10 Things I’d Do If I Were Raising a Son Today

boy and father

I previously posted 10 Things I’d Do If Raising a Daughter Today. In this post, I will focus on the boys.

I know a little more about this subject, having two incredible sons of my own. But, we always look at life differently from the other side of it. My boys are grown. I’m still parenting, but in a completely different way. Mine now is one of influence. Thankfully, both boys still come to me for that influence. There is no greater joy than seeing boys become God-honoring young men. I’m thankful to have a front row seat with my sons.

But, even with the incredible young men I know as sons, there are things I would do differently if I had that part of life to do over again. I know boys become men. And, every man I know, whether or not he admits it, struggles at some level with confidence. He struggles to know he is enough, that he can do what God calls him to do. Every man is desperate for someone to believe in him.

And, sadly, we are living in the age where the absentee father is the normal. It once was the exception. (That’s the subject of another post, but it’s plaguing our society. Check any statistics.)

I was mindful of these truths when my boys were young, but I’m older now. The seasons of my life have taught me so much more.

So, I would be even more intentional today…if I were raising sons.

Here are 10 things I’d do if raising sons today:

I would tell him daily that I love him and I’m proud of who he is and the individual God created him to be.

I would show him I believe in him, by learning to enjoy and value the activities important to him.

I would discipline myself to be available when he needs me. Not only when it’s convenient or doesn’t interfere with my work or my hobbies, and assure him that I will never leave him or reject him.

I would strive to live a life that’s respectable, God-honoring, so he could model after me, and likewise be respected, knowing this will be his greatest need.

I would show him how to love a woman, by valuing and treating my wife as a treasured gift from God.

I would help him build confidence by giving him ample opportunities to explore, to dream, to be adventuresome, allowing him to fail under my watch, so I could encourage him to start again, explaining to him that the only way he will be a failure is if he doesn’t get back up from a fall.

I would lead him on paths of discovery, trying lots of new things, helping him find his place in the world, with the awesome reality that the only limits on him will be the ones he sets for himself.

I would let him know the boundaries of the house, knowing he would test them, so he could learn that even in freedom there are consequences for misbehaving and sin.

I would teach and model for him that the real value of a man is not in the sum total or his possessions, but in the sum total of knowing God intimately and knowing that those who know him best are honoring him most.

I would at times let him see me afraid, even let him see my cry, to show him that man can be courageous and still vulnerable, but then let him see me following even closer after God as my source of strength.

IfI were raising a son today…

Are you raising a son? Tell me about him.

Final note on these two posts, one for raising daughters and this for raising sons. They are somewhat interchangeable. Some of each list could apply to raising boys or girls. They are aspirations. There are no perfect parents. I have observed, however, that there are parents more intentional than others. There are parents who parent with the sober reality that we have precious little time to mold children who will be adults longer than they are children. Parents who know it takes time, energy, consistency and intentionality to parent well. Mostly knowing it takes the grace of God to be a great parent. As I finish this post I’m praying for parents who will read this…and for those who won’t.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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23 thoughts on “10 Things I’d Do If I Were Raising a Son Today

  1. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you might be a great author.I will
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  2. That’s one of these strongest document i examine, want to show you of which remember to carry on your own have difficulty and great internet site, I want to express your notions in order to my own good friends. appreciate it.

  3. I was teary when i read it, and see more teary people when I shared it with my small group. Thanks a lot Ron.

  4. The following prayer was written by General Douglas MacArthur –

    Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

    Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee….Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

    Build me a son whose heart will be clean, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

    And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

    Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”

  5. Love this list Ron and agree with all of it. The only thing different I have on my list would be to mark those important moments and milestones. Other cultures are often better than us at celebrating key moments in the life of a young man. I have tried to be very purposeful about celebrating my sons' 13th and 16th birthdays. The next major one will be 18 and I have big plans for that one! Those are great places to pause and reflect as well as prepare for the next life chapter.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ron. Always enjoy them!

    • I love this. I actually did this with my boys at 13 and 18. I used the principles I learned in the book “Raising a Modern Day Knight”.

  6. Great list, Ron. My sons are a little younger than yours. Both are in college now. I stopped while reading and sent a message to one i was going back and forth on text to say “I’m proud of you and love you more than you know”…then came back to reading.
    Twitter: bobbalkcom

  7. Ron, I’m raising a son named Elliott. He’s 8 months old and has a big sister named Mia who is 4. They both look more like their mom than they do me, which is a great thing! I’m encouraged to lead them well and appreciate these words of advice this morning. Thank you for sharing. I printed this post and put it on my desk beside my planner.