You want to help your son on his journey to manhood. You want your boys to grow up to be strong, confident, courageous young men who love Jesus. But how do you do that? What steps do you take? What does this look like in real life?
In our show today, we’re going to answer these questions. Stick around.
WELCOME TO EPISODE 30 OF REDEEMING THE CHAOS WITH LAURIE CHRISTINE.
What is a real man? How do I raise one?
We’ve discussed this topic on the show before and today we’re going to dive a little deeper into what is involved in raising strong, courageous young men.
Today we’re going to be looking at a book called Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis. All the information we discuss today are ideas from this book. This book was written specifically for Dads, so there is a lot of emphasis on the roles that men play in the life of our sons. But I think there is a lot of important information for us as moms to apply as well. (If nothing else but to encourage our husbands to read the book!)
BUY THE BOOK ON AMAZON HERE (Affiliate link).
Robert Lewis emphasizes the important role of a father in our boys’ lives. Only a man can teach his son to be a man. Father’s need to be present and intentional about imparting a biblical vision for manhood and answering some of our boy’s questions, like:
- What is a man?
- What are a man’s responsibilities?
- What does a man believe?
- How does a man behave?
Some of you may be feeling discouraged already that your son’s father may not be present or as involved in your son’s life as you’d like him to be, or maybe he isn’t taking on the role of spiritual leadership in your family. Hang in there… I have some encouragement for you at the end of this podcast. But in the meantime, don’t underestimate the role a mom can play in impacting her son’s walk with the Lord). ** Actually, this encouragement will now be in EPISODE 31 of Redeeming the Chaos… stick around! **
Lewis compares the process of becoming a man to the process of becoming a Knight. In medieval times, knights had a clear path to manhood – first a page, then a squire, then a knight. Their journey to manhood was marked by ceremonies and responsibilities.
In our modern culture today, we have lost the value of ceremonies and rites of passage. Our boys don’t have a clear vision for what it looks like to be a godly man, nor do they have a plan to get there.
3 BUILDING BLOCKS OF MANHOOD
Lewis suggests there are 3 essential building blocks for our boys to enter manhood. We’ll discuss each of these in more detail below.
- A vision for manhood
- A Code of conduct
- A Transcendent cause
BUILDING BLOCK #1 – A VISION FOR MANHOOD
Lewis outlines 4 principles that need to be included in a vision for manhood. He encourages families to adapt this list to fit the needs of your own family.
- A real man rejects passivity.
- A real man accepts responsibility.
- A real man leads courageously.
- A real man expects the greater reward.
Lewis would rehearse these principles with his sons and explain to them what it looked like to be a real man. From a young age, his sons had a vision for manhood.
A practical challenge for parents:
- Preferably involve Dad in this process!
- Write a definition of manhood for your sons
- Memorize this definition together when your son turns 13.
- Plan a manhood weekend with sons and other fathers
- Hold a manhood ceremony
My husband and I wrote out our own vision for manhood, in words our young boys could easily comprehend. It’s never too early to start teaching your son what it means to be a man.
A strong, courageous man:
- Does the right thing
- Works hard
- Shows honor and compassion
- Loves Jesus
This past summer my husband took our oldest son, who will be 11 this month, on a special father-son excursion to a ropes course. At some point during the day, they discussed this vision together and what it looks like to become a man. We plan to have many more of these ceremonies and discussions with each of our four boys as they grow.
BUILDING BLOCK #2 – A CODE OF CONDUCT
We as parents can no longer rely on our culture to uphold the values and beliefs we hold as a family. Parents should impart a code of conduct, establish boundaries and reinforce the truth of God’s Word at home.
3 parts of code of conduct:
1. A Will to Obey (God’s will)
“True satisfaction in life is directly proportional to one’s obedience to God.” (p.68, Raising a Modern Day Knight).
Our family handbook for life should be the Bible. Make a list of biblical ideals or values that you want to uphold in your family. Lewis suggests a list of 10 ideals, all backed with biblical truth:
You can of course come up with your own list of values that you would like to focus on in your family. In my family, we decided to focus on 5 core family values:
- Be kind
- Show honor
- Do your best
- Be honest
I created graphics that I have printed out and displayed in our home, along with a Bible verse to go along with each one. If you would like to adopt these same 5 values in your home, you’re welcome to download the graphics for free!
There are 4 ways a father trains his son to obey God’s word:
- By setting a godly example.
- By teaching spiritual truth. Treating faith not just as an event, but as a lifestyle.
- By sharing stories of real men demonstrating bravery, courage and sacrifice.
- Through affirmation, attention and discipline.
“When a son does something right, the wise father phrases his character as well as his behavior; when he does something wrong, the wise father takes time to correct and instruct first, disciplining only as a last resort.” (p.73, Raising a Modern Day Knight).
2. A Work to Do
The second part of the Code of Conduct is to teach our boys that they have a work to do. A calling in life. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our boys identify their unique gifts and abilities to use both in a chosen profession as well as in service for the Kingdom of God and the church. We also need to instill a strong work ethic in our children.
3. A Woman to Love
- We want to prepare our boys to succeed in marriage, if they choose to get married.
- We need to teach our boys how to treat women with respect and honor.
- We want to help our boys learn to love, lead, honor and provide for their future wives.
- We need to teach our boys God’s design for marriage and family from a biblical perspective.
Practical Steps for Parents:
- Establish a written code of conduct for your family — a list of biblical values. Feel free to download the list of family values that I made. You will receive a set of 6 printable graphics with 5 family values and accompanying scripture passages.
- Discern natural giftings of your child and affirm and encourage them.
- Have intentional Bible teaching time with your boys.
- If you need some ideas of how to get started with family devotions, or maybe you just need some inspiration or new ideas, I have a free ebook for you called “How to Engage Your Kids in Family Devotions.”
BUILDING BLOCK #3 — A TRANSCENDENT CAUSE
Robert Lewis defines a transcendent cause as “A mission that lifts us beyond ourselves, a passion that stirs us to a self-sacrifice and causes us to contribute to the larger community… It is not something we do in addition to everything else; instead, it is the one factor that motivates everything else we do…. True satisfaction in life is impossible without a transcendent cause.” (p. 85, Raising a Modern Day Knight).
Lewis says that a transcendent cause must be:
- Truly heroic – calling for bravery and sacrifice
- Timeless – it has significance beyond the moment
- Supremely meaningful
It’s important for us as parents to give our sons a vision outside of themselves; a vision for something outside of their own circumstances and feelings.
Lewis believes, and I would whole-heartedly agree, that the ultimate transcendent cause in our boys’ lives (and our lives as well) is a relationship with Jesus. It is so important, therefore, that we cultivate our son’s relationship with God.
There are many ways to do this.
- Father-son Bible study
- Praying together
- Family devotions
- Talk about your faith on a regular basis
- Let your sons see how you and your husband are using your gifts to serve in God’s Kingdom.
If you want some ideas on how to get started with family devotions or Bible studies, I mentioned earlier a free resource I have for you called “How to Engage Your Kids in Family Devotions.”
Thank you so much for joining me today for Episode 30 of Redeeming the Chaos. You can listen to a podcast version of this blog post here: