I’m glad to have discovered Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young, especially now that Katelyn and I have our own little man to raise.
This book is a treasure-trove of biblical wisdom, seasoned advice, and good-natured humor. The Youngs (parents of six boys) aren’t sharing theories; this is advice from the trenches.
The best thing about Raising Real Men is that it helps clarify the difference between outright misbehavior and masculinity-in-the-rough that just needs some shaping. Biblical manhood often involves taking risks, getting dirty, fighting, and the like. Rather than squashing these impulses in our sons, we need to channel and direct them for God’s glory.
We can’t really do this unless we know what Scripture says about being a man, and Hal and Melanie consistently point to Scripture as the standard.
I love these words from their introduction:
“This book does not outline a Five Stage Program for Building Godly Men. It does not feature a Master Checklist to Chart Your Way to Family Harmony. There are programs like that which some families find very effective, while others find them less than helpful.
What this book offers is a biblical perspective – note “a”, not “the” – on understanding how boys think, and why that is, and what can and should be done about it. As we’ve raised our sons, we’ve found that many of the troubles and concerns we had were clarified when we looked to what God intended them to be. The situation looked different when we truly valued manly virtues and masculinity and when we understood that we had to rebuke sin but should not change our boys into something they were not.” (from page 18)
The topics they cover include:
- Giving your sons godly heroes to look up to
- A Biblical view of competition
- Teaching boys to be bold and take risks (with wisdom!)
- Manners and social interaction
- Homeschooling boys
- Preparing sons to handle money
- Encouraging entrepreneurial activities and preparing for a job
- Teaching sons to take on man-sized responsibilities
- Teaching sons to respect authority
- Preparing sons to be strong leaders
They even had a whole chapter on “taking up arms” (not something you find in today’s average parenting book!), along with a discussion of violence in Scripture. This was very good, though I was surprised by some of their house rules (i.e. never pointing toy guns at anyone, even when playing war). Their point is that we should discourage our sons from playing at sin or mocking it like fools (Prov. 14:9), and so caution is required. I like how they sum up the chapter by saying, “Based on our standing principles, toys that encourage the imagination toward nobility and honorable service to others are probably acceptable; those which glorify brutality, evil spirituality, or ugliness in general, aren’t.”
As one who was a boy not too long ago, and who grew up with two brothers, I resonated with this book and enjoyed it a lot. I will definitely be re-reading it multiple times over the next twenty-plus years. I’m sure that anyone who has sons will enjoy and benefit from Raising Real Men.
We’d like to give away one free copy of Raising Real Men! To enter the giveaway, just comment on this post. If you have sons, please share something that you love about them!
(Only one entry per person. Giveaway ends at midnight PDT on Thursday, August 9. A random winner will be picked on August 10 and notified by email.)