Do Boys Also Need Modeling and Teaching?

My first year coaching, for Elijah's flag football team. 
He's trying to give me "bunny ears."
Yesterday, I answered as best I could a question regarding what girls need from Mom and from Dad.  Of course, this begs the question if there is a parallel answer when it comes to boys.

As with girls, there is an element in which Dads and Moms each need to do some leveling of modeling and teaching.  And among different families, there can be a spectrum of what this looks like.  However, I would make a case that both modeling and teaching becomes increasingly important for Dads, more so than for Moms, when it comes to raising sons.

It's not that Moms don't have influence over boys, (even teenage boys); they must have influence.  Moms need to reflect the image of God in the way that they parent, because the things that Mom has to offer are unique to how she was created in His image.  But especially as they get older, boys need more and more to be led and taught by men as much as possible.  In fact, many people would say that boys need to begin to break away from Mom as much as possible, even starting in the preschool years.  Mom needs to have a huge role in helping this break occur, because he natural (and God-given) tendency is to nurture, which is a great thing.

In the past year, and more and more recently, we have tried to instruct our son Sender (age 4) to come ask me when he wants something.  If I'm not available, or if I need to delegate to Mom, that's OK.  But this definitely puts more of a burden on me, and I as a Dad need to be willing to bear that.  What's interesting is that this could actually put me in the middle of my sons and my wife, which may at times make me the bad guy, but which can also be a way that I provide protection for each of them. 

Shepherding a Child's HeartOf course, when we discuss what shapes our sons and daughters, we must remember that there are multiple factors.  Shepherding a Child's Heart talks about "shaping influences" (chapter 2), such as how the family: lives out roles, is structured, responds to failure, handles conflict, and more.  In chapter 3, Tripp discusses "Godward orientation" -- the idea that the child is always either worshiping God or worshiping idols (including themselves).  "Your children are never morally neutral."

In summary, we must remember these three things:
  1. We as parents are responsible for leading our children and "with providing the most stable shaping influences," which actually could have 100's of variations.
  2. Children have a responsibility to respond to these shaping influences.  "You may never suppose that you are merely molding passive clay." 
  3. In all that we do or fail to do, remember that the Holy Spirit, working by His power and grace, can change hearts and work in the lives of our children for His glory.

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