- Be pure
- Be realistic
- Be informed
- Be grateful
- Be warned
- Be content
Clint also links to a book for single young ladies by Nancy Wilson.
The other day I found a letter I wrote to our son when he turned 19 years old. I teared up a bit as I read and reflected on that letter as I thanked God for Ian.
Then, a few days ago, I saw this letter that a dad wrote to his 16-year-old and which he published with his son’s permission. What a model of faithful fatherly wisdom and leadership. I’d encourage you to read what Rick (here) wrote to Luke and use it as a model for writing your son or daughter a letter on his/her birthday this year.
From The Duties of Parents —
Fathers and mothers, I charge you solemnly before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, take every pains to train your children in the way they should go. I charge you not merely for the sake of your children’s souls; I charge you for the sake of your own future comfort and peace. Truly it is your interest so to do. Truly your own happiness in great measure depends on it. Children have ever been the bow from which the sharpest arrows have pierced man’s heart.–J. C. Ryle (HT: DG)
And on the subject of prolonged adolescence among young men especially, Darrin Patrick writes:
We live in a world full of males who have prolonged their adolescence. They are neither boys nor men. They live, suspended as it were, between childhood and adulthood, between growing up and being grown-ups. Let’s call this kind of maleBan, a hybrid of both boy and man.
Ban is juvenile because there has been an entire niche created for him to live in the lusts of youth. The accompanying culture not only tolerates this behavior but encourages it and endorses it. (Consider magazines like Maxim or movies likeWedding Crashers.) This kind of male is everywhere, including the church and even, frighteningly, vocational ministry. . . .
In a culture where the influence of godly men is desperately needed, this void results in a legitimate cultural crisis. We are not going to solve it by ignoring Ban and hoping that he eventually grows up. We are not going to solve the problem simply telling women that they should take up the slack.
We might solve the problem by modeling biblical manhood and calling adult boys to forsake their youthful lusts and become the men that God is calling them to be in the context of the local church. This call should come from godly men and women sitting in the pews and, specifically, from the pulpit of God’s church. The models should be men of God.
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13, ESV)
So what’s wrong? Increasingly, the messages to boys about what it means to be a man are confusing. The machismo of the street gang calls out with a swagger. Video games, television and music offer dubious lessons to boys who have been abandoned by their fathers. Some coaches and drill sergeants bark, “What kind of man are you?” but don’t explain.
Movies are filled with stories of men who refuse to grow up and refuse to take responsibility in relationships. Men, some obsessed with sex, treat women as toys to be discarded when things get complicated. Through all these different and conflicting signals, our boys must decipher what it means to be a man, and for many of them it is harder to figure out.
Bill Bennett’s article is well worth the read, ladies and gentlemen!
I have seen this article before but thanks to DG for mentioning it again.
Vern Poythress shares about how he and his wife thought about training their boys to become Christian men:
When does a boy become a man in [American culture]? When he gets a driver’s license? When he graduates from high school? When he moves away from his parents? When he can vote? When he gets his first full-time job? When he is 21? When he gets married? When he owns his own home?
No one can say. There is no clear point of transition. There is no one “rite of passage.” One of the unfortunate effects can be that boys are insecure. They don’t know when they are men. . .
What do we do to give proper guidance? I know and you know that there is no magic formula. God must be at work in teaching us and our boys, and he must be the one who causes them to grow (1 Corinthians 3:7). But you and I can plant and water.
Here are six components of the training:
Read the entire article for his explanation and recommended resources.
Greg Lucas’ son Aaron just turned 16 and part of Greg’s gift was “Ten Things I Wish Somene Had Told Me When I Was Young.” They are written for his son but with a few simple substitutions they could be applied to daughters as well.
1. The most important thing you can do is love God and love people. Everything in life flows from this one commandment. (Matthew 22:37-40)
2. Choose your friends wisely, they will influence you more than you realize. (1 Corinthians 15:33) Be a unique leader, not an average follower. Don’t let your desire to impress people make you do stupid things. Be yourself and people will be drawn to you, and respect you.
3. Who you are when no one is looking is a true test of your character. (But Someone is always looking, Proverbs 15:3)
4. Take your time with girls. Set the standard high. Find a godly woman. Look for a woman who most resembles your mother’s heart. She is the best example I have ever seen in a woman. If you find her–or she finds you, she will be more valuable than all the treasure you could ever dream of. (And she will be worth the wait, Proverbs 31:10-31)
5. Live your life in such a way that when people say bad things about you (and they will) no one will ever believe them.
6. Every decision that you make has a reward or a consequence. Your reputation is built over a period of many years, but can be destroyed in one minute with one bad decision.
7. Don’t just settle for a “job”. Find a career where your gifts (of care and compassion) can be used to the fullest. Move towards a vocation where you can live your life helping people. Your reward will be more than a salary.
8. Don’t waste the life God has given to you. You will have less regrets in the end if you do what God has called you to do.
9. Always be slow to anger, quick to forgive and quick to show grace. (James 1:19-20) Remember that Jesus’ death on the cross for your sins was a complete act of undeserved grace. Think about that when you are wronged or when you are treated badly by people. (Hebrews 12:2)
10. Be humble. (Proverbs 11:2) The truest form of strength lies in humility. Here is a good definition of what it means to be humble, “Humility is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing done to us, to feel nothing against us. It is to be at rest when nobody praises us and when we are blamed and despised. It is to have a blessed place in the Lord where we can go in and shut the door and kneel to our Father in secret, and be at peace when all around is trouble.” (Andrew Murray)
If you would like to read the rest, go here.
Rick Holland (who serves with John MacArthur):
The older my sons get, the more weaknesses I see in my parenting. I can’t remember a day in the last decade I have not had to ask forgiveness from one or more of them. They are very gracious to extend forgiveness to their sin-infested Dad.
On the positive side, I’m seeing some traction and progress in our discipleship. I was meeting with a group recently who were asking me what I do with the boys in discipleship. I thought the answer to that question might provide some ideas for some to build on, so I am going to give a brief outline of some of the things we are doing
Read some of the things that Rick is doing with his boys including taking them out to breakfast, what dinner time looks like, and “Monday Man School.”
Tim Challies has a review on a book, The Death of the Grown-up by Diane West, that is raising a lot of conversation. Here’s one paragraph:
It seems that one of the driving forces behind the death of the grown-up was the rise of the teenager. Before the 1940’s, the term teenager was unknown; before this period humans tended to fall into only two groups—children and adults. Exactly when a child transitioned to adult could vary, but what was clear was that there was no intermediate period. Furthermore, children, or those in their teen years, would seek to identify with adult culture—they would seek to behave like adults, to dress like adults, and to be taken seriously like adults. Today the tables have turned. “That was then. These days, of course, father and son dress more or less alike, from message-emblazoned t-shirts to chunky athletic shoes, both equally at ease in the baggy rumple of eternal summer camp. In the mature male, these trappings of adolescence have become more than a matter of comfort or style; they reveal a state of mind, a reflection of a personality that hasn’t fully developed, and doesn’t want to – or worse, doesn’t know how.”
If West is correct, our society needs to grow up and needs to do so before it is too late. Yet whether or not you find you agree with her prescription, only a person blind to the culture could disagree with her initial analysis. And on this basis alone this book is worth reading and enjoying. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in understanding the culture we find ourselves in.