A long time ago, when my first daughter was born, I felt convicted to be an active presence in her life as we raised her. But in the years following I have also had four sons and have realized, even more so, the great importance of my involvement in their lives as they grow.
It’s not that I believe that an active role in my daughter’s life is less important, in comparison to raising boys, because it’s not. I don’t think I have to convince anyone of this. A father’s positive role in his daughter’s life has lasting effects and helps to shape her into a healthy, balanced young woman as she grows. But the same is true for boys.
I was driving with my family last week, when my wife read this quote to me from Facebook:
“Boys will be boys until someone teaches them to be more.”
We both agreed. My wife, who spent many years serving with inner city non-profits, saw the devastation first hand as a result of motherless, fatherless, or altogether parentless homes. A lack of a steady and healthy role model.
The longer I drove, the deeper I thought about that quote, especially as it relates to my boys. My sons are active, rowdy, adventurous, imaginative, full of life, getting a kick out of the potty talk they learn at school, and always willing to test the limits. It’s in their nature as boys. At times, it seems the ends of their fingers can transform into little razor sharp blades that destroy anything they touch! Sometimes I feel as though my role as a parent closely resembles that of an insurance adjuster after a tornado has devastated a town.
Each new day of their lives they are growing up … becoming older, wiser, and even more adventurous than the day before. It’s caused me to side-eye glance at the clock more often. I’m taking note of how fast time moves and how little of it I have with them. I find myself convicted and in-tuned to how critical it is to teach them to be people of integrity, honesty, and good character — who carry solid moral compasses. But, teaching this is not enough. I personally have to be this to them.
It’s a striking truth that as the leader of the house goes, so goes the son (or sons). The pressure is on us as parents to model what we hope our sons will grow up to understand. All you have to do is look at the current issues among homes in this country where one, or both parents, are missing or uninvolved:
- Drug abuse
- Jail time
- Pornography addiction
- Multiple arrests
The list goes on and on. Much of this list is a direct result of the absence of a leader figure or a role model, or a parent who is distant. Ladies and gentlemen, the way we choose to live our lives, handle ourselves, and lead our families, will play out in our sons’ lives. The choices we make as human beings will funnel directly into the choices our sons make. If you’re anything like me, this scares you!
We can attempt to teach our sons to be more, but if we are not more ourselves, it’s meaningless. We have to be the very human being we are teaching our sons to be.
What we model as parents, will be lived out by our sons.
If we put work before our families, there is a great chance our sons will grow up to do the same someday. If we mistreat our spouses or our daughters, our sons will grow up with a lower respect of woman, even with their future wives or daughters. It’s so critical that we model integrity, character, respect, and sound moral values in front of our sons.
They are watching us, studying us, and taking life cues from us. Do you realize this? There is rarely a day that goes by where I do not glance over to my sons and see them studying me. This is exponentially greater when I am dealing with a conflict or trying to solve a problem. They are watching me to see how I handle tough situations, deal with conflict, or work through stress.
And they are studying the way I treat their mother and their sisters!
We need to lead our sons today, in anticipation for tomorrow. We must parent now with the understanding that someday they will become men. They will grow up, maybe get married, and quite possibly start a family. How will we want them to lead tomorrow?
My sons are 7, 8, 9, and 12. They are still children. But it’s critical that I am leading them in a way that shapes their future. When they become teenagers and young adults, I want them to live with character and integrity as well as in the future when they are full-grown men.
I love having sons. If you’re parenting boys, I bet you love many aspects of it too. But, the pressure is on. We must be diligent in leading our sons right. Yes, boys will be boys. They will be rowdy and maybe even act out at times. But, they’ll do this only until we teach them to be something more!