5 Conversations: Launching Manhood

This is week 4 of our study, 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son.  Here is where we converse about the daily study.  Contribute to the conversation by leaving your thoughts in the comment field.  Answer one question or answer all… feel free.  Make sure you check the box for “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” so the conversation isn’t just one-way and you can also respond to comments.   If you have insight into parenting boys but aren’t necessarily doing the study with us, you are also free to join the conversation!

When I picked up the boys from school on Valentine’s Day, they were anxious to tell me all about the day’s events, particularly who asked who to “be their Valentine.”  In 5th grade, the kids seem more open to the possibilities of romance and begin teasing and sharing who they have crushes on.  Apparently some kids will even bring a special gift for a special someone to demonstrate their heart leaning towards that said someone – for about 5 minutes.

My son shared that he was thinking about asking someone to be his Valentine, but wasn’t sure if he was allowed to.  Here is how I handled the conversation:

“You could ask someone to be your Valentine, if you want.”


“Sure, but you want to be honoring to her and her family, so you’d first have to speak with her dad about it and get permission.  After all, she is his treasure and you don’t want to upset any dad in regards to his treasure.”


“For example, if you wanted to ask {Cute 5th Grade Girl} to be your Valentine, you’ll need to call up her dad and see if you could come over and talk with him.  Wear something nice, I’ll drive you over and you can ask him permission to give his daughter a gift and ask her to be your Valentine for the day.”

“I’m not doing that!  I’m too young for that.”

“Okay.  It’s up to you.  Just be prepared that when the day comes that you may want to treat someone special, she’s already special to her Daddy so you’ll need to have these conversations.”

It was pretty fun and thankfully I knew my son would be completely mortified but it was a good opportunity to lay some ground work about how we’re going to do this girl/boy thing differently.

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation if – indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” ~ I Peter 2:2-3

I really liked how the author pointed us to this verse because it speaks to the process of maturity and growing up into who God intended them to be.  There was an article in a well-known magazine a few years ago expressing how in our western culture we’ve added adolescence and the teen years into our social life spans.  The article asserted that either you are a child or an adult and in our cultures we have created this in between that has often trapped people and left them in an abyss.

We see the struggle in many twenty somethings and sadly even those in their thirties who have never fully understood what it means to be a man or a woman, in the adult sense of the word.  I speak to many young women who somehow believe that you don’t really become a woman until you’re married.  And in our church, hundreds of men go through “Men’s Fraternity,” a study on manhood that calls men up to take their responsibility as providers, protectors and leaders at work, at home and in their spheres of influence.  Notice I didn’t say, “take their place.”  I don’t care how liberal or independent you are as a woman, somewhere inside of her, every woman wants a strong man by her side.  If you think you don’t, then ask yourself if you’ve ever used the phrase “Man up!” in talking to or about someone you love… but that’s another blog post.

In raising our boys, this week’s study spoke to the necessity of preparing to launch our boys into manhood and the process begins at the beginning of their tender lives.  I came away from this week wondering how well we are doing this with our four boys, particularly in two areas:

1.  Their faith.

2.  Their Work Ethic

Since my husband and I are in ministry, our kids go to church a lot, are surrounded by believers. Because we love Him, frequently talk to and about Jesus in our home.  In thinking of launching manhood, I want to address their faith first because the heart is the wellspring of life.

We serve together when given the opportunity, we give together. The tension I’m wrestling with today is that by no means do we lead our family in regular devotion time.  Nor do we insist they have their own devotion time daily.  Our discipleship of the boys is based on conversation and {we hope} our example of loving Jesus. We turn to the scriptures when we are inquiring of the Lord but I’m really careful not to beat them down with it.  It’s a tension for us being in ministry because we want the boys to love Jesus, His Church and His mission… not become inoculated to it because of their surroundings.

Ultimately, they will need to birth and grow their own faith.

Regarding work ethic, we have a system set up for chores and through their chores they earn money for their allowance.  We have a big family, so we often talk about the necessity for each of us to do our part.  Of course we love the bless our kids when we can, but honestly with the growing appetite for “stuff” we have found early on that we need to have these conversations with them.

So, I was challenged… are we instilling a healthy view of providing?  Are we setting the table for them to come to their Savior?

What do you think of when it comes to launching manhood? 

Are their practices you have established in your family towards these goals? 

Where are you challenged in raising your sons to become men?

10 thoughts on “5 Conversations: Launching Manhood

  1. I don’t have boys to raise, but I have definitely seen the trend you talk about with 20 and 30 something young women. Especially if they aren’t married, they often get stuck in this (pardon the expression) “no man’s land” where they feel they’re not a full-fledged woman yet. I imagine young men might experience something similar if they’re unmarried.

    Teaching our children how to grow up and become adults is a valuable thing, regardless of when they marry, have kids, etc. It could make the difference between wasted years…and fruitful living!

  2. I’ve raised two sons and the kingdom principles flow from one of our son’s life and the other son, not so much.
    Here’s why: I was too young in the Lord with the first son to know what it looked like (as a divorced mom) to instill the teachings of the Lord from the Word. I took him to church with me three times a week and at the age of 5, he was baptized. But the waters of baptism did not hold his kingdom vision into his 30’s. Why? Because I didn’t have the courage to have the kind of discussions that you are having with your son today.
    I love what you’re doing, what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. I love that you aren’t bible bashing him, you’re bible living him. Your lives in truth will teach him truth straight from the Word as he reads the Bible through you and your husband’s lives.

  3. Susie, I love it! I love the way you handled the Valentine thing and so appreciate all of your conversations. I am so encouraged by your words and your faithfulness in wanting to raise godly young men! I am very much enjoying this study but I am about a week behind. I love seeing what is coming up! You are an amazing, intentional and encouraging Mom! I am just beginning to see our son put a little more attention to his hair and clothes, smelling good, etc (kind of grateful for that), and actually think a girl is cute. I think our prayers of shaping a godly perspective from his heart is starting! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom!

  4. I love that you told your son he would have to call and meet up with her Dad. That is awesome. I want my boys to grow up respecting girls, and honoring God. The manhood thing is funny cause just the other day my 8 almost 9 year old son told me he was hungry. This was shortly after eating a big lunch, so I told him to go make a sandwich for himself. About 10 minutes later I walk in the kitchen to see him starring into the fridge like it was outer space. I asked him what he was doing. He said ummm I don’t know how to make a sandwich Mom. As a mom I felt bad for him and said ok Mommy will make it for you. As I made the sandwich i realized that I should probably made him try at least to make it for himself, and guided him through so that he one day can make it for himself. The whole situation made me think of how many times I don’t push him into manhood by doing things for him. Yes he is still young, but he is old enough now to do somethings on his own. I want him to be confident that he can do things. I am gonna try and encourage him to be a little more independent, and tell him that it is ok to ask for help when he needs it.

    • Susie, I often struggle with the desire to do things for my son and the tension of teaching him to do things on his own. There is nothing better than blessing and serving your family, but I have this same conversation in my mind daily!

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