We all know the value of moms in boys’ lives, but let’s focus on the awesome things boys can learn from their dads.
As moms, we tend to focus a lot on nurturing our sons; we are soft with them, affirming, we don’t want them to get hurt, we are empathetic and supportive. Dads parent sons in a different way, and their influence in their lives is different to that of a mom’s.
POWERFUL THINGS SONS LEARN FROM THEIR DADS
1. How to treat and view women in life
The way a boy’s father treats the women in his life plays a big role in how his son will view and treat women in future. As a father, be aware of how you treat other siblings in the home, how you treat your wife, waitresses, coworkers. Treating them and speaking about them respectfully will teach your son the importance of viewing women respectfully and honorably.
The type of magazines and movies you do and don’t watch, as well as discussing with your son why you choose to do so, will teach him how to value women and see them in a respectful way. The way you treat your wife, as well as how you argue with her, will teach him about respecting a woman, even when you are angry or disagree with her.
2. Discovering his strength and unique ability
I watched a dad and his twelve year old son pull up at the beach recently, in a Jeep, with two small sailboats on a trailer. They unpacked everything, set up their boats and then began discussing which direction to sail – up the lagoon towards sea, or down the lagoon to the bottom end of it. I had to compliment the dad on being an involved father, and encouraged the son to appreciate his dad’s involvement. It was a public holiday, and a lot of fathers out there were watching sport in front of their TV’s.
The son had started this hobby with his dad when he was eight years old. I watched them talking together, setting up their own boats, noticed how sure the son was of what he was doing, but still taking the lead from his father in small ways. Managing his own boat, setting it up, maintaining and caring for it as well as sailing it and getting a feel for his strength and agility on the water, is sure to give that teen a solid sense of what he is capable of, a gauge of his strength and ability, and a solid sense of self esteem from that.
Being under his father’s guidance, but seperate from him in a sense, gives him security but independence. A father’s involvement in his son’s life while teaching him that he has what it takes, that he is strong and capable, is indescribably powerful – I took a photo; it was that awesome to see. The years we have with our sons go by too fast. Find opportunities and hobbies which you can share with your son, and answer the questions he has in his heart –
“Am I strong enough?”
“Do I have what it takes?”
3. Outlook on life
Your son will pick up on your outlook in many different ways, in many situations, without you directly speaking about what your outlook is.
A few areas your outlook on life will reflect through are:
- how you handle unemployment,
- how you handle a lot of money,
- how and if you budget,
- what you prioritize in your life,
- how you manage your free time and the materials you fill your mind with,
- how you develop yourself,
- how you take care of your body and health,
- how you lead your family
- your attitude in hard times
- your faithfulness in the best and worst of times
- how you plan for the future
Your son is learning from how you deal with each situation in your life. He’s learning stickability, faithfulness, resilience, patience, humility, to name a few aspects of character. Make sure your responses and attitudes to life’s lessons and situations teach him some powerful character traits!
4. How to lead a family
Your son isn’t born with an idea on how to raise and lead a family. He learns that from your example:
- how you spend your evenings when you’re with family
- how you spend your weekends
- how you spend quality time with each family member
- what you teach, directly and indirectly, to him
- how you engage with people when you’re with them
- how you manage your social media time
- how you manage your spirituality
- how you value and treat your wife/partner
5. Important identity messages
Figuring out his identity is an important part of a boy’s life, especially in his teens. Having a father around who is involved in his life, giving him opportunities to work out what he is capable of, testing and figuring out his strength, is valuable. You can reinforce your son’s identity in the following ways:
- show him that he has an important place in the family: show him his value as a sibling, son, and family member to extended family. If your son is young, a sweet way to do this is to create a collage/series of picture frames with each family member in it, as well as extended family members; hang it somewhere where he can see it often, and tell him how he is loved and a part of this big network of relationships.
- show him that he has a place in the world: in the teenage years especially, choosing a career path, working his way through crazy hormones and knowing what he is good at, can be a daunting journey. Help your son navigate these years and areas. Help him figure out what his strengths are, and what his weaknesses are too so that he can work on them. Help him to really get to know himself and love himself. Expose him to many different fields and industries so that he gets a solid understanding and feel of different professions, as well as their downsides and benefits. By the time he is of age where he needs to choose a profession, let him have tested enough areas to know what is best suited to his own strengths and interests. Let him walk into studying with a solid idea of where he wants to go, who he wants to be and what he wants to do. Show him that his contribution is important, and that he is valuable in the world.
The role of fathers in boy’s lives is irreplaceable. The years you have your son with you at home are years in which to be attentive and strategic. Keep your relationship with your son a priority!