As a father of six, I feel the responsibility of the title “Dad”. Including my wife, I have seven people who depend greatly on me. As a result I often feel the pressure of making sure that I’m on my game. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 17 years of marriage, it’s that this doesn’t happen unless I’m constantly working on it. Two of my six children are “men in the making”. Every day I look at these little guys and I wonder what kind of men are they going to grow up to become. It’s my desire that they grow up with a strong faith and become great husbands, great dads, and great leaders.
Here are 10 Things I’m Doing to Help My Little Guys Become Men:
1. Let him help
I try to let my boys be hands-on in the things that I’m doing. When you’re letting them help, you’re teaching them skills.
2. Let him get messy
They’re boys… I just believe they need to get messy sometimes.
3. Let him get hurt
I want my boys to get 100 little cuts. It’s the lessons that are learned when they “test the boundaries” that save them from getting big cuts later on in life. Sometimes, we try so hard to protect them that we forget that failure is another good way to learn valuable lessons.
4. Tell him I love you and I’m sorry
My little guys need to know that I love them deeply. They also need to know that I’m sorry when I mess up. Expressing love and forgiveness are things that are Caught not Taught. So I need to show them how to do it right.
5. Shoot Something
We shoot the BB gun
We shoot Airsoft targets.
We shoot baskets
… Just go shoot something.
We go hiking.
We go in the woods.
I let them “go” in the woods
We campout in your backyard.
I believe that all of these experiences turn little boys into men.
Physical touch is huge with my boys. I wrestle with them. I throw him up in the air until they scream. I play too rough with them. I’m constantly teaching them to toughen up and the importance of fighting through pain.
8. Make him aware of his surroundings
I’m teaching them to be aware of what’s going on around him. I teach them to be aware of shady characters in the parking lot. I teach them to be aware of other people’s feelings.
9. Explain “the why” behind what I do
Whether they asked for it or not, I want to explain why I’m doing what I’m doing. Part of the role of dad is to be a teacher. I want to let them know that there are reasons why I do what I do and it’s not always “because I said so”.
10. Let him know I love his mom
Above everything else I need to let them know that I love their mom. They need to know that I love her more than anyone else on this planet. They need to learn from me how to treat a woman with respect and dignity. They need to learn from me how to sacrifice, serve, and honor.
By no means am I perfect with all of these. I’m sure there are some weeks when I miss the mark on everyone of them. But when I miss it up, I just tell them I’m sorry and I go back out again. It’s a great thing that love covers a multitude of sins.
So if you’ve got boys – what’s on your list?