Here are some things I’ve learned raising boys.
People ask me all the time for advice on raising girls, and honestly, I’ve got some, but they all involve a shotgun and long ankle-length dresses, so you probably don’t want that. Seriously, I always wanted a girl, but I think God knew what He was doing by giving me boys. (Imagine that!) I’m afraid I’d be way over-protective of a girl.
Anyway, one thing I’ve experienced being the parent of boys is that boys are desperate for wisdom, but they are often either timid about asking for it or maybe they just never think to do so. (Someone told me guys seldom ask for directions either, but I’m having a hard time believing that one. )
I’m incredibly close to my two boys…ask anyone…but even still, I’ve observed there is something in them that wants to appear not to need the help at times. Something in a guy resists the need for help, even when they need the help. I wanted the type relationship with my sons where they would always feel welcome and ready to learn from my experience. I’m blessed to say both my boys call me weekly, if not sometimes daily, asking for help making life decisions.
How do you get your sons to want to come to you for wisdom, long after they leave home?
Here was my plan:
Do activities they want to do – I spent lots of time with my boys, but I did that by assuming their interests. If it was baseball or wrestling, I loved and lived what they loved. I know dads who try to get their boys to love fishing or golf because they love fishing or golf. I simply chose my interests around theirs.
Stay close – Boys are growing to become men. They want to be independent. Some days they won’t want you around as much as others. (That may sound appealing for a moment when they are colicky as infants, but believe me you will miss them.) I tried to stay close enough that I was there when they were ready for me. Ephesians 6 says not to exasperate the children. I simply tried not to get in the way, but to always be available when needed. I found I was “needed” more often that way.
Be attentive – Like all men I always had plenty I could be doing. I tried to let the boy’s time be the boy’s time. Children know when you’re not really being attentive. There were times my boys told me I needed to put my phone down. I listened. I wanted them to feel I was listening to what mattered to them.
Offer wisdom more than solutions – I wrote about that in THIS POST, but I tried to help my boys form a paradigm for finding an answer, rather than give them the answer. This way they were able to be independent young men, who wanted to find their own way, but yet they had access to the wisdom of experience.
Love their friends – My boys knew their friends were always welcome in our house. They knew I’d fix them lots of pancakes on Saturday morning. They knew we stocked our fridge with every drink their friends might like, just in case our house was the hangout house for the night. They knew the door was always wide open for anyone they brought through them. We didn’t always approve of their choices in friends, but we talked them through it and tried to steer them towards better friends, but never turned away their choice of friends.
There are probably other suggestions I could share, but if you are raising boys, you probably need to go break up a fight or stop them from jumping off something. We can talk more later.
What suggestions do you have for raising boys?