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Part 1- What Do You Do With BOYS?

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The Boyer Blog: Part 1- What Do You Do With BOYS?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Part 1- What Do You Do With BOYS?

Raising Boys

I grew up in a family of girls, never having much close exposure to boys. When Rick and I started our family, sure enough we had the first boy grandchild for both sets of our parents. I remember thinking- Wow, what do I do with a boy? As a matter of fact, we had 4 little boys in a row, all 18 months apart form each other! When our oldest son was just 3 months old, we began attending a Sunday school class in which the teacher talked about internalizing Scripture. This was something so new to me, being a new Christian myself. I sat there like a sponge, eagerly soaking up the practical Bible teaching and then trying to find a way to communicate the Scriptural priniciples I was learning to my new little son.

I began to hang Bible verses all around his room and our living room and started learning what character was and looked for fun ways to teach it to my little boys. I shall be eternally grateful for that class because it channeled my focus to what I believe should be a priority in the training of little boys and little girls as well! As I look back, I see that God takes open hearts and blesses them even if they are ignorant, but seeking to do right.

First of all, Scripture and character training should be priorities in training little ones. Rick recorded the book of Proverbs for our kids and stopped and explained difficult words and told example stories to help the boys remember.... and remember they do even to this day! It was one of the best things we did to build a godly focus in our kids. Playing the recordings at bed time and naptime, they learned tons of Scripture without even trying! This was something we did for years. It didn't take very long before you could start a verse anywhere in the Proverbs and they could finish it. Rick then began recording other portions of Scripture for them as well. (we offer several similar Scripture Recordings at the Learning Parent)
During the day, we began focusing on character training. I would read to them from books such as A Child's Book of Character Building to teach them what godly character meant. I asked God to show me creative ways to teach it to them, Many of the specific ways I achieved this are found in Fun Projects for Hands-on Character Building. We began having the kids do these projects and used the finished products to teach them God's Word on a daily basis. (Two more recent, but great resources for little boys are God's Wisdom for Little Boys and A Little Boy After God's Own Heart.)

I found that little boys are very busy and need lots of opportunity to run, jump, and romp. Dad seemed to bring this out in them. During the day often they would sit and listen to Mom read stories and do fun projects, but when Dad came home in the evening they were inspired to get rid of any energy left after their busy day. They loved to run and jump on him, wrestling around, screaming and making lots of general racket- a bit much for Mommy's tastes, but I began to realize they needed that physical romping with Dad and each other.

Early on, we involved our little boys in learning to do chores....work in the garden, help Daddy fix stuff that broke, and generally be involved in serving each other and others. This all helped to build within them a strong work ethic. Each had daily chores from 3 years old on, within reason of course. (more info in Building a Work Ethic in your Children) We chose not to involve our boys in lots of outside activities, play dates, etc. with kids their own age, but instead to train them to be responsible first of all in the atmosphere of their home. As they grew older, we would lead them in projects of service to others in the church and community, instead of focusing on artificial activities to please themselves. Our family grew fairly quickly and opportunities to serve in the context of the family were plentiful.
Boys need to be busy! Learning to be productive helpers builds within them a sense of being needed and the character of responsibility.

It is when your sons are little that you begin to build godly discipline into their lives. It is while little boys are small that we teach them to have a respect for girls and women and the elderly folks. Little boys need to learn that God has special requirements for them to learn to be useful and how to develop skill in making wise choices, and looking for needs that others may have they that they can learn to be of service to.

Boys need to be encouraged to try new things,experiments, building, etc. As our boys reached, say, 7 or 8 years of age we would supply them with wood and nails and let them try building things- bookcases, birdhouses, chicken houses, etc. Boys need the freedom to try and if something fails, that in itself is a valuable learning experience. Our sons would try experiments with plants, ways to train their animals, creative ways to do things. I remember 6 year old Tim mowing with Dad's supervision. He was a natural from an early age. We gave him the freedom to try to fix things that would break. Even folks at church would bring him their broken blow dryers, mixers, etc. If he could fix it, he earned a few dollars. If not, he earned some valuable experience. We even let them try things we knew wouldn't work, like keeping plants in the dark or planting "soup" as four year old Rickey tried once.

Little boys are messy, noisy, and yet they have a charm of their own. I remember my boys spending hours in our garden after all the crops had been gathered in, creating towns with churches, homes, post offices, stores, roads. They had hours of fun and would come in very dirty, but it was a healthy kind of play. We did not raise our boys with a TV or video games. They had lots of great books, puzzles, tools, trucks, and materials to learn, explore and create. Artificial entertainments were few and what we learned was that they learned to think creatively. It's too easy to plop down and WATCH something, but if it's not an option, wow, the mind begins to think and explore and a whole world of learning is opened up to them.

