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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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