What is a man? What should a man believe? What are a man’s responsibilities? How ought a man conduct himself? These are among the most important questions in a boy’s life. The Bible shows us that fathers have a vital role to play in helping their boys grow to become men.
Fathers, how much time and energy have you invested in the lives of your sons? Your presence in their lives is a key to their success. But presence alone is not enough. By far the most important investment fathers can make in the lives of their sons is to impart to them sound spiritual and moral values. If we wish our boys to one day become men of character, principled men—good husbands and fathers—then these values must be instilled within them, beginning at an early age. These values must be taught. We cannot carelessly assume that our sons will somehow grow up and become good men without giving them guidance and direction along the way. When a son does something right, a wise father acknowledges it. He encourages and praises good behavior. A loving father also takes time to correct and instruct his son when he does wrong.
As fathers, we must teach our sons to be honest and upright. We must teach our sons to do the right thing, even when no one is looking! Proverbs 11:3 states: “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.” When Dad establishes boundaries and upholds truth, a son’s character is strengthened. Boys need to know that there is an omnipotent, omnipresent God who has given us a code of conduct to live by—the Bible. And we must teach them that keeping God’s commandments leads to life, and that His laws are not a burden but a blessing. They should grow up knowing by firsthand experience that a Godly life is an abundant life!
One of a father’s main duties is to prepare his sons for marriage. Our sons must be instructed to love, respect, and honor the opposite sex. In Ephesians 5:25, Paul was inspired to write: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” In 1 Peter 3:7, Scripture instructs us to give “honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers not be hindered.” Boys need to learn that a real man has courage, and is willing to sacrifice his desires, his wants—even his life—for his loved ones.
Boys need to learn that it is a man’s responsibility to provide for his family. In 1 Timothy 5:8 we read, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Hard work is good for us—both physiologically and psychologically. Yet a work ethic does not come automatically. Fathers must help their sons develop a work ethic while they are very young. Even very young boys can learn to take on specific small chores around the house and yard. Teens may be able to take on more complex responsibilities, or even work outside the home when school is not in session. Without learning the value of hard work, boys will not grow up to be successful men.
In all this, fathers need to ask themselves, “What kind of example do I set?” Some boys grow up without a father’s example, and face special challenges in learning what it takes to be a man. As fathers, we should be especially respectful of the tremendous burden faced by widows and other single mothers rearing boys. When God has given us the amazing privilege of helping our sons grow into godly adults, how can we dare to shirk this important responsibility?
Great fathers not only know what they believe; they practice it. God is watching us, and our sons are watching us. With His help, we can become the kind of fathers that our sons truly need. To learn more, read our informative and helpful booklet Successful Parenting: God’s Way.