In one of my very first link-ups, I posted on helping our sons grow into manhood. Well 19 months later, it is STILL deeply on my heart with my 3 youngest sons in the teen years. So I’m re-posting it today in the hopes that it will encourage others.
When our older children were in their pre-teen/teen years, it seemed easier to help them grow into adulthood. I think part of it was they had to take responsibility for the younger ones in many ways and that helped to develop their character. As our younger children are now in that phase of life that is gearing toward adulthood, we find that we are having to be much more pro-active in this area.
Our youngest 3 children are boys and we want to help them grow into godly manhood. The question is, what in the world does that really mean?
Many years ago my husband was working through some studies in the Word on work. At that time there was very little written to men on work being their way of glorifying God. There was a lot about how to witness in the work place, but nothing on work actually being part of God’s plan for their lives to minister to others and honor God. In the course of those times in the Word, Kevin came away with this nugget.
The essence of manhood is to embrace responsibility.
In childhood we worked on obedience, and that we defined as:
- obeying immediately
- obeying completely
- obeying cheerfully
In adulthood we felt that the things that characterized embracing responsibility were:
- initiative (doing work without being told to do it)
- excellence (working to the best of your ability and not doing a haphazard job – but NOT perfectionism either)
- not pointing fingers (not looking to what others were or were not doing, but doing your job faithfully no matter what others did or didn’t do)
We are focusing our training differently now than when they were young. We are focusing on who God is growing them to be as men making a claim to Godliness. We are not trying to preach at them but to give room for the Spirit to work in their hearts. When they make bad choices (and they will) we are teaching them what is appropriate to make a bad choice right.
With hormones raging in this phase of life, we try to give some slack. Not for speaking to US with lip, but for giving them space and options to voice their frustrations in appropriate ways. Also we try not to fence them in so that they feel the frustration mounting in their hearts, urging them to act out. Sure, they have the choice to behave well or not, but those crazy hormones sure do push the flesh far and fast at times. We work hard NOT to place our vulnerable teens in a place where they are more likely to sin with their mouths or actions when a different choice on our parts can cool things down just as quickly as they heat up. We give them space while still requiring respect.
As we work on these areas, we are all growing and learning. This involves lots of discussion, often lots of confession, lots of forgiveness and lots of love. On ALL our parts.
We have loved the teen years with our older children. We anticipate loving the teen years with our younger ones as well. We are just changing some of our intentional training to help our sons jump into the goal of embracing responsibility of manhood. I’m excited what I see growing in their hearts thus far and am excited to see the Lord continue to work in them (and me) as the years stretch on.