Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Boot Camp for Bringing Up Boys

At this very moment I (Kristen) am at Denise's house gazing out her kitchen window listening to the raucous adventures of my four sons. The youngest is playing in the clubhouse, pretending he's steering a great ship. The next eldest is walking around the yard deep in thought, a huge golden retriever following closely at his side. The next eldest son is acting out elaborate imagination games with one of Denise's daughters down by the clubhouse. And the eldest son is our chef for the day, whipping up peppermint chocolate chip cookies with the other of Denise's daughters.

This week I read a book that has come just in the nick of time for this mama of boys and two girls who will one day marry boys. It is Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys by Hal and Melanie Young, and by it, I've been greatly encouraged that I can raise mighty men of God within our culture of complacency.

Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys

From puddles and puppy dog tales to college exams and career choices, Raising Real Men is like a boot camp on paper for bringing up boys. This book offers wisdom and strategies for parents who desire to parent purposefully and honor God with their effort.

There are several practical things I took away from this book (and have already implemented some of them :-)):

  • A Fist of Five (an easy-to-remember battle plan for overcoming temptation)

  • Fostering entrepreneurship

  • How to interview colleges

  • How to master public speaking

  • The effective army approach to correction
  • Carrying in the groceries joyfully and other ways to use their strength to help others
  • Hosting a Coming of Age celebration
  • and much, much more

    As a girl I fantasized about my knight in shining armor sweeping me off my feet and protecting me for the rest of my life. Now, I feel I have a valuable complement to my Heavenly Sword for guiding these four knights in training to become young men who take on the world for good.

    I highly recommend this book to homeschool group leaders for several reasons:
* We are first of all wives and mothers, and this is a down-to-earth resource for understanding the men in our lives better

* We are secondly leaders who can use the wisdom and insight gained from these pages to change how we interact with and provide resources for the young men in our groups

* It could be a convenient platform for creating a boys' class or moms' book discussion, each week covering a fresh topic brought out in the book: manners, money, love, education, responsibiliites, competition, and leadership, among others.

You could easily create an 18-week co-op class out of it by having an ice-breaker/vision-casting introduction, a holiday break week, a project class where the boys get their hands dirty applying what they've learned--creating a budget, starting a micro-business, cooking a meal, building something useful, spearheading a service project in the community-- and finally, a conclusion class. Make it festive and fun by hosting a BBQ celebration where the boys grill and the parents share a praise for one particular way they've witnessed their son grow in character or ability over the semester.

The point is, the Youngs have successfully re-awakened me to the priceless value of being the "mother of heroes" and the eternal significance of my mission . . . and theirs.

Raising Real Men for a Better Tomorrow,


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