On September 16, 2009 God gave my wife and I one of the greatest gifts either of us had ever received. The gift was a son.
I sometimes just watch, silently, as he plays basketball, football, baseball or hockey. I watch as he plays with his cars or super heroes, or as he runs through the house “shooting the aliens”. I watch and think to myself “What is he going to be like as he becomes a man?” and then I realize – I am not raising a little boy, he is that now, I am raising him to be a man.
How do we as fathers teach our boys to be men? I have a few ideas that I believe are crucial for developing real men.
I want Greyson to know that being a man is not about being a male chauvinist. It is not about seeing how many women you can bed or about displaying greats acts of stupidity to prove your manliness. It is not about earning more than the next guy or getting one up on him. It is not about how much you cuss or how much you can drink. It is not about being the strongest physically, the most athletic, or the best looking. No. Those are not proofs of manhood.
I want Greyson to know that being a real man is about…
Treating women with respect and honor. This is a big one for me as my dad has always taught me to treat women this way, unfortunately many times I failed at this (one time is too many). But I do not want Greyson to make the same mistakes I did. It angers me to no end when I see a young man out with a girl and he shows her no respect. Walks in the restaurant before her, does not hold the door, pays attention more to his phone then her (that is many husbands too by the way). When I see these things, I will not share what goes through my mind as they are not very Christlike, but for the most part I want to ask him if he realizes what a great honor and responsibility he has at that moment. When Greyson begins to date I want him to understand that the father of that girl is trusting him with her life. As a man he is to protect her physically and emotionally. He is to view her and value her the same way God does. The father of that young lady has placed her physical well being and her purity in Greyson’s hands and that is only a responsibility a man should and can carry.
Integrity. Doing the right thing because it is the right thing no matter what. I want Greyson to know that God is always watching and that everything he does is for His honor and glory. When that is the mindset of any person then integrity will be a way of life.
Discernment. Greyson will have many choices in life to make and many of which are not going to be black and white. A real man will seek wisdom and guidance from others and especially from God.
Boldness. Not boldness in the way of “I will do anything to prove I am a manly man” but boldness in doing the right thing. Many things in our culture now are turning from what used to be wrong to anything from it being relative to it being acceptable and right even. I want Greyson to have a solid foundation of truth and boldly stand on what is right and what is wrong regardless of what the masses say.
Placing value on people. We are all made in the image of God. This is a sacred thing we humans have that no other created thing has. Yet when we ignore another human being, when we treat another with contempt for any reason,whether it be the way one looks or dresses, the background of a person, the color of one’s skin, their religion, or their sexual orientation, when we commit violence against someone, anytime we devalue a person in any way we are marring the image of God – and that is not okay. I want Greyson to look at every single person and say to himself “God created that man/woman. God formed them and breathed life into their lungs. God loves them unconditionally and He has placed a great value on them. I will too.”
Courage. Please don’t misunderstand and think I do not want Greyson to never be afraid. Fear is good sometimes. But I want Greyson to have the courage to step out into the unknown and into greatness even when fear grips his heart.
Sacrifice. Real men sacrifice. Whether it be for their country by serving in the armed forces or sacrificing for their family daily. A man’s life is characterized by sacrifice. I want Greyson to be a man who will give his life for someone else if ever called to because of placing that value upon them. No matter what I want him to live every day lifting the needs of others up over his own for that is where true strength is seen.
Humility. As Greyson does these things and as God does great things in his life I want him to be a man of humility. Always pointing his awards, his gifts, his acknowledgments received, his influence on others, his achievements in life, back to God.
His family. I want Greyson to learn that being a man means that he will love his wife unconditionally, staying true only to her. Loving his children and never being afraid to tell them or show. Praying with his family and leading them down the paths God has set them even if they are the only ones traveling it.
God has given me a great privilege and responsibility. That great privilege and responsibility is to raise a godly man. Ashley and I picked out a verse for Greyson when he was a baby. The verse is…
“A man’s gifts make room for him and brings him before great men.” – Proverbs 18:16
* Thank you to Autumn Mays for letting me use the picture