Every word and deed is germinated in the heart and mind. If you hope to raise a young boy to become a responsible man who knows how to really love a woman, parents and guardians need to learn how to help their sons think good thoughts and cultivate good hearts. You need to start seeing your son as more than a mere boy. You need to start seeing him as a “loving man in training.” Doing this will transform your parenting.
Remember, if you ignore your son, he will go away. And when he returns, you might not like what you find. Your parenting is the single most important factor in determining what kind of man your son will become.
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With all the moral malice that’s making waves these days, with men behaving badly (think Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein), It’s a great time for parents and guardians to think deeply about the kinds of sons they are raising — and to make fundamental adjustments
while there is still time. Our sons, after all, will grow up to be men. The real issue is what kind of man you’ll raise. Will he know how to love, honor and respect women? Are you training him, now, to be a great husband who really knows how to love a woman and be faithful to her?
For my more critical readers, let me say that yes, I know the Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NIV). But this verse is not a cry of “uncle” when it comes to taking thoughts and motives captive, as if the task were futile. It is, rather, an acknowledgement that the heart actually needs cultivation. If left to itself, it’s natural tendency is to decend into deeper and deeper depravity. In other words, we’re being warned at the onset that we must be proactive about the condition of the heart, so that the natural tendency is overcome by supernatural intervention.
“Teach your son, now, to take his thoughts captive. Show him that a runaway mind will lead to a runaway life.”
The older I get, the more I realize that what we attribute to being “supernatural” actually has a lot of the natural mixed in. You and I have a greater say in God’s supernatural work than we tend to realize. If you will take the time to work on your thoughts and motives — and help your children do the same — you will find that doing so gives God something positive to work with. When we cooperate with God, great things happen.
2 PARENTING TIPS TO HELP YOU RAISE A LOVING SON:
1. FOCUS ON HELPING YOUR SON LEARN HOW TO THINK, REASON AND UNDERSTAND CONSEQUENCES FOR HIS THOUGHTS.Thinking has become a lost art among adults. Imagine the consequences for children? They don’t have a clue. You need to help your son move from being clueless to clear about his thinking.
Literally, throughout the course of your day, you need to stop what you are doing, sit your son down and make direct eye contact with him. You need to make direct eye contact with each other because that creates an emotional, powerful connection. You need to help your son connect the dots between what he says and does with where it all starts: in his mind and heart.
For example, when you see your son talking to someone in a way that is not honorable, not gentlemanly, you need to intervene — immediately. Interject yourself into the situation, take him aside and make eye contact. Refuse to allow him to look away as you explain to him, “____________ (insert his name), every thought leads to words and/or actions. Those words and/or actions have consequences. What you just did and/or said is a direct result of your thinking. We become what you think about.“
That last sentence is a great one to get into your vocabulary. It’s a great one that your son needs to get into his vocabulary. Everything we do and say begins in the mind. Teach your young son (it’s not too late to teach your teenager) that words and actions begin in secret and eventually make their way into the public arena of our lives.
2. HELP YOUR SON UNDERSTAND THAT HIS LIFE WILL BECOME THE ACCUMULATION OF HIS SMALL CHOICES. What your son becomes will be the result of every small decision he makes throughout life. Those decisions begin as a young boy. In my op-ED to the Christian Post about Matt Lauer, I go into further detail about how Mr. Lauer most likely never dreamed of treating women as he did, embarrassing himself and his wife, and destroying so many lives (including his own). But, nevertheless, that’s exactly what he did. He did so by allowing his small choices to go astray.
Your son needs to understand that his small choices about how he thinks about other people will have a cumulative effect. He needs to understand that he actually has the power to make choices that are good, wise and helpful in the long haul of life. Don’t you dare think that he is not smart enough, old enough or wise enough to know the difference.
Here, you’ll reap what you sow. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) is one you can commit to memory and implement in your parenting: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Teach your son, now, to take his thoughts captive. Show him that a runaway mind will lead to a runaway life.
ARE YOU HELPING YOUR SON GROW UP TO BECOME A LOVING, RESPONSIBLE, HONORABLE MAN BY HELPING HIM USE HIS BRAIN? ARE YOU HELPING YOUR SON UNDERSTAND THAT HE IS BECOMING THE ACCUMULATION OF HIS THOUGHTS? DOES YOUR SON UNDERSTAND THAT WHAT HE CONTEMPLATES IN THE SECRET RECESSES OF HIS HEART WILL EVENTUALLY MAKE ITS WAY INTO THE PUBLIC SQUARE?
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