have too.

    So raising him is quite a challenge. And my dh is NOT an outdoorsy person...he is a computer geek...but there is really nothing he cannot build...nothing he cannot fix and he is amazing with reno's...example our house right now is in major reno mode. He is just not a hunter or fisherman as such.

    So I have quite a dilemna raising my two boys in the ways you are talking about. It means I spend major hours on my knees...and they are well acquainted with my carpet{smile}.

    I know that God has amazing plans for all my adopted children...and we are raising our boys to have a heart of compassion...to care for orphans...to seek justice for those who cannot speak up for themselves. We are also right now trying to instill in our sons work ethic...not being lazy and also doing everything with a proper attitude...with a joyful attitude.

    Anyway, I could go on and on about this...but just wanted to let you know that this post you have just written is one of the best...they all are good..but this is GREAT!!!!

    Thank you...as I will be re-visiting this post often.

    Blessings,
    Connie

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  27. Connie, Thank you. And take heart, you are on the right track! You recognize each boys strength and weaknesses which is the first step for any parent in making decision for each child. No one can do it all... hunt, fish, etc. And not everything is a fit for each person. As you pray, God will help you to see which things will be best for each boy. This has been true in raising my daughters as well and we know that God has a plan for each one of them - and probably all different!

    P.S. We love computer geeks, too!! They are such a big help!

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  28. Hi Amy.

    I discovered your blog yesterday and I'm smitten! I love today's post!

    Anyway, the reason I am dropping by is to tell you that I made your Beef & Barley soup. YUM! I sampled just a bit, but took your word for it that it was a hit and served it to our teachers for P/T conferences.

    I gave you credit and linked to you in my blog post for today.

    Thanks so much! Your newest fan,

    Valerie

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  29. Thank you, Valerie! So very kind of you! Glad it was such a hit.

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  30. Amy, thanks for such great information and motivation. I am currently the mother of a 3 year old daughter, expecting my son in January. I hadn't considered the differences in raising a boy until coming across your post today.

    Thanks again!

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  31. I just came across your blog and wanted to say what a great post this is. I have 7 kids and 5 are boys. I still have 3 at home. My 19 year old is in a Christian college and even there he sees boys that are not well behaved. I teach my boys all the things you talk about and my husband is a good father. He is away in Afghanistan at the moment but when he is home he keeps the boys busy. I stress to my boys how special girls are and that when they grow up they are responsible to keep girls safe at all cost. There is a great book out there for boys that teaches them they are they are, it's called, The Squire and the Schroll."

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  32. My boys are 20 and 15, with a daughter in between... The 20 year old had a few rough years, and although we were very clear that at times we were not happy with his behavior, we also were very clear that we love him dearly and that we are confident that he will do fine... Fast forward a couple years, and he has grown to be a wonderful adult.

    I think it's worth keeping in mind that they may not always behave as we would wish but keeping a strong relationship lays the foundation for them to grow. Kerry D.

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  33. What an encouraging and spot on post -- we must be reading or listening to the same people. :)

    Raising faithful boys in our modern western culture IS possible if we as parents are faithful ourselves. Our children are watching us and they certainly pick up on our failings. We cannot teach them to do one thing while we do another. I guess that would be my #1 tip.

    Many blessings to you and yours! ~Lisa

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  34. Thank you for a wonderful, thought-provoking post. As a mother of two boys, it provides much for me to reflect upon.
    You asked what do we think a boy needs after his relationship with Jesus. I would say a father who sets a good example, is not lazy and recognizes that these things need to be considered and carried out.
    Unfortunately my husband is not a Christian and as I read this I already felt a sense of defeat. It is so hard to instill these values without his help.

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  35. I just found your site and am feeling so blessed right now!! What awesome information you have here...and what a beautiful family you have!
    Susan

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  36. Amy,
    As the mother of 27 & 16 year old sons, I appreciated this post and heartily agree that young men need adventure, hard work, and challenges to grow.
    I'm so thankful for my husband stepping up to the plate and showing them the way. The best thing I did was get out of the way as my boys got older so their dad could lead them forward into manhood.

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  37. I am SO glad you wrote this post! This is very near and dear to my heart, something that my husband and I discuss a lot. We are not parents yet, but have a great desire to lead boys to be men, by EXAMPLE. Honestly, the hardest part for me was your first point about us as wives. It is a daily struggle to submit (I am quite strong-willed) and give unconditional respect to my husband. But it absolutely HAS to start there. I think much of the problem with men today is women! I'm not afraid to admit my shortcomings in that area, and desire so much for God to refine me into a women who loves honors respects and submits to her husband. Hopefully one day (soon!) I will have the joy, honor and privilege to raise Godly boys, and with the help and example of my very-manly husband, see them grow into Godly men.
    Thank you again for bringing this issue up to the forefront, it is plaguing our society, even (if not especially?!) in Christian circles!

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  38. Wonderful post, Amy! I don't think I can add anything regarding the next most important thing after a relationship with Jesus that hasn't already been said. However, I thought I'd share a conversation I had with a non-believing friend years ago. She had been homeschooling her then early and mid elementary age girls and was struggling to find a homeschool group to hang out with. She didn't like that they were all "religious" and huffed about one even going so far as to teach girls how to be feminine and boys to be masculine. She didn't want her girls to be "dependant" upon a man for survival. I asked her if she wanted them to get married, to which she said yes. So I asked if she wanted the men they marry to have been raised knowing how to properly treat and care for her daughters. I think it gave her new insight into why these homeschool groups were teaching what they were. Those girls are now 20 and 23 and the oldest is having trouble finding a guy that's mature enough.

    So mamas, it IS important as it seems we all agree. to train both our daughters and sons to fulfill the roles assigned by God! Thanks again Amy for a well written post!

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  39. Wonderful post!! I so agree with all your points. My husband has done a wonderful job raising our sons - I think the most important thing I have done is to get out of his way. Often he has/lets them do things that as the mother make me cringe but I have to trust in his judgement.

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  40. I've been writing on this very topic. There's so much to it for me, and I couldn't cut it down to just one thing or it would have to be the Lord. Outside of that, I think we must give our boys (and I have 4) ample opportunity to learn new things. And, we must allow them to fail and to figure out how to persevere. If they are incapable men they will always have to look to other capable men to do things for them. If they can't fail with grace and persevere to succeed, they'll never be able to handle the waves that crash over them in life. There is so much more to this topic, but you asked for thoughts on one thing.

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Thank you for visiting Homestead Revival™! Please feel free to contribute to the conversation by leaving your comments. "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear." Eph. 4:29

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