I loved raising my boys and I still love my boys. What is wonderful now is to see how they still love their family and are each other's best friends.

During this series on Raising Boys, we'll address homeschooling boys, how to deal with sibling rivalry in boys, and what to consider in raising teen age boys.

If you are struggling with the special challenges of raising boys, just remember, you are investing your time in raising tomorrow's leaders. As I look back on my time of raising boys and now have four adult aged sons, I see how God perfectly designed the character traits and personalities into each one to prepare them for the role he had planned for them to assume when they would become adults. More next time!.........

~Marilyn

We’re linked up to: Women Living Well & Raising Homemakers

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10 Comments:

Blogger Anita said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. I have had several of your books for many years and gleaned much from them. We have homeschooled for 22 years now! We have seven children and soon to be three grandchildren. Our oldest is almost 26 and our youngest is 16 months.. Quite a spread.

My husband is the program director at The Homeschool Channel. You and Rick were interviewed last summer and the interviews are now showing. There is a blog on the site and we would love for you to post. There has been a recent discussion on thehomeschoolchannel.tv about a lack of real men within the homeschool graduates. Your wisdom would be a godsend!! Join the group, please!! You can cut and paste your own posts and one of our administrators will bump it up to a featured post. We would love to have you on regularly.

March 5, 2010 at 7:05 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Love this post! Thank you for sharing. We have four boys and four girls. Two of my boys are teenagers and we are having some difficult times with them now. I appreciate any wisdom you can share on raising them in a way that is pleasing to God. I look forward to the next article! :-)

March 5, 2010 at 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhonda H said...
Thanks for this series...in advance! Cannot wait for the next installment.
I'm interested in what the "Homeschool channel" is, as posted by the first poster. I'll have to look that up!
Keep up the good work!

BTW...is there a RUNT 2 in the works?

March 5, 2010 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger Teena said...

such great words!

March 5, 2010 at 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Melody said...

Thank you for tackling a subject very close to my heart. I'm an only child in a family, which on the maternal side, only had girls for generations. Before my son, the last boy in the maternal side of the family was born in the late 1800's! I now have three boys and of course my Mom, Aunt, cousins and Grandma have no experience with raising boys. I'm looking forward to hearing more about what has worked in your family to inspire me with my own boys.

March 5, 2010 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger Jennifer @ No Place Life Home said...

God definitely knew that I needed this series right now. Thank you so much taking the time to share your insight with us! I posted a link back on my blog so others can benefit from your wisdom also.

March 6, 2010 at 1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so blessed by this series. It helps remind me of the uniqueness of each of my many boys. and to stay focused on a vision for raising our many boys to be seekers of Christ and lovers of good leadership.

Will your series have a segment with ideas on how to do this in a home where the husband is not engaged with his children other than to play with them?

How does one handle young men who have learned to test and fight their Mamas bc they know Dad won't do anything about it, when what they really need is their father's leadership?

I guess what I'm asking is if you're lovely series will have encouragement for married widows.

Thanks.

March 12, 2010 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger Marilyn Boyer said...

Anita,

Thank you for your kind words. I'd love to post on your Homeschool Channel blog but I couldn't get the link below to work. Probably my extreme lack of techie skill. Try me again!

Rick

March 24, 2010 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger Marilyn Boyer said...

Dear Anonymous,

Ouch! Your note reminds me how important it is for us dads to be involved with our boys.

Not knowing much about your family, it's hard to advise you on your relationship with your husband. I can assure you though, the worst thing you can do is grow bitter toward him for his shortcomings and let your children see a critical attitude in you. I'd suggest you make an extra effort to make sure you're understanding and meeting your husband's needs, then catch him at a time when he's in the mood to talk and discuss this problem with him. Remember we dads can be pretty dense and we sometimes don't see the needs of our children as clearly as you moms do.

If you're correct that your husband is falling down on the job, and if he doesn't change that, you are still responsible to train your sons in righteousness. That means you'll have to work harder than you should have to in order to meet their needs, but I know I don't have to tell you that it's well worth the effort. Still, I encourage you to get some good counsel on relating to your husband. That seems to be where the biggest need lies. God bless you as you seek His will.

Rick

March 24, 2010 at 10:28 PM  
Blogger Marilyn Boyer said...

I'm sorry to say a sequel to The Runt is not yet under way, but I have had a lot of requests for it from kids and would love to write it. Pray for me to have some more time to write!

Rick

March 24, 2010 at 10:30 PM  

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