Tuesday, July 29, 2008

At The Well - Raising Godly Boys

The featured speaker "At The Well" this week is Lori at All You Have To Give. She says in regard to raising boys:

"The fact is that I'm raising someone's husband."

I think this is the one thing young mothers must keep paramount in their minds as they nurture and rear their little ones. You are not raising children, you are raising adults. They are not what they will be, and you have a lot to do with how their marriages and relationships with their children may turn out.
  • Do they disrespect you? They will disrespect their spouses.
  • Do they throw temper tantrums? Lord, help their spouses when things don't go their way.
  • Do your daughters ignore your directives? Their husbands will have you to blame when they can't do anything with them.
  • Do you allow them to be lazy and not help around the house? Guess who will have to do everything while they sit and watch television.
  • Are you a little too lavish with your gifts? They will expect too much from their spouses, especially if they wish to live on one income in order to rear their own children.

She also asks some pointed questions:

How do I raise a boy who seeks his worth in Christ?

A boy will not seek his worth in Christ until he knows Christ for himself. Therefore, regular instruction from the Word of God regarding the need of reconciliation with his Creator through the loving sacrifice of His Son is essential. Until they know Him personally, they will ever be seeking their own worth outside of Christ in any number of worldly achievements. His parents' examples in this will make the most impact on how he views God and, consequently, himself.

How do I raise a boy who does not objectify women?

Training in respect for women begins very early, primarily with how fathers view and interact with women, both in the family and outside the home. They must be taught from an early age
that the body is sacred and should not be viewed or handled outside the covenant of marriage.

Here are a few things I've done over the years which I believe may have helped bring this home to our sons:
  • We turn off the television or movie when there is a scantily-clad woman.
  • I used to rip out magazine pages with objectionable ads, but finally had to stop purchasing them because there were so many!
  • I drew "skirts" on women in the magazines I needed to keep and also throughout an exercise handbook I needed to use with some equipment I had purchased.
  • We send our sons out to the car when we go through the check-out line at the grocery store explaining that the magazine covers are inappropriate.
  • The women in our family are modest even at home.
  • When a teenage couple is handling one another or kissing before marriage, we always pointed out to the children that it is wrong for people to act like they are married when they aren't.
Pray that the Lord will bring those teachable moments to your attention and don't be afraid or timid about speaking a word in due season -- "when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when liest down, and when thou risest up." (Deuteronomy 11:19)

How do I raise a boy who respects all life forms?

Nipping violence in the bud is crucial in teaching respect for life. We never allowed our children to slap us even in play. They were not allowed to inflict pain on their siblings either. Cruelty to animals was never tolerated. Even when children hunt, they must learn to only take what they can use.
How do I raise a boy who does not conform to this "world," yet seeks out God's will for his life? How do I raise a man of world changing

Both of these questions are mostly answered in the first question. However, I might add that parents who are interested in world missions, read biographies of missionaries to the children from a child, participate in actively sharing the Gospel with others in their own sphere of influence, and are active in the local church will inevitably pass on that kind of faith to their converted children.

If you are raising boys, what areas concern you most?

Their relationship to women is the one thing I am most concerned about. The women of our day are so brash and forward. It is nothing for them to flirt with and openly seduce a man, married or otherwise. My cousin even confided to me that an older, married neighbor woman had seduced him when he was still in high school! The prevalence of pornography, the pornographic nature of advertising in public places, on television, and the Web are all cause for great concern. Many professing Christian women have no scruples when it comes to modest dressing, let alone the ones in the public sector. If it's not cleavage, it's thighs, and vice versa. How any man can keep a clean heart and mind in the world we live in today is beyond me. We must pray for the Lord will give them special grace in this area, and not be afraid to discuss it with them when it's appropriate.

If you are raising girls, what is your prayer for the "boys" in her life?

My prayer for the "boys" in my daughter's life is that the Lord will raise up an army of truly converted, godly men, and one man in particular, our future son-in-law. He had better be a very, very special young man, because she is a very, very special young woman.

This is the prayer I have prayed for our children since before they were born:

"Oh, Lord, I pray that every child conceived in our union would be a child for your kingdom. Once they are converted, I pray You would make them a godly man/woman. I pray they would seek and find a godly mate which you have prepared for him/her, and that You would seek a godly seed among them (Malachi 2:15). In the name of Christ Jesus, my Lord, Amen."

So far, three of our four children have made sound confessions of faith, and one is seeking a godly mate as I write this. I'll have to update you as this prayer is answered.

My book suggestions for rearing boys:

To Train Up a Child
by Michael Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries

Shepherding a Child's Heart
by Tedd Tripp

The Heart of Anger
by Lou Priolo, John Mac Arthur, and Jay E. Adams

Hints on Child Training
by H. Clay Trumbull
(great-grandfather of Elizabeth Elliot)

Resources by S.M. Davis
and just about anything else from Vision Forum.