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.
(images courtesy of -Marcus-, Naypong, photostock, Ambro, stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net)
Great post, my friend! When my kids were babies I feared those teens years, but they were great! Sure, we had our moments of having to set them down and talk with them about attitudes, etc. We expected them to continue to be responsible for their words and behavior and not try and excuse it with “I’m a teenager and I’m supposed to act this way.”
We never had the teenage rebellion that you hear so much about. My friend used to joke that our oldest son’s teenage rebellion was leaving a few clothes lying around (he was always my immaculate child, lol!). Thanks for hosting today.
That was a great post on preparing your boys for manhood. Thanks for the linkup party, Kate!!
Kate…Loved your post on raising godly men. You do have to be intentional as well as trust the Lord to move their hearts to seek Biblical wisdom during those teen years. I think its in the teen years we really understand what it means to shepherd our children. Thank you for the encouragement my friend and the link up. Have a blessed week.
Wise words, Kate. Though it can be hard work at times, we’ve mostly enjoyed the teen years, with our young ladies as well as our young men. It makes me sad to hear all the negative talk about ‘teens’ these days, and how parents so easily tear down their children with their words. Thanks for these tips in handling these precious and fragile years.