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Training Sons to Be Confident and Decisive, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

So, I’ve been talking about how to help our sons to become confident men of God.  Here is Part 4 of the series.

Hold Up Godly Examples for Them to See

Read biographies of Godly, courageous, decisive men and talk about and praise the positive Godly character traits you see in them.

When you see a person in real life, or read about a character in a book, name the Godly character traits you see in them. “He showed true courage when he spoke up about his faith, didn’t he?”

Praise your husband’s and grandfather’s Godly character to your sons, and specifically name the Godly character traits that you see in him.


Look for Character Traits to Praise in Books, Movies and Real Life

Here are just some character traits to look for:

  • faith, trust, courage, humility
  • obedience to parents, submission to authority, a strong believing prayer life
  • hard work, industriousness, perseverance, honesty
  • kindness, compassion, a servant spirit
  • a desire to make one’s authorities successful, a desire to please God, obedience to God when it cost the person something
  • a desire to see men saved, a willingness to suffer persecution for Christ
  • meekness (not responding in anger), a pure heart and mind, hatred of sin
  • not loving money, loving others sacrificially, generosity
  • treasuring God’s wisdom and opinion above other people’s


Call Character By Its Biblical Name

Anytime you see Godly character in a boy or man, point out and praise these character traits, and refer to the traits by their Biblical names as much as possible. (Beware not to make your son–or husband–hate that person, because you have made them jealous of them!  See further thoughts on this below.)

Call foolishness, foolishness, and wisdom, wisdom.  Don’t say, “That was really stupid.”  Or, “That wasn’t very smart.”  Or, “Now you’re using your head.”  Instead, say, “That was a wise decision you made to get up early to read your Bible!”

If you are correcting laziness in your son, call it slothfulness.  Read about slothfulness in the Bible.  Your son will identify his actions with what the Bible says every time he reads those verses.

If there’s a trait you’re working on in your son (or daughter, or yourself), do a word search on that character trait in the Bible.  Find out what God thinks about that character trait, (both good and bad), and read about the people who displayed that character.  Make it clear that the reason to have good character is to please and obey God, and His Word.  Though you want your children to desire to please you, their real motivation in life to do good should be out of love and gratitude and to please the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Remember that when they obey their parents they are obeying God’s Word, so there is a place for saying, “Because I said so.”  But you must be careful to base your training on the Word of God.)

Be careful not to praise other men to your husband, or other boys to your sons, in a way that says to them, “Look at so-and-so! Why can’t you be more like THEM?!’”)  All that this will accomplish is to make your son or husband hate that person!  What I have in mind is when you’ve read an article or you’re reading a book aloud to your children, and a boy or man does something heroically kind, for example, to commend his character.

Give Your Sons Opportunities to Make Decisions and Allow Them to Fail

Our sons learning to make wise decisions and to be confident and decisive requires that we let our sons make some unwise decisions, and allow them to fail.  Talking about it afterwards without beating them up verbally, is important.  Start young, and in small ways, and give them opportunities to take responsibility more and more.  A son of 9 or 10 who can start his own business of some sort provides a great opportunity to begin making decisions, and taking on responsibility for his customers and how he runs his business (with appropriate supervision, of course).

Praise Your Sons for Wisdom

Our sons need to see the character trait of wisdom praised, especially, because that’s what God says is the principal thing.  Praise them immediately, lavishly and joyfully when you see wise behavior in them.  Don’t add the negative comment afterwards (“You made a wise decision, but it’s too bad you don’t always do that.”)  Be specific in praising, and do so as soon as you see it, so they know what they’re being praised for!  Let them see your smiling face looking at them when you praise them, too. Let your praise and positive reinforcement of praiseworthy behavior guide them. They will begin to look for ways to act wisely, just to see that smiling face and hear that praise again.

Praise in Words and In Your Prayers

In your prayers out loud, thank the Lord for their wisdom, discernment, and other Christlike behavior.  If you can’t do this naturally and from the heart, wait until you can, and work on it!

Look for the good character.  It is there.  Find it!  The more that you look for the good, the more good there will be to find!
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Family Having Picnic Beside Pond

This is Part 3 of Tips for Your Family’s Best Summer Ever. Read Part 1 and Part 2 here.

In Part 1 and 2 we talked about redefining what “your family’s best summer ever” might be.  I encouraged you to pray, talk to your husband, realize that God changes our plans, and remind us all that He may have lessons for us to learn in what might not feel like “our best summer ever.”  Next:

4.  Consider all the family’s goals.

What are the activities that will make you feel like, ‘Now it’s truly summer.”  I encourage you to enjoy simple pleasures.  The breeze on a summer day.  The sun on your face.  Swinging from a tree swing.  Running through a sprinkler.  Reading a really good book together under a tree on a blanket.  Having a picnic.  Younger children can tell you what they would like to do and you can write it down.

As a stay-at-home mom and Homeschooler, it was easy to let comparing myself to others guide me.  Just because my friend grows a massive garden and cans hundreds of jars of tomatoes each year doesn’t mean that’s God’s will for my family.  I don’t have a green thumb at all, but I used to try, because all my friends were doing it. I thought I had to have a massive garden and do lots of canning to be Godly.  Though I’m not very good at gardening (I can kill just about anything really well:), I saw a natural gifting and interest for gardening in my daughter, and know that it’s a valuable skill to have, so I worked to train her in that, and now I leave gardening to my husband and daughter, who love it and are good at it.  She has a wonderful herb garden, among other things she grows, which blesses our family.

