The Phases of Raising Boys

They wrote and performed a play.
I am so thankful to have two great boys, Elijah and Sender, who will be 8 and 5, respectively, this December. It's amazing how two boys could be so opposite. They are special in their own ways, each created in God's image:
  • Elijah is usually serious; Sender is a walking party.
  • Elijah has the most fair complexion in our family; Sender is the 2nd darkest (after me).
  • Elijah looks like Joanna's side of the family; Sender is my Mini-Me.
  • Elijah is a sharp student, especially in math; Sender -- well, this one is TBD.

But at least one thing is the same for both of them -- God has given me the role of helping them become men. This responsibility won't happen overnight, or even over a year. It will be years of relating, observing, training, adjusting, etc.

For those of you who are also raising sons, here are a couple of resources that you may find helpful. They provide a mindset that there are certain phases or seasons in bringing up the next generation of men.

Four Phases of Raising Boys.  Pastor Scott Thomas (Mars Hill Church) shares his insight from raising two boys, now ages 22 and 18. He outlines four basic parenting styles that he used.
  1. Commander. High structure and discipline, with "an abundance of love, adoration, and encouragement."
  2. Coach. Giving the child more freedom to make principle-based decisions, while providing  encouragement and feedback. 
  3. Counselor.  Lots of support, but less direction. Monitoring and help, but more hands-off.
  4. Consultant.  Final phase of empowering your son.

Future Men - Stages of Manhood.   This was from an event that we did at Grace Church in October 2009. Pastor Bill White walked an audience of almost 400 people through three main stages of going from boys to men.
  1. Authority.  (From birth through about ages 5 or 6) The child must learn to execute the decisions of the parent (or other leader) quickly, happily, and completely. One cannot lead unless he first learns to follow.
  2. Responsibility.  (From age 6 through around 11-13) Your son needs to learn to "handle his own deal." In this stage, they need to be challenged and respected.
  3. Partnership. (From age 13 - 18) Coming alongside my son, not standing over him.
Additionally, a handful of videos were created as a follow-up, to answer specific questions. Here is the first one, which also gives a summary of the stages:

As an additional resource, let me suggest The 5 Switches of Manliness: Provide.  Being a provider is not just about bringing home the bacon. It's about looking ahead, foreseeing the future, and creating and carrying out a plan. Men are to be scouts.

It is my role as a provider and scout to look ahead, and to help my sons become providers and scouts as well.

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