Teach your son perseverance. Perseverance encompasses qualities such as persistence and tenacity, which help a person overcome challenges and accomplish goals. Former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln’s life is an inspiring example of perseverance in action. Teach your son perseverance by showing him what it looks like to work hard, not allowing him to quit too easily once he has undertaken a pursuit, allowing him to suffer the natural consequences of his mistakes, and holding him accountable for the choices he makes.

Teach your son toughness and resiliency. A tough, resilient person is hardy enough to meet the mental, emotional, and physical challenges of life head-on while trusting God to help him every step of the way. A public figure whose life exemplified toughness and resiliency was U.S. explorer Jedediah Smith. Teach your son to be tough and resilient by letting him experience suffering without rescuing him from it except in emergencies, encouraging him to set high goals and attempt difficult endeavors, and giving him opportunities to compete with others as he develops and uses his skills.

Teach your son common sense and wisdom. Common sense and wisdom encompass the ability to accurately perceive and understand reality, and the choice to seek God’s guidance for making the best decisions. U.S. statesman, author, and inventor Benjamin Franklin lived a life of extraordinary common sense and wisdom. Teach your son common sense and wisdom by encouraging him to seek God’s guidance in prayer, mentoring him, giving him challenges to accomplish, letting him learn from his mistakes, and celebrating his success with rituals.

Teach your son vision. Vision involves wise foresight into the future. A public figure who put vision into action well was former U.S. president Thomas Jefferson. Teach your son vision by explaining how you make long-term decisions and helping him anticipate likely outcomes of his own long-term decisions.

Teach your son intellect. A person of strong intellect is able to think things through well, to come to correct conclusions about what’s true or real, to increase knowledge and understanding, and to solve problems. Famous Italian artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci exemplified intellect well. Teach your son intellect by: teaching him critical thinking skills, urging him to read a lot, giving him opportunities to discuss and debate issues, and encouraging him to be a lifelong learner.

Teach your son compassion and empathy. Compassion and empathy involve being sensitive to other people’s suffering and taking caring action to help them. English orphanage director and evangelist George Muller is a famous example of someone who lived with extraordinary compassion and empathy. Teach your son compassion and empathy by giving him opportunities to serve people in need, and to care for pets.

Teach your son to be a warrior-poet. A warrior-poet is a person who works to keep both his mind and body in optimal health. A famous example is David, the biblical king. Teach your son to become a warrior-poet by balancing his mental development (such as music lessons) with his physical development (like sports).

*Adapted from A Man in the Making: Strategies to Help Your Son Succeed in Life,copyright 2013 by Rick Johnson. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich.     

Rick Johnson is a best-selling author of That’s My Son; That’s My Teenage Son; That’s My Girl; Better Dads, Stronger Sons; and Becoming Your Spouse’s Better Half. He is the founder of Better Dads and is a sought-after speaker at many large parenting and marriage conferences across the United States and Canada. Rick, his wife Suzanne, and their grown children live in Oregon. Visit his website.

Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years, is author of the new Christian novel Dream Factory, which is set during Hollywood's golden age. Visit her website

*This article published 9/15/2013