Training Boys to be Future Leaders, Part 2
Am I Raising a Boy or a Future Man?
Parents often focus on raising boys and not on raising a mature man. However, the end result desired in this process is a man capable of handling the world’s challenges, not a boy unable to cope.
To reach this goal, your boy must take on responsibilities that will make him a man. External discipline will help develop internal control. Teach younger boys to put away toys, clean rooms, and help with chores (inside and outside the house). Be creative and make learning enjoyable where possible. Starting young is one of the best approaches to achieving your goal.
Characteristics of the Goal
J. Oswald Sanders book, Spiritual Leadership, points out several parts of leadership that parents must train or teach and that boys must internalize.
Sanders puts it this way, “A leader is a person who has first submitted willingly and learned to obey a discipline imposed from without…”
And he warns us that, “The lazy and disorganized never rise to true leadership.”
What Should the Results Be?
A self-disciplined mature man will be organized, industrious, studious, a follower or leader depending on the need, and in full control of himself. The leader faces challenges head-on; plans for the future; controls his time, talents and resources; and serves others in a selfless fashion. A spiritual leader prioritizes God and His will first in all life-areas, opens his heart to the Holy Spirit’s leading, prays, studies the Bible, and serves in leadership or in another way.
There are different types of disciplines.
For me, when I was a young boy, my rebellious disobedience meant that I received a spanking. As I grew older, my parents moved to consequence management. If I was given a task to do and didn’t complete it, I would lose privileges, my allowance, or normal pleasures (such as reading comic books, playing games, or interacting with friends). Though my parents didn’t write out the rules, they made sure I knew them. Dad and Mom enforced the rules every time.
Because of the consequences, I developed acceptable behaviors to integrate with success in my family, work, church, and leisure activities. I became self-disciplined. Because my parents saw that growth, they gave me greater opportunities to excel. At age fourteen I became a paperboy and at sixteen I worked in the summer and after school.
Working outside the home provided me realistic experiences in following guidance from someone other than Mom and Dad.
Will It Hurt?
Discipline can take many forms. Time-outs, restrictions, and watching your child suffer for what they’ve decided to do can be difficult. For instance, when our boys decided they didn’t want dinner (food they liked) because they were busy (or rebellious), we put them to bed hungry. At breakfast the next morning, they were served last night’s dinner. They quickly got the idea.
The key factor is that firm rules, once set, are not negotiable. When the boys can read, write out the major unacceptable behaviors or attitudes and the consequence on a single sheet of paper. Post it on the refrigerator door. If a boy argues with a consequence, point to the list and enforce the discipline.
The trainer (parent, teacher, baby-sitter) sacrifices time, energy, and freedom in the early stages to mold a boy into a man, but reaps back a boundless harvest when the boy matures.
What About Media?
When your children are young, only let them watch certain TV programs or DVD’s (if you let them watch any at all). Train them to turn off the tube, put down the video game, unplug from the MP3 player or other music device, and involve them in another activity that builds them, the family or the community.
As children get involved at school (public, private, or home-school), the parent’s involvement is critical to provide the best environment for the child. Peer pressure will be one of the greatest influencing factors of your boy’s life.
Peers will challenge your son to try new, different or challenging things. Here is where self-discipline kicks in. Your influence is still critical – don’t lower your standards. Your son’s network of friends is also crucial. Monitor those connections. If your boy has made a decision for Christ, he has access to the Holy Spirit’s power to make the right choices, control himself, and stand up to negative peer pressure. Should he fall prey to a temptation, a supportive web of friends, parents and God’s presence will assist him in recovering and reasserting his self-discipline.
What Do You Think?
The few words I’ve written on this topic cannot cover adequately the ins and outs of discipline. Many of you may have read books on the topic or even written them. Please take the time to share your thoughts on this topic with others through my Facebook page: Facebook.com/ZookBooks.
Why is vision important? Tune in next month and see.