People ask me all the time for advice on raising girls, and honestly, I’ve got some, but they all involve a shotgun and long ankle-length dresses, so you probably don’t want that. Just kidding. I always wanted a daughter, but God gave me boys.
And I think He knew what He was doing. Imagine that!
I’ve learned a few things about ministering to men—and understanding myself more—by raising boys. One thing I’ve learned is that boys are desperate for wisdom. They crave it. They want someone to speak into their life—save them from making the wrong decision.
But, equally true, they are often either too timid to ask for it or they just never know to do so.
(Someone told me guys seldom ask for directions either, but I’m having a hard time believing that one!)
I’m close to my two adult boys. We’ve walked through a lot of life together—mine and theirs. They are on their own, have good careers and live healthy, productive lives. They love other people with grace. Best of all, they both love and pursue Jesus actively. I couldn’t be more proud as a dad.
Gratefully, and the subject of this post, they still call me for the major decisions they make in life.
I didn’t have a great relationship with my dad when I was their age. I wanted the type of relationship with my sons where they would always feel welcome and ready to learn from my experience. I’m blessed to say both my boys call me often, sometimes daily in certain seasons of their life. They want my help making life decisions. I can only credit God’s grace with that blessing.
Even still, I’ve observed there is something in them that wants to appear not to need the help at times. Something in a guy resists the need for help—even when we desperately need the help.
How do you get your sons to want to come to you for wisdom, long after they leave home?
I get asked that a lot. I have a few thoughts.
Here are seven suggestions for raising boys:
Do activities they want to do—I spent lots of time with my boys, but I did that by assuming their interests. If it was baseball or wrestling, I loved and lived what they loved. I know dads who try to get their boys to love fishing or golf because they love fishing or golf. I simply chose my interests around theirs.
Stay close—Boys grow to become men. That sounds simple, but it’s huge to remember. They want to be independent. Some days they don’t want you around as much as others. (That may sound appealing for a moment when they are colicky as infants, but believe me, you will miss them.) I tried to stay close enough that I was there when they were ready for me. Ephesians 6 says not to exasperate the children. I simply tried not to get in the way of their growth pattern, but to always be available when needed. I found I was “needed” more often that way. And the funny thing, it almost seemed like they tested whether I was going to be there when they called.