How to Create a Home that Builds Godly Men
- 2017 8 Dec
A foundation is important, especially in a turbulent world. Your son needs a stable launching pad—which comes through a strong and sturdy home life. The goal is not to discourage you with some impossible standard, but to motivate you to do what you can to shore up your son’s home experiences so that his overall childhood experience will motivate him to become a productive, influential man for Christ.
The Primacy of Your Marriage
The first human relationship to be created was between a husband and a wife. God did not create the parent-child relationship and then add a spouse to round out the household relationships. The marriage relationship was designed to be primary. The language in Genesis 2:24, along with the rest of what the Bible teaches on marriage, makes clear that the “holding fast” to one’s spouse is a kind of connection that is to be valued as the supreme earthly relationship in the family. The relational bond God designed for marriage then, we could say, was first in time, first in duration, and first in priority.
Speak Highly of Marriage to Your Boys
One way to show respect for marriage is to be done with all those jokes about our boys not dating until they are thirty. This is particularly in vogue for Christian parents of girls. It is sure to get a laugh, but consider the cost. The anti-dating, anti-marriage rhetoric that is built into so much of the Christian culture’s thinking certainly contributes to our church kids reflecting the sad anti-marriage statistics of the rest of the world.
Not only is our culture giving up on marriage in droves, but those who still choose to engage in this sacred covenant relationship are putting it off way past what is verifiably healthy for their future children. Marriage is entered into later in life now than it has ever been before, and the age for getting married the first time is fast approaching thirty. It’s tragic how the fulfillment of the wish for our boy to put off marriage quickly turns to desperate prayers for our grown offspring to find a wife and start a family. Yikes!
Remind Your Boys Your Spouse Comes First
Make sure your boys know that your spouse is your first priority. This doesn’t seem like a good idea if you wanted to affirm and encourage someone were it any other relationship, but in your parenting relationship it is exactly what your boy needs to hear. If you want to provide the kind of security and reassurance that every child inherently needs, then it is time to see the wisdom of telling him emphatically that he is not your number one priority.
Because God designed marriage to be first in time, first in duration, and first in priority, when your son is in a household that adheres to God’s design, he will flourish! Your boy is strengthened and prepared for his future when you demonstrate not only with your words, but also by your daily decisions.
When this is flip-flopped, or affirmed only in our words and not with our lives, we will create the bane of the modern family—namely, the child-centered home. Entitled, self-indulgent, bratty, self-absorbed sons are cultivated in a home where they are convinced they are the number one priority. We can witness the effects of this in every nook and cranny of our society. Walk into a supermarket, a hotel lobby, a shopping mall, or sadly, many church lobbies and you will witness kids who rule, and big people who seem to be tagging along for the ride. All these children are missing is a golden crown affixed to their brow. They are the unrivaled sovereigns of their domestic domain and they know it.
Invest in Your Marriage
A marriage that becomes the bedrock of your son’s enriching childhood will certainly require a regular investment of your time and resources. One of the staples of a husband and wife investing in the marriage is the simple and consistent practice of a date night. There isn’t a particular chapter or verse in the Bible that mandates it, but it is hard to imagine that a marriage in our busy world can be a prioritized and valued relationship if there are not regular times on the calendar set aside and guarded for one’s spouse.
Of course there is a lot more that could be said about your investment in your marriage. If you are clueless as to how this can be done, pick up a good book on Christian marriage, or simply be bold enough to sincerely ask your spouse, “What can I do to make you a greater priority in my life?” And when you get the answers, be sure to put those things into practice in a way that reverberates throughout your home.
When the Home is Broken
Up to this point I have addressed the issues concerning your boy’s domestic launching pad as though it is intact. If so, praise the Lord! But if, like so many homes these days, yours has been fractured by divorce, and the application of these principles seems a greater challenge because of shared custody and visitation schedules, remarriage, and perhaps blended families, then read on.
The bottom line is this: do what you can. When it comes to putting these things into practice, do what is possible. If you are parenting without a male role model in the home, then you’ll have to enlist the help and influence of a godly male Sunday school teacher or youth group leader, a Little League coach, grandfather, or uncle. You may feel like you are raising your boy with one hand tied behind your back. That may be an apt analogy for the reality of what you are up against, but pray and work to become proficient and as skilled as possible with that admitted disadvantage.
Throughout the process, be sure to avoid two critical and common mistakes. First, put away your anger. It is easy to brood and stew that your domestic life is far more challenging than that of the family across the street. It may be, but your anger doesn’t help (James 1:20). Stop agonizing about the advantages you don’t have, and purpose to pursue the will of God in your present situation. You can’t change the past, but God has promised to walk with you into the future. That leads to the second common mistake.
Don’t lose heart. Perhaps you read that last paragraph with a clear conscience. You’re not mad, but instead you’re glum. Realize that doesn’t help either. Worse than unhelpful, this attitude will keep you from optimistically pursuing God’s best for your son. Remember you are not totally alone; your Partner in this man-raising endeavor is God Himself! Be biblically optimistic about what God can do in the underdog situations. Let us confess with the apostle Paul: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Photo credit: Mike Fabarez
Dr. Mike Fabarez is the founding pastor of Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo, California. He is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Talbot School of Theology, and Westminster Theological Seminary in California.
Mike is heard on hundreds of stations on the Focal Point radio program and has authored several books, including Lifelines for Tough Times, Preaching That Changes Lives, and Bible Survey for Kids. Mike and his wife Carlynn have three children. Find him on his website, Twitter, and Facebook.
Taken from: Raising Men Not Boys. Copyright © 2017 by Mike Fabarez. Published by Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois. www.moodypublishers.com Used by Permission.