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Raising Boys to Manhood – Expect the Greater Reward

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raising boys, manhood, parenting

Last night, my husband heard the story of a young man who has grown up deeply wounded because of his dad’s inattention. The story came up during dinner with a friend who shared an update on a former coworker named Brian.

Brian and his wife divorced many years ago. Since that time, Brian has immersed himself in a lifestyle of fun, pleasure, and wealth. He never saw the value of investing in his son. My husband’s friend shared the sad experience of playing golf with Brian and his son. Apparently, Brian treated his son very badly, and it was glaringly evident how much the son detested his dad.

There are many young men just like him in every pocket of our nation.

A couple of years ago, I came across a book that really encouraged me ~ Raising a Modern-Day Knight, by Robert Lewis. (It also comes in audio CD’s.)

It really hits the mark through its message. 

I was so encouraged by the principles in this book that I put together “Cliff’s” notes/teaching notes for my husband to use with our sons. (My husband is a very busy man!)

Last Fall, I began publishing these notes on my blog as a way to encourage and empower single moms.

Single moms – there’s no need for you feel defeated if your ex-husband has abdicated his role in your son’s life. You’re the Momma! You have tremendous influence. Use these notes to help your son.

In previous posts on raising boys to manhood, we considered the following manhood principles:

Manhood Principle #1:A Real Man Rejects Passivity

Manhood Principle #2: A Real Man Accepts Responsibility

Manhood Principle #3: A Real Man Leads Courageously

Today, we’re looking at Manhood Principle #4:

A Real Man Expects the Greater Reward

Expecting the greater reward is important because authentic manhood can be ridiculously tough and demanding.  

Ask your son what he thinks of the responsibilities of being a man. How does he feel about having to work to provide for his family? How does he feel about the responsibility he will have to lead his family and parent his chldren?

Talk to your son about the first man, Adam:

God had given him work to do, a woman to love, and had called him to live in obedience to God.

Adam became dissatisfied with his responsibilities and his role as a man. He wanted more. He chased after a different kind of “glory,” and it got him into trouble. (Genesis 3:1-6) There were huge ramifications for him and for every generation after him.

Note to Mom: Many men today are running away from authentic manhood and its responsibilities to chase after worldly satisfaction. Instead of seeing the value and privilege of authentic manhood, they view its responsibilities as drudgery . . . full of duty, with little gratification or fulfillment.

Explain to your son that:

“Biblical manhood was never intended to be burdensome. Instead, real manhood was designed by God to be liberating and a means of great reward.” (Robert Lewis; Raising a Modern-Day Kinght; p. 58)

Note to Mom: In a world where our boys have so few role models demonstrating how to be a great man, we can point them to Jesus with confidence! He is the perfect example for all men.

Share the example Jesus set as a man:

Jesus embraced his mission and his work. His “food,” he said, was to do the Father’s will and to finish his work. (John 4:34)

He was committed for the long haul. (Matthew 16:21Luke 9:22) He carried the world on his shoulders and never relinquished his role.

He resolutely fulfilled his responsibilities and completed his mission, suffering and dying for the sins of mankind, securing our pardon, and reconciling us to God, the Father. In the process, he demonstrated the full glory of God.

So how did Jesus do it? How did he remain so steadfast? Why did he have such tremendous resolve as he moved toward the cross?

Read Hebrews 12:1-2 with your son.

(Answer: The anticipation of joy – the joy set before Him. He finished strong because He kept his sights on the greater reward.)

Read Hebrews 11:24-26. Who else looked ahead to the greater reward?

(Note to Mom: Encourage your son to have this same perspective. To see the bigger picture beyond the here and now.

Ask your son to brainstorm with you:

Make a list of the kinds of earthly rewards people want. (Pleasure, fun, success, fame, power, wealth, etc.)

What about your son and his friends? (Pleasure, fun, stuff like a new I-phone or X-Box games, a car, money, popularity)

Ask if the things you’ve listed are temporary things or permanent things.

Read Colossians 3:1-4 together.

Ask your son where he needs to focus his attention and his mind – according to this scripture. What is he supposed to seek?

Discuss how he can do that. (Discipline, prayer, reading his Bible, going to camp and youth group, choosing his close friends carefully, being careful about the things he watches on TV or listens to on his Ipod.)

 The call to manhood isn’t just a call to heavy responsibilities and dutiful sacrifice. There is so much more. Yes, it is rigorous, demands courage, and requires sacrifice; but it is primarily a call to life.

Read these verses together:

John 10:10

1 Corinthian 2:9

Philippians 3:14

Ask your son: What is our reward as Christians?

 Read Revelation 22:3-4 and John 14:2-3 to find out.

Read Hebrews 10:35-36. Ask your son: What brings great reward? (confident trust in the Lord) When will you receive all God has promised? (When you patiently endure and continue to do God’s will.)

Explain to your son that God always keeps his promises. Your son can trust him. When it’s challenging to carry out his role as a man, he needs to keep his mind focused on the big picture and the greater reward God promises him.

Discuss the difference between earthly rewards and our heavenly reward. Which are temporary and which are permanent? As a result, which reward should we desire and point our lives toward?

Share a time when you pursued one of those temporary, earthly rewards and how it didn’t satisfy you or pan out.

Authentic manhood lived out according to God’s plan can bring some really great things in the here and now too. Robert Lewis shares the good things that have come to him as he pursues authentic manhood. Talk about these with your son. Ask if these would be important to him and why.

  • An honorable name
  • Respect and admiration from your wife and children
  • Well-adjusted, responsible kids who give of themselves to others and to the kingdom of God
  • Respect from other men in the community
  • God’s blessings
  • Growing satisfaction about his life

God never intended for “manhood” to be a burden or drudgery. It’s a high calling. It’s important to help our sons see the privilege of being a man – and to look for the greater reward. 

Recap of the four manhood principles:

A real man is one who:

  • Rejects passivity
  • Accepts responsibility (a will to obey, a work to do, and a woman to love)
  • Leads courageously
  • Expects the greater reward – God’s reward

(*Information in this post has been gleaned from Robert Lewis’ book: Raising a Modern-Day Knight.)

You’re not alone in this parenting thing. God is with you. He’s got your back. You don’t have to be perfect at it either. He fills the gaps beautifully!

What are your greatest concerns regarding your son’s development into manhood? 

Lisa 


 

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