I was not given a manual on raising boys. My manual for the most part has come from the fact that I was once a boy. I realize now that some of the stuff my dad used to tell me is so true. In addition to my 20/20 hindsight vision, I also learn from other dads who have raised boys or shared their insight. Two books I picked up have given me some great insight and encouraging tips for raising boys.
The Resolution for Men by Steven and Alex Kendrick is a masterpiece on manhood and has some great tips on fatherhood. Dr. Clarence Shuler has also written a great book, What All Dads Should Know, and dedicates an entire chapter to raising a son. Here are 12 great takeaways from both.
1. Be present.
A father’s presence in his son’s life is invaluable. Not just physically but emotionally, spiritually, and mentally as well. Be present in your son’s life.
2. Practice what you preach.
Dr. Shuler says that one of the most important things his dad instilled in him was to “not be a hypocrite.” If you say it, then do it.
3. Never stop teaching, just change how it’s done.
Even as an adult, we can learn from our fathers and our kids can learn from us.Even as an adult, we can learn from our fathers and our kids can learn from us. The method of teaching may change at certain ages, but we should always be instilling life lessons.
4. Treat your wife, mother, and other women well.
Your son will grow up to have relationships with women and, hopefully, get married one day. His friends and the media will portray one way to treat them, but he’ll learn the most from watching you.
5. Pray with him.
Watching you pray, and praying with you, will help him to feel comfortable praying and show him the privilege, and power, that comes from prayer.
6. Give him opportunities to contribute.
One of the greatest things Dr. Shuler experienced was “helping” his dad in his shop. Fulfilling that role built his self-confidence and self-esteem as a boy which carried into manhood.
7. Show him your faith.
Much like prayer, seeing his father’s faith in action will let him know it is okay. Men can pray, men can attend church, and men can participate in ministry.
8. Be honest with him.
You probably made a lot of mistakes, just like I did. However, your kids see a different person than you were growing up. Be honest and let them know you did make mistakes, but you learned from them. Now you are teaching them so they can keep from making the same mistakes.
9. Work hard and show them how to work hard.
Another big point that Dr. Shuler made was how his dad worked hard and showed him to work hard as well. Without hard work, not much can be accomplished in life. Instill this value in your son.
10. Encourage, not discourage, his dreams.
Our kids have dreams, and some are outlandish. No matter how outlandish they are, support and encourage them. Your encouragement can be the thing your son depends upon when the road to reaching his dreams gets hard.
11. Affirm him.
Does your son hear you tell him what you think about him? Congratulate him, tell him you are proud, make sure he knows you are pleased with him.
12. Be affectionate.
Some view affection between a dad and son as off limits. The Kendrick brothers believe it should not be. Hug him, kiss him, high-five him, and fist bump him. Show him and tell him how much you love him.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What does your dream life look like when you become an adult?”