When I was fifteen, I got my driving learner’s permit. I could drive with an adult, but I wasn’t sure how soon I’d get the chance. That very day my dad told me he was going to visit my sister at college. He asked me to go. As we walked out to the car, he threw me the keys. I hardly expected it. After all, this was a several hour trip involving some intense highway travel.
During our trip, he barely paid attention to my driving. He spent most of the trip reading the paper. I recall him looking up once and muttering, “You may want to slow down.” Then he casually, and without concern, went back to his crossword puzzle. It may sound odd, but I felt honored. I had his complete confidence and trust. It was one of those developmental milestones where he made me feel like a man. I don’t know whether or not my dad thought about what this moment did for me, but it was important. Our sons need these moments from us. Here are 10 developmental milestones sons need on their way to manhood.
1. Special One-on-One Events
Whether it is taking him to a game or a weekend trip away, spending one-on-one time is essential in your son becoming a man. The more of these, the better. Whether it is taking him to a game or a weekend trip away, spending one-on-one time is essential in your son becoming a man. Do it early and often.
Whether it is taking him to a game or a weekend trip away, spending one-on-one time is essential in your son becoming a man.
2. The Family Heritage
There are important man activities in your family lineage. Tell him the story of the hobbies that have been passed down from your grandfathers. If you grew up without a father, then you and your son get to be the beginning of a new heritage.
3. Home Alone
They are old enough to stay at home without a babysitter and maybe even watch over younger siblings. Tell him how and why he has earned this right.
4. Getting a Job
This is a big gateway into understanding financial responsibility. He’s not only learning professional skills but the value of money and the concept of taxes. When he gets his first paycheck, give him a lesson on both. Then tell him how proud you are of him.
5. Date/Formal Dance
His introduction to girls should be guided by you. Tell him how they are to be treated. Show him examples of what it means to be a gentleman. Give him a gift to mark this special occasion.
6. Home Improvement
He needs to learn to be a good steward of the home and servant of the family. Teach him how to take care of the house by landscaping, mowing the yard, having a working knowledge of tools, and servicing the car.
Being old enough to wield a razor blade and scrape your face has man written all over it. Don’t make fun of him if he has one whisker. Remember that this is a big moment for him so affirm it.
8. Driving a Car
Give him some freedom. Keep it positive, encouraging, and filled with your confidence.
This is a natural rite of passage. Make a speech, even if it is just to the family. A public declaration of his accomplishment and his strengths as a young man is in order.
10. Dorm Room Drop Off
He’s off and it went faster than you thought. You’ve done your job. All the untaught things might flood to your mind. Don’t feel the need to cram it all in. Affirm him once again with praise and belief.
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are you looking forward to most about becoming an adult?”