Monday, June 9, 2014

Raising a boy

In college I used to say that the highest compliment I could give a man was to call him a "gentleman," yet I think at the time I didn't even realize how much weight that word really carried.

Lately the news has been full of stories about the problems with men today. There seems to be this culture of violence and entitlement that contains terrible temptations at every turn.

Actually, it's not just lately. It seems like all my life I've read articles and seen books about how schools are failing boys, how television and video games are desensitizing boys to violence, