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Raising Men

April 15, 2024

by Brenda Martin

When we look around us at average young men today, are we seeing strong, capable MEN?
What we ARE seeing is the fruit of parenting in the last couple generations. And it’s looking to us like there is a dearth of manly young men.
Soon after my husband and I were married, we had a vision: that when our boys became adults, they would be men. Not weak or silly man-boys, but men who had a work ethic. Men who wanted to make things around them better. Men who understood how things work and who could fix things. Men who believed God’s Word as their guide for truth in this world.
We didn’t have all the answers. We didn’t have a plan. But we knew that what they learned and experienced at a young age would shape what they perceived about who they were and where they were headed. We desired for them to grow up to be men who were empowered for leading a godly and successful life. Not men who would think laziness and self-centeredness was okay.
How did that play out in the way we, as parents, guided them?
By default, we knew they’d be under Mama’s care during the day for the most part. But we also knew that the goal was to eventually spend more and more time with Daddy to learn manly ways from him.
So, starting at a young age, Mama gave them little responsibilities in the home. They helped with daily duties, which made them feel needed and important. They were sure the family couldn’t function without them.
And when Daddy had evening and weekend projects, he would include them in little ways, and thus they learned that teamwork is the norm in our family.
As they grew up, they would be expected to carry a bigger load in the home and join Daddy in the heavier, tougher jobs outside. Mama didn’t coddle them when joining Daddy might mean enduring a little extra cold or heat. They were learning new skills and gaining much self-worth and confidence by accomplishing big-boy jobs.
We observed that if boys were hanging with Mama for the majority of the day and not in the presence of Dad regularly after the ages of 6–8, they tended to be “softer,” to pick up more feminine mannerisms, and in general were more lazy.
But when they spent as much time with Dad as possible, or even were shown by Dad how to do a manly project and were given the responsibility of seeing it through, they carried themselves in a much more mature and manly way.
We discovered that when boys have responsibilities and know someone is counting on them to show up, they tend to think about how they can do better rather than shirking duties or just wanting to always take the easy road. Mama can do so much to help them in this by not doing more for them at a young age than she should. It’s easier to just do it rather than take time to teach, but they will grow up to NEED to shoulder responsibilities. Then, instead of only thinking of themselves or having fun and being lazy, they will look for ways to improve life for themselves and those around them.
The way we passed the responsibility of raising boys from Mama to Daddy worked well for our family dynamic. This may look different for your family, depending on your situation or lifestyle.
Just know that the end goal is young men who don’t shrink from work when it needs to be done. Young men who handle themselves in a mature way rather than with excessive silly or goofy mannerisms. Young men who seek out ways to apply themselves to learning and developing skills.
And this is better done when boys have manly examples, or at least adults who will push them to be better rather than protecting them from the hard knocks of life, which are simply opportunities to establish maturity that leads to manly, dependable men who will make good husbands and leaders someday!

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