Raising Boys to be Men

Much has been written about the needs and challenges facing fathers who desire to raise real men, and not the macho caricatures that are perpetuated in our culture and unfortunately in many churches. The following article might just get you fired up to raise your boys to be true men. If so, the next article might give you some practical steps to take along the way.
Still Looking for a Few Good Men

Today, we have too many churches who have abandoned rites of passage.

Back when America was largely agrarian, children meant something: the survival of the family. But today, children have no genuine purpose except to be children. So why should we be surprised when today’s child-men never outgrow that perception, never developing into the kind of men some of us older guys still remember.

How I Have Helped My Boys Become Christian Men

Almost every culture in the world has something to mark the difference between a boy and a man. A boy goes through a “rite of passage,” after which he becomes officially a man. The rite of passage may involve an ordeal, a test, or a training period of some kind. The boy who has reached a certain age must kill a crocodile, or train with a bow and arrow, or go on a long journey alone, or join in a dangerous hunt with the men.

When does a boy become a man in white American culture? When he gets a driver’s license? When he graduates from high school? When he moves away from his parents? When he can vote? When he gets his first full-time job? When he is 21? When he gets married? When he owns his own home?

No one can say. There is no clear point of transition. There is no one “rite of passage.” One of the unfortunate effects can be that boys are insecure. They don’t know when they are men. Again and again they may try to prove that they are “grown up.” Sometimes they may choose destructive ways-join a gang, go hotrodding, learn to smoke, get drunk, take a girl to bed.

What do we do to give proper guidance? I know and you know that there is no magic formula. God must be at work in teaching us and our boys, and he must be the one who causes them to grow (1 Cor. 3:7). But you and I can plant and water.

3 Responses to “Raising Boys to be Men”

  1. ryan says:

    Hey Thomas, I really enjoyed this post. It is an encouragement just to see how you and Rachel face parenthood (I found the video where Bud watched his pacifiers fly away to be very cool). I found the first article to be very thought provoking. The way it discussed materialism as a result of having a childhood that only served as preparation for remaining a child was a great observation and it reminds me to be thankful for all of the firewood and bricks my dad had me carry on Saturdays when I was eleven and twelve because he was spending his Saturdays carrying bricks and firewood. I also enjoyed the second article and I think its practical ideas have potential. Since that article was written in 1999, I wonder if his sons are today the men he was looking to mentor. Do you know if he’s written anything more recent about the state of his family?

  2. mandi says:

    the topic of this post is very near to our hearts in the barnard family. thank you for the articles

  3. Jacob says:

    Then what do you think about this:
    (as far as rites of passages and being intentional about raising boys to be men)