Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Friday, November 25, 2016

For Raising Sons

Before they get to have authority, men should be under authority. If they have a difficult the submitting to authority, they become petty tyrants when they, in turn, find themselves in positions of authority.

Authority and responsibility go together. If a man has great responsibility but does not have commensurate authority, he is unable to carry out his responsibility. If he has authority but no responsibility, he ends up giving orders when there is nothing to do. Again, he is a petty tyrant.

God built the need for respect into the human race. All men need it as they are growing up. If they do not get it, they ask for it by bragging and boasting. If they do not have anything to brag about, they invent something. They lie and brag.

Both sexes need two things given to them from infancy: love and respect. They need these from both sexes. However, as they grow older, a girl needs love more than she needs respect (although she still needs both), and a boy needs respect more than he needs love (although he needs both). How can you tell? Little boys brag, and little girls flirt. The boys are asking for respect, and the girls are asking for love. It is a poor way to get either, but it shows that the need is there. Children who are very secure in love and respect do not brag or flirt.

If we want our sons to mature into responsible men, our part is five-fold:

1. Give them much love and respect from both sexes of parents.
2. Do not provoke them to wrath or discouragement (Eph. 6:4, Col. 3:21).
3. Give them the “training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
4. Give them responsibility as they grow older. The responsibility should be enough to stretch them, but not so much that it breaks them.
5. “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth” (Deut. 11:18-21).

As a boy continues to grow, he wants and needs more opportunities to be responsible. Sometimes he is given responsibility before he is ready for it. If he cannot handle it, if it is too much for him, he becomes irresponsible. He finds it easy to blame his failures on other people and on the circumstances. If this is an isolated event, he may learn from it. However, if he is regularly given responsibility before he is ready, it is sure to establish a lifelong habit of irresponsibility. (Sometimes boys will demand freedom when they are not ready for it. The results are the same if it is given.)

It is best to give increased responsibility in small increments, but always more than he thinks he can handle—but not too much more. This way you ensure his growth—strong, normal growth. If he is given too little responsibility or not given it until long after he requests it, you are teaching him to be rebellious. But when he is given responsibility he can handle, he is successful with it. This increases his respect for his father and for himself, and he is ready for more responsibility.

His successes should be 1) acknowledged, 2) not criticized, and 3) not flattered. Acknowledging success stimulates a desire for more. Correcting successes with a critical spirit causes discouragement (Col. 3:21). Sometime a son will work even harder hoping for a “well done” from his father, and he never gets one. Flattery is over-praise for non-accomplishment. This is an encouragement to be irresponsible. It is not an expression of love. Love is present in defeat and in success; it is not tied to accomplishment. It can be expressed with hugs or spanks, but not with flattery or a critical spirit.


Anonymous said...

What would you say to a teenager or young man whose father is not in the picture?

James I Wilson said...

There can be a substitute, although a substitute is not as effective as a father. The substitute may be a grandfather, a man in the church, an older brother, or an uncle. The young man's mother may have to ask someone she knows to fill the bill.

If the teenager is a Christian, he should look up Psalm 27:10: "Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me."