Training Sons to Be Confident and Decisive (Part 4)

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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.

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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

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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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Being a Godly Example To Your Children

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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.

 

  • Being a good mom, you try not to let your children spoil their appetites for healthy food.  What you’re feeding yourself may be good, but is it the best? Is it nourishing your spiritual life, or are you ruining your appetite for eating a healthy, meaty meal from God’s Word?

 

  • Think about the “junk food” you may be feeding yourself every day! Write down what and how much you’re reading and listening to each day until you know exactly what you’re feeding yourself. Just as you may have no idea how many extra calories you’re taking in each day that have no nutritional value, so you may not have thought about how much your reading and listening material is not good for you. You need to purpose to listen to and read that which will build you up and make you a strong, healthy Christian!

 

  • Shut your phone off sometimes. Don’t be controlled by it.

 

  • Stay off of the internet until a certain time of the day, and make sure it’s only after you’ve spent a planned amount of time in God’s Word. At first it will seem legalistic, but you’re retraining your appetites.

 

  • Be intentional and purposeful about what you’re reading besides the Bible: We read so many words each day that we can become unaware that we’re even reading!

 

  • Take a fast from whatever you “can’t go a day without.” Stay away one day a week, or one week a month. Spend extra time in the Word during your fast. Set a timer when you get on facebook, or online in general, or keep a log sheet to log in the start time and end time you’re online, and total the amount of time each day.

 

  • At the times you normally get online, spend time in the Word instead or have a Bible-reading time with your children (the little ones can color, or play quietly). Train them early to respect the Word of God.

 

  • We may not realize that those seconds and minutes add up: keep a record, then reduce or eliminate some of them and replace with Bible reading, prayer and other activities which set your mind and heart on things above. (e.g. Times when we’re on our phone, online, checking email, on facebook, on pinterest, commenting, reading links and blogs and articles, doing “research,” reading a chapter here or there from the latest book, watching a video or reading a post on a subject we’re interested in or the latest “liked” thing on facebook. Use those minutes-turned-into hours each day for building up your faith—setting your heart and affections on things above.

 

  • Instead of checking your phone for messages, & immediately responding, or getting online multiple times a day, plan ahead a time when you’ll respond to all your messages. Let your thoughts be interrupted by God’s Word. Place Scripture around your home to catch your eye, put it on your window sill or counter by your sink, on the fridge, on your medicine cabinet mirror, wherever you spend at least a few minutes a day. Cause your mind to feed on the Word of God. While driving, listen to sermons downloaded, tape Scripture to your dash. Play the Bible on your Ipod or MP3 player while falling asleep, while riding in the car, while cleaning, etc. Whenever you normally play music, play Scripture instead. Let God control your thoughts.

 

  • Whenever you’re reading, ask yourself these questions: Is what I’m reading true, according to the Word of God? Will it build up my faith? Is it necessary to read right now? Am I the one to read it? (or pass it on?) Am I obeying the verse, “I will set no vile thing before my eyes”? Even if it’s true, am I guarding my heart or will this affect me emotionally or manipulate me for no good purpose? If there’s a need, can I pray for it without knowing all the details? Am I violating Scripture which tells me not to know the details of sin? Am I being a Godly example to my children and others by watching or reading this now? Am I neglecting other responsibilities while doing this? Am I doing a good thing, but at the wrong time, in the wrong way, too much or with the wrong heart and attitude?

 

  • If you have the habit of watching or reading the news daily: If you are in the habit of doing so at the beginning or ending of your day, ask, “Is this a spiritually healthy activity to start and end my day with?” Can I trust the source? Can I copy their example as a person? What example am I setting for my children?

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