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10 Things I’d Do If I Were Raising a Son Today

I revised and reposted 10 Things I’d Do If Raising a Daughter Today recently. In this post, I will focus on raising a son.

I know a little more about this subject, having two incredible sons of my own. But, we always look at life differently from the other side of it. My boys are grown. I’m still parenting, but in a completely different way. My parenting these days is one of influence. Thankfully, both boys still come to me desiring my input into their life. There is no greater joy than seeing boys become God-honoring young men. I’m thankful to have a front row seat with my sons.

But, even knowing the incredible young men I have as sons, there are things I would do differently if I had that part of life to do over again.

I know boys become men. And, every man I know, whether or not he admits it, struggles at some level with confidence. He struggles to know he is enough, that he can do what God calls him to do. Every man is desperate for someone to believe in him.

And, sadly, we are living in the age where the absentee father is normal. It once was the exception. (That’s the subject of another post, but it’s plaguing our society. Check any statistics.)

I was mindful of these truths when my boys were young, but I’m older now. The seasons of my life have taught me so much more.

So, I would be even more intentional today – if I were raising sons.

Here are 10 things I’d do if raising a son today:

I would introduce him to Jesus from the day he was born. Every little boy likes to role play and act out their heroes – even if only in their minds, and I would engage him in the stories of the Bible. We would learn truth, faith and courage as we role played scenes of valiant warriors for God, such as David, Gideon and Daniel. (Acting out Jonah might be kind of fun too.)

I would show him I believe in him, by learning to enjoy, value and support the activities and dreams important to him – including loving his friends. I’d tell him daily I’m proud of who he is and the individual God created him to be.

I would make myself available to him when he needed me. Not only when it was convenient or didn’t interfere with my work or my hobbies, and assure him I would never leave him or reject him. I would want him to know I would be there for him all of his life – through good days and bad.

I would strive to personally live a respectable and God-honoring life, so he could model after me, and likewise be respectable – knowing respect will be his greatest need in life.

I would model for him how to love a woman, by valuing and treating my wife as a treasured gift from God. He would never hear me degrade anyone, but instead hear me valuing others. He would see me living a life of a servant – attempting to make a positive impact on the world around us.

I would help him build confidence by giving him ample opportunities to explore, to dream, to be adventuresome, to risk it all, even allowing him to fail under my watch, so I could encourage him to start again, explaining to him the only way to be a failure is to not get back up from a fall.

I would help him develop confidence, strength and courage through his walk with Christ, gaining the awesome reality the only limits on him would be the ones he set for himself.

I would let him know the boundaries of the house, being certain he would test them, so he could learn even in freedom there are consequences for misbehaving and sin. And, I would model for him the value of a sincere apology – learning how to give and grant forgiveness.

I would teach and model for him character and integrity – that the real value of a man is not in the sum total or his possessions, but in the sum total of knowing God intimately and when those who know him best honor him most.

I would build deep faith in him, at times, letting him see me afraid, even seeing me cry, to show him a man can be courageous and still be vulnerable. Then I would let him see me following even closer after God for direction and strength to continue the journey – even when afraid or the answers are unknown.

That’s if I were raising a son today.

Are you raising a son? Tell me about him.

Final note on these two posts, one for raising daughters and this for raising sons. They are somewhat interchangeable. Some of each list could apply to raising boys or girls. They are aspirations. There are no perfect parents.

I have observed, however, there are parents more intentional than others. There are parents who parent with the sober reality we have precious little time to mold children who will be adults longer than they are children. Parents who know it takes time, energy, consistency and intentionality to parent well. Mostly knowing it takes the grace of God to be a great parent.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 25 Comments

  • BETH Almeida says:

    My son's name is Mason. He was born the day before my birthday. He is sweet and kind. He loves to share and loves animals and being out in nature.

  • Brook says:

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  • Willy Tan says:

    I was teary when i read it, and see more teary people when I shared it with my small group. Thanks a lot Ron.

  • @iProducer says:

    Powerful…. Thank you.

  • Andy says:

    The following prayer was written by General Douglas MacArthur –

    Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

    Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee….Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

    Build me a son whose heart will be clean, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

    And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

    Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”

  • I have three boys. Oldest is 10 and the twins are 8. Love the list.

  • @CCBSteve says:

    Love this list Ron and agree with all of it. The only thing different I have on my list would be to mark those important moments and milestones. Other cultures are often better than us at celebrating key moments in the life of a young man. I have tried to be very purposeful about celebrating my sons' 13th and 16th birthdays. The next major one will be 18 and I have big plans for that one! Those are great places to pause and reflect as well as prepare for the next life chapter.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ron. Always enjoy them!

    • ronedmondson says:

      I love this. I actually did this with my boys at 13 and 18. I used the principles I learned in the book “Raising a Modern Day Knight”.

  • Bob

    Great list, Ron. My sons are a little younger than yours. Both are in college now. I stopped while reading and sent a message to one i was going back and forth on text to say “I’m proud of you and love you more than you know”…then came back to reading.

  • Jenom Makama says:

    Just like the one for raising daughters, this is very helpful. I am impressed that your two grown up boys seek to be influenced by you. God bless you!

  • Russ says:

    Ron, I’m raising a son named Elliott. He’s 8 months old and has a big sister named Mia who is 4. They both look more like their mom than they do me, which is a great thing! I’m encouraged to lead them well and appreciate these words of advice this morning. Thank you for sharing. I printed this post and put it on my desk beside my planner.