About two years ago, my wife Stacy was driving home from Tennessee with our youngest son, Ben. He was 18 at the time, just going into his senior year of high school. The rest of the family was spread out all over the world – literally. They had been checking out wedding venues for Tim, our oldest. I happened to be out of the country on a missions trip with our daughter Hannah, and Zach was in a different country on a missions trip as well.
Sometime in the evening when she was still three hours from home, a deer jumped out of nowhere into the car making for a traumatic situation and an undrivable vehicle.
In that moment of adrenaline flowing and stress over the situation, Ben stepped up.
As the driver, Stacy was a bit shook up. But Ben was thinking clearly, and he was a calming force, immediately calling AAA and getting their belongings out of the car. He really stepped into his role as a man.
She recalls, “It was nice to have a man versus a boy to take care of. It would have been completely different – he was more of my support versus me being his.”
It’s easy to see by age 18 that your boy is now a man, but there’s no magic switch once they graduate for them to start doing adult things.
Those qualities are fostered as they grow, and it requires a long-term view of parenting to help your little boy develop into the man he will become.
I think of the story of when Jesus was a boy in the temple. Apparently, He had stopped to do his Father’s work – without mentioning it to his earthly parents. Luke 2:48 tells us that Mary’s reaction was “great distress.” Her little boy had disappeared for about three days without her knowing where He was. Can you relate? But we know that Jesus was without sin, so it wasn’t wrong for him to spread his wings and begin to do the work He came for – even though his earthly ministry did not begin until about 18 years later.
It is natural for parents to feel that instinct. If at times you feel some distress as your little boy learns how to become a responsible, hard-working, independent young man, you are in good company. We know our sons aren’t perfect by any means, but they too have the desire and the need to spread their wings and test the waters of the inclinations God has placed on their hearts.
We look to Jesus as the perfect example of manhood, and we can look to his childhood as well.
Let’s pray over our sons what we see in Jesus’ boyhood in Luke 2:52, that they would grow and increase “in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”
We’ll start to dive into some practical ideas on raising young men, so keep following For the Love of Noble Men emails and spread the word.