4 Ways Parents Can Raise Up Sons to Be Godly Men
- Jason Cruise Author of In The Thick Of It
- 2018 26 Sep
When my wife and I had our first son, I was determined that he enter manhood better prepared for it than I was when I took off on my own. I didn’t really know how I’d go about it, but I was determined to craft something—anything—that would give me some measure of a plan.
I do not want my sons to enter into manhood unprepared. So I must sow, before my sons can reap. Make sure you didn’t miss that: I must sow, before my sons can reap.
If I don’t lay down the plan, if I am not the chief architect laying out what manhood looks like, then I can rest assured that the world will draft a plan for my sons and install it well within them.
1. Pour a Foundation of Approval
From the very beginning, I wanted to pour a foundation that was solid in each of my sons, and I felt that making sure they had my approval was a great place to begin.
Even though they were small in stature and just beginning life, I wanted each of my sons to hear and to feel my approval of them: “I’m for you. I’m on your side. I’m with you. I’m in favor of you.” You get the point.
From the outset, I wanted each of my sons to know that he met and exceeded any expectation I ever had. He was my son, and I was proud of him.
The apostle Peter wrote, “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Peter, this headstrong leader, came back to the foundation of what Jesus said was most important: loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36–40). Peter obvi- ously remembered that love is the foundation of a godly life. He reminded Christ followers that no matter how much they may revile the pagan ways of the culture they live in, they must never forget that love must, love has to, undergird all they do.
Love does truly cover a multitude of sins.
Love also covers a multitude of mistakes! From the beginning, I knew I’d make mistakes as a dad. I knew that I would, because a man is going to get things wrong time and again. How- ever, I also knew this: if my sons knew that through it all I was for them, that I loved them, and that I approved of them, they would remember my approval forever. So approval had to be at the foundation of my plan.
Love that is real is love that is spoken.
Oh, my friend, how I hope you never, ever forget that.
2. Establish the Pursuit of Honor
Establishing the pursuit of honor was on my heart from the very beginning as well.
Quite often my wife and I hear compliments from teachers or our friends that go something like, “Your boys have such great manners.” Hearing that warms my heart. Nothing means more to parents than to know their kids are doing well navigating society. Yet I always find a way to include a little insight when receiving the compliment, because I believe it’s a testament to biblical manhood. My response is usually something like this: “Thank you so much. That means more to me than you know. I actually believe it’s more than just being polite to you; I believe it’s about honor. I want my sons to honor people, and that starts with honoring adults. Thank you for noticing.”
It warms my heart when a boy, not just my boys but any boy, says, “Yes, sir,” when talking to me. On the other hand, it breaks my heart to hear a boy say that with a broken spirit because he’s been forced to say it.
I can hear his daddy say harshly, “Don’t you say, ‘yes,’ to me, boy. You say, ‘yes sir.’ ” That’s forced. And honor cannot be forced. Honor must come from a desire to treat people with the honor they deserve as a soul created by God Himself. And that, friend, is far, far from good manners.
3. Capture Coachable Moments
I try not to be lazy when coachable moments occur with my boys. It’s not always easy, because sometimes I’m tired or just don’t feel like coaching. However, I can think of few tools I’ve employed that have done more for my sons than coachable moments.
What I discovered about myself, and about most men, is that we assume too much. We assume that our sons are being taught good things in school. We assume that they know how to shake a hand. We assume that they know what a cutoff man is when playing baseball.
Yet if you step back and think about it, maybe your son was never taught what a cutoff man does when a ball is hit to the out- field. Your son has seen you shake hands, but he has never been told why it matters.
Refuse to parent by assumption.
When life hands you a moment, seize it. It won’t take long— just a ninety-second conversation. And that ninety-second conversation will strengthen the foundation of your son’s biblical manhood for years. So every time a coachable moment pops up, think of it as adding rebar to his mind and soul.
4. Personality Hardwiring: America’s Biggest Problem with Career Paths
America has a massive problem with preparing teenagers for career paths. Truthfully, I’ve not seen much change in my life- time in this arena, and yet we have more resources than ever before in terms of coming alongside teens to steer them toward fulfilling careers.
One of my main goals in raising [my sons] is that they attend their high school graduation with a thorough understanding of how God made them, where they are gifted, and where they are weak.
Americans are obsessed with being balanced. Balance is a myth. Balance isn’t even biblical.
God did not create us as equals in terms of talent. And when [my wife] and I had children, I was determined to make sure that my sons knew who they were—and who they were not. They are created differently, and they are hardwired differently. Therefore I dare not parent them with the same template.
This adapted excerpt was taken from In the Thick of It by Jason Cruise with permission from Barbour Publishing.
Jason Cruise is a nationally known speaker, published author in the world of men’s ministry, and former host of Spring Chronicles with the Sportsman Channel. His fingerprints are on many of the resources in publication today that engage outdoorsmen to discover strategies that connect a love for hunting with their love for God. He is the senior pastor of ClearView Baptist Church in Franklin, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife, Michelle, and their two boys, Cole and Tucker.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Augustin de Montesquiou