As a father of three growing boys, there is never a dull moment at our house. From sword fighting in the living room, to speed races sliding down the stairs on their tummies, they are always coming up with new (and sometimes dangerous!) ways to play and have fun. As a Father I get the job of establishing the ground rules for what is acceptable and unacceptable for our boys.
This can be a difficult job especially when my wife is around because rough-housing and potty humor are not in her first nature. Don’t get me wrong, my wife is an amazing woman of God and a fully capable mother. She single-handily homeschools our three boys, while still cooking, cleaning, and running daily errands. She also spends her time serving and ministering to others and I highly recommend checking out her blog Devoted To Maker where she discusses her faith, devotionals and homeschooling.
But as fathers we walk a thin wire of what we should allow our boys to do. We tend to allow boys to express their masculinity more than their mother’s do, mainly because we were boys once and know what it’s like growing up as males. Some things like rough-housing and laughing at bodily functions are just a natural part of being a boy. All boys need their masculinity affirmed by their Fathers and even by other males, but at the same time they must be taught when and where these behaviors are appropriate.
For example (and I do not expect families of only girls to get this, but…) – At our house my three boys have learned that it is perfectly acceptable to let out a loud and obnoxious belch, followed by an affirming “Good one!” if it is just the guys. However, if their mother or company is present they are to avoid burping altogether if possible, but if a burp were to escape their mouth they are to respond by saying, “Excuse me.”
I would be lying, however, if I told you from that one conversation on, my boys have been perfect little gentlemen. But things have definitely improved. Now when we are out in public or we are guests at a friends house and one of my boys burps they quickly follow up with a polite, “Excuse me,” before leaning over to one of their brothers and whisping “Good one.” I can’t help but smile to see them starting to discern when and where to express themselves appropriately.
Now you may be wondering how this relates to anything other than table manners, but I’ll tell you, when you can have a positive conversation with your boys about something as ridiculous as belching and flatulence, then you open the door to having conversations about anything. It’s about building a relationship with your boys. And when they get older they will know that they can talk to you about anything.
Here are just a few things that the Lord has taught me to do with my sons and I hope it encourages you as moms and dads to do with your children.Four ways a dad can have a positive impact on his son's life. @DevotedToMaker Click To Tweet
1. Love your boys for who they are. Boys are all different and I should know, I have three of them and their personalities are quite unique. For this reason it is important to learn their personal Love Language. For instance my middle son’s love language is Physical Touch, so he feels most loved when we wrestle and tickle, while my youngest son’s love language is words of affirmation and so he feels most loved when I speak words of encouragement to him. Spend time learning your child’s individual Love Language and build on their positive characteristics.
2. Spend time with your boys on their level. Boys love it when their parents spend time with them especially when they are willing to spend time doing what they like. This one may not sound like much fun at first, but give it some time and I think it will become one of your favorites. I know it is for me. My boys and I like to spend time together playing Legos which led to the creation of a Lego/Bible curriculum called Faith Builders. We also like watching movies, playing video games, and yes, even coloring (and I’ve found that I really enjoy coloring). My oldest son (11) loves to read, a lot! So we read books aloud together, our favorite is my Christian fantasy fiction novel Nephilim the Remnants.
3. Do devotions and pray with your boys. Pray together! Let them hear you pray and encourage them to pray as well. I know life is busy, but make this one a priority. Pray with them before bed, pray with them in the mornings, and pray with them at meal time. Talk about God when you are with them. I find that some of the best spiritual conversations occur in the car while running a simple errand with one of my boys. They will ask a question about the Bible and we end up talking about God. Also, spend time reading the Bible together. Here is a post that talks about some of the devotions we do together.
4. Live as an example for your boys. Be the parent your child needs you to be through your strength in God. Rise to the challenge. The best way to do this is by following the example of Jesus Christ. And while you are striving to be like Christ, your children will notice and want what you have, and you will be able to pass it along to them. And they will be able to pass it on to their children, and so on… from generation to generation.
So remember to build those relationships with your children when they are young. Mom and Dads have those conversations no matter how silly or unimportant they may seem. Then when they are older they will come back to you for meaningful conversations about the serious issues in life and you’ll be able to talk and share with them about all that you have learned from God through the Holy Spirit.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6
David Henderson is happily married to his beautiful wife Johanna with whom he has three wonderful boys. David is greatly inspired by the Bible and attends church with his family at Christian Life Center. He is the author of Nephilim The Remnants and creator of the Lego Faith Builders Curriculum. He graduated with a degree in Graphic Art and Design from Clark State College and runs his own Graphic Design business.