I recently watched a film where the father believed the best way to teach his son how to be a man was to encourage him to drink, use foul language, and to be abusive to women and animals. I contrast that to the examples of the men of God we see in the scriptures and standing before us in the pulpit, who are reverent in their behavior and give God the glory for their successes. Part of being in the world is to face opposing messages and to decide for ourselves which paths we want to take, and our children are being bombarded with messages from both sides and from more middle-of-the-road standpoints as well. How do we best teach our sons what real manhood is? I suggest that we emphasize the following points:
1. True strength does not come from aggression. Television shows and movies would have us believe that men must be aggressive in order to be strong. Real strength is controlled and moderated.
2. You can turn the other cheek without being a wimp, and you can stand up for yourself without becoming a bully.
3. Showing emotion doesn’t make you less masculine. Boys and men need outlets for their emotions too, and if they need to let it out, by all means.
4. Being a leader means to set a positive example and to inspire others to follow, not to browbeat them into submission.
5. Holding your liquor is not a sign of strength. The real sign is how you stand up to temptation and do what you know is right.
As cartoons and movies continue to become more violent, it’s my hope that we as parents can guide our young men toward true examples of manhood and help them differentiate between the “men” they see on the screen and the men who influence them for good in their own lives.
Join me next week as I share my thoughts on teaching our daughters to be women.
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