Raising Boys: The Most Important Character Trait to Teach Boys

Living in “the real world”: It’s something my husband and I talk a lot about with our two tween boys.

We want our boys to learn the value of hard work; to show perseverance; to always practice integrity; and to understand how to lead with humility and grace.

And while we regularly work on developing all of these important character qualities—concepts we believe to be critical for growing our boys into godly men—there is one foundational character quality that we encourage above all else.

Wisdom is the most important character trait to teach our sons.

The Bible says in Proverbs 4:8: “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.”

You see, wisdom is the source of all the character traits. It’s the foundational piece from which all other spiritual growth springs.

Proverbs 9:11-12 says that wisdom will “multiply your days and add years to your life.”

In fact, wisdom was created before any other aspect of our world was created (Proverbs 8:22-31)! I just learned this the other day and this concept blew me away. God established the concept of wisdom, and then built everything else we see around us on that core principle.

God ordered his universe to work perfectly together using the foundational element of wisdom, and all things were created in His wisdom (Proverbs 3:19-20).

Therefore, doesn’t it make sense that we should encourage our kids toward wisdom as the most important character trait as the stepping stone to all other character traits we teach?

God also promises several times in Proverbs that wisdom will protect and guard us. Proverbs 2:11 says “Wise choices will watch over you. understanding will keep you safe.” And later, in Proverbs 4:6, God’s word says, “Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.”

All children need to learn the value of wisdom. But as those who will be guiding a family, I believe it’s especially important for boys to develop godly wisdom.

Wisdom is a concept that must be both a continual input and flow from the Holy Spirit, and a habitual practice (evident through wise choices). We must teach both an inputting and a practical application of wisdom. These two aspects of wisdom play off each other in a beautiful harmony.

How can we encourage our kids toward this all important character trait?

7 Ways to Encourage Wisdom in Boys

1) Teach Boys to Fear the Lord. Proverbs 9:10 says that the “fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.” Teaching our boys about both the reverent awe and amazing grace of God is an essential piece of establishing wisdom in their hearts.

2) Encourage Daily Independent Bible Time. While I believe that learning biblical concepts together as a family is essential, I also firmly believe that teaching kids how to have their own independent Bible study time is even more crucial. I’ve come up with an easy method  (that includes a free printable) that helps kids (and adults) establish this important habit.

3) Study the Proverbs for 31 Days. It’s rather convenient that there are 31 chapters in Proverbs! Several times a year, my family and I read through one chapter of the Proverbs for that day of the month. For example, if today is September 10, we would read Proverbs 10. We choose one verse from that day’s chapter and study it using the “5 R’s Method” mentioned above.

4) Spend Time Studying the Gospels Studying How Jesus Perfectly Exemplified Wisdom. Since Jesus is God in the flesh, it’s not surprising that the gospels (the stories of Jesus’ life) contain excellent examples of what godly wisdom looks like.

5) Talk About Wise and Foolish Decisions by Those In the News or In History. This is a great way to have family discussions about the practical implications of following (or not following godly wisdom). Be careful to not have these conversations in a judgmental way, but instead ask questions like, “Did they use godly wisdom in their decisions? What were the consequences of their wise or unwise choices?”

6) Surround Your Boys with Other Boys from Families That Are Also Seeking Godly Wisdom. While we can’t keep our kids in a bubble, we can encourage them to choose friends who are making wise decisions. As they learn to treasure wisdom, these kinds of choices become natural.

7) As a Parent, Exemplify Wisdom in Your Everyday Actions. Share about your temptations to make poor choices, and how wise or unwise decisions in your life have created certain circumstances in your life. Be open and honest with your kids about how God’s wisdom has proven true for you!

The beautiful thing about seeking wisdom? God promises that those who search for wisdom will surely find it (Proverbs 8:17). Our God is a merciful and wonderful God who longs to give this most precious of all gifts to his children!

Therefore, our job as parents is to (1) seek wisdom and (2) encourage our kids toward this most important character trait!

Alicia Michelle writes about living a beautifully imperfect journey through homeschooling, parenting, marriage and all family-related matters at YourVibrantFamily.com. She has been married to her best friend for 14 years and together they spend their days lovingly guiding their four passionate and creative kids.

Alicia is the author of Plan to Be Flexible and the Back to School Survival Manual. Shes also the creator/producer of Vibrant Homeschoolings online video courses “bloom: A Journey to Joy (and Sanity) for Homeschool Moms” and “rhythm: Guiding Your Family to Their Ideal Learning Flow.”

She believes each day offers new opportunities to grow in grace and to trust God in unexpected ways; and that acceptance with joyis one of the hidden secrets to a full, contented Christian life. When shes not keeping her household and the site firing on all cylinders, she can be found snuggled under a warm blanket with a cup of tea and a good book (and, if shes lucky, something drenched in chocolate).

You can find her at VibrantChristianLiving.com, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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  1. Long Ladies says:

    Insightful post! As we have three boys, one in his teens, one in the tweens, and a six year old, this is an excellent post to find! Thank you for sharing this fountain of wisdom! : )

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