How to Help Your Son Succeed in Life
- Monday, September 16, 2013
The current lack of healthy role models in our culture can be discouraging when you consider the influences your son has growing up. But with God’s help, you can help your son successfully grow from a boy into the man God wants him to become. Intentionally working with God to develop great character and faith in your son’s life is the key to his success. Here are some key lessons you can teach your son to help him succeed in life:
Teach your son courage. Courage encompasses both moral bravery (the ability to the do what’s right even when faced with popular opposition, discouragement, or shame) and physical bravery (boldly taking risks in the face of pain, hardship, or threats). A public figure whose life exemplified courage was pastor and social activist Martin Luther King Jr. Teach your son courage by: teaching him to embrace challenges and take risks, letting him fail when he makes mistakes and helping him learn from failure, celebrating with him when he succeeds and helping him develop more confidence, and modeling courage in your own your life so you your son can see what courage looks like in action in various situations.
Teach your son honor and nobility. Honor involves being honest and fair, as well as having integrity. An honest person’s beliefs and actions work together, so he acts according to his beliefs. Nobility is a part of honor and refers to a morally excellent character. The life of U.S. Civil War general Robert E. Lee was a strong example of honor and nobility in action. Teach your son honor and nobility by: teaching your son your core values and why you believe them to be important, developing an honor code for your family, setting high expectations for him and encouraging him to attempt great things, helping him surround himself with friends who are trustworthy, volunteer with your son to fight a specific type of social injustice that you both sense God calling you to work on as a family, and teaching him good manners and chivalry.
Teach your son duty. A dutiful person commits himself to a cause even when doing so requires ignoring his own interests, so that he can keep a moral commitment to someone or something. A public figure who lived an extraordinary life of duty was former U.S. president George Washington. Teach your son duty by: telling him that some causes are more important than an individual’s own interests, helping him discover how God wants to use his life to contribute to the world’s greater good, requiring him to do some tasks (like household chores and school homework) whether or not he wants to do so, modeling the importance of investing in dutiful relationships with family members, and making him wait to fulfill some of his desires so he learns the value of delayed gratification (such as saving up the necessary cash for a special purchase rather than buying it on credit).
Teach your son integrity and loyalty. Integrity involves the adherence to moral and ethical principles (such as honesty), while loyalty involves being faithful to commitments made to someone or something. Former college basketball coach John Wooden was one public figure who lived a life of remarkable integrity and loyalty. Teach your son integrity and loyalty by modeling both traits in your own life, such as by making sure that your actions match your words and that you avoid speaking negatively about people behind their backs. It’s also important to teach your son critical thinking skills so he can learn how to determine what’s truth and what’s false in various situations, and the importance of following the guidance of biblical principles rather than his emotions when making decisions.
Teach your son self-discipline. A self-disciplined person trains and manages his feelings and behavior, so that he can develop traits such as willpower, restraint, hard work, self-control, and persistence. A famous example of someone who lived a life marked by self-discipline was former U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt. Teach your son self-discipline by holding him accountable for his choices, enforcing family rules, helping him learn how to manage his time and control his emotions, and giving him opportunities to contribute to your family’s household by doing chores on a regular basis.
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