This was such a Divinely timed review! I have 4 sons, not as many as some, but more than most. And while for the most part I don’t find this to be an area of struggle, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things about boys that baffle and confuse me.
The Young’s have 6 sons and they aren’t just little boys, they have grown sons too so they have actually lived through (and survived) getting some of those sons into adulthood. Nobody can argue with their testimony!
One of the areas that I have been concerned about is when to be the loving, tender-hearted, understanding mother, when to be the cheerleader mother and when to be the bossy drill sergeant, suck-it-up mother. Obviously my son’s have a father who gives them plenty of masculine discipleship, but they are home with me for the most part and I do realize my influence over them. In the chapter called Is There Not a Cause? Hal and Melanie address this question. I love their answer, “If he hasn’t faced the trail yet, or he’s in the midst of it—encourage him. If he’s been to the wars and is limping home wounded—comfort him. Once the wounds are bound up, encourage him to rise and face the fight again.” Such good advice!
I also really appreciated the chapter on weapons, called Taking Up Arms. It’s so true when they say boys turn everything into a weapon, even if they aren’t “allowed” to play with them! They have such a healthy and biblical concept of play. The whole chapter just really encouraged me and helped me to fine tune our own attitudes towards weapons and imaginary play in little boys.
“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.”
Having sons, we have experienced something I call, “trying to dominate Mom.” I have always understood that God made our boys to lead, but I don’t necessarily appreciate when they try to lead me, especially if they are little, like 3…So the chapter called Who’s in Charge Here, really resonated with me and made me appreciate it all the more when my husband talks to the boys and calls me “his wife” so they understand the lines of authority. If you haven’t had much experience in this area, this chapter is really a blessing and could solve a lot of potential problems you may have with your sons.
“Remember the chain of command—seeking to overthrow the parents’ authority is an attack on God’s authority which He delegated to them. We owe it to God to take action against insurrection.”
The chapter called “Your own School for Boys” made me laugh aloud! So relatable in my own life of teaching boys.
When I finished this book I was left with the overall feeling of peace. I didn’t finish feeling like I was failing my sons, or more importantly disappointing God in how we are raising them. I felt encouraged to fine tune the things we have been doing and felt energized to keep on the path to raise these men and mini-men. Hal and Melanie have a kind-hearted and encouraging tone, always addressing the truth head-on (including matters of sexuality), but never leaving me feel condemned. Too many times I read things that make me feel like the task before me is IMPOSSIBLE. You won’t get that here!
I highly recommend this book if you have sons, or even only 1 son, the sooner you read it, the better off you’ll be at parenting and understanding that complex blessing the Lord put in your care!
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As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of Raising Real Men in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.