Goals May Change from Year to Year–And, That’s OK

Goals and objectives may change from one year to another.  Illness, relatives or friends staying with you, or a baby’s arrival may impact your planning.

Our emphases were different from year to year:  One summer we were preparing for our baby daughter to arrive.  That summer we also grieved the loss of my father, and my mom came and stayed with us to help with the baby.  One summer we were going through a crisis in our church which consumed our emotions and time.  One summer we were focused on going to chemotherapy treatments, after finding out I had ovarian cancer.  Some things will be planned, others won’t.

My husband and teenage son built a deck together one summer, and another summer they cleaned up all the rock beds and landscaping.  These were valuable lessons in building a strong work ethic, and bonding between father and son.  When our children were 10 and 14, our summer vacation was centered around an inexpensive family vacation.  We purchased a family membership to our state’s Historical Society and took day trips to state historical sites.  Then we had them write reports and put together a booklet with photos.  These are not only treasures, but reinforce the love for learning, and accomplish “school” in a fun way.

If you have a family reunion to attend, read my article on how to handle when relatives question your child-raising and decisions (these situations seem to pop up).

Perhaps this summer your family is feeling a need to pull back from activity and rest more.

5.  Plan for Margin.

Allow for unexpected activities to spring up, because they always do.

Margin–that white space around all the words on a page is like the non-planned time around all the scheduled activities in your life–and it is absolutely necessary!!! Your body and family will demand it, whether you plan it in or sickness and stress make it happen. I first heard about this concept at a state Homeschooling convention many years ago in a workshop by Dr. Richard Swenson, who wrote a book by this title, but I have experienced the truth of this principal, and lived it out, ever since.

Margin:  Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, by Dr. Richard Swenson

For me, picturing summertime from a century ago is therapeutic.  Sitting under a shade tree on a blanket enjoying a picnic lunch.  A breeze gently blowing the wispy curtains through an open window. I hear the birds and…quietness!  I envision myself swinging lazily in a hammock reading a really good book.  Your picture of how your “margin” will look may be different than mine, but we all need it.

If we commit our works to the Lord, our thoughts will be established.  Proverbs 16:3.  I pray you and your family will have a wonderful rest of the summer.

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Tips to Your Family’s Best Summer Ever, Pt. 2

July 12, 2014

The first step to having a wonderful summer may be to put aside the expectation that you should have the “best summer ever.”  Click on the link, if you haven’t read Part 1 of Tips for Your Family’s Best Summer Ever.)  I can so easily fall into pleasing myself, seeking my life, rather than losing [...]

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Tips for Your Family’s Best Summer Ever

July 10, 2014

Hello!  It’s been almost a year since my last post.  I was shocked it had been that long.  The Lord has been prompting me recently to make time for blogging on a more regular basis (not sure yet how often He thinks “regular” should be:), but, here I am!  I’m pretty excited to be connecting [...]

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The Tongue of a Woman

August 15, 2013

Image courtesy of artur84/ The Bible says that the tongue is a fire.  James 3:6  Think of the good that fire can do, but then think of the destruction that fire can cause. I was thinking about gossip recently.  My first thought was, “I don’t do that.” But, then, “Do I, Lord?  Is it possible [...]

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Google Reader is dying, so Here’s What you need to do!

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Being a Godly Example To Your Children

May 20, 2013

Control your devices, don’t let them control you. Make your main food the Bible.Set goals for reading it, (start now, if you didn’t at New Year’s). Plan how much and when you’re going to read, and follow a Bible-reading plan. (I use the one linked to, from Discipleship Journal.)  Make it your first priority.   [...]

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How To Keep From Being Too Busy: Making Decisions About Your Family’s Activities

March 26, 2013

It’s amazing how busy a stay-at-home mom can be, and how much time a Homeschooler can be away from home! I’ve talked with a number of young parents recently, and a theme has recurred over and over. “We’re really busy! But, it’s going to get better soon.” “I’m trying to figure out what I can [...]

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Thumbnail image for Hal and Melanie Young Speaking in Minnesota

Hal and Melanie Young Speaking in Minnesota

February 18, 2013

Note The New Location!! Do you ever feel overwhelmed or unsure in your parenting? Come gain clear vision and encouragement, learn practical tips for raising your children, and counsel regarding family relationships. Hal and Melanie Young, authors of “Raising Real Men” Tuesday, February 26, 2013 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm Rogers Activity Center, Rogers, Minnesota Just [...]

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Thumbnail image for Training Sons to Be Confident and Decisive (Part 3)

Training Sons to Be Confident and Decisive (Part 3)

November 20, 2012

This is Part 3 in a series prompted by a question from a young mom I know about getting her young son to be more decisive!  Read Training Sons: Part 1 and Training Sons: Part 2 if you missed them.  Here are more thoughts I hope are helpful.  Next week in this Tuesday series we’ll talk [...]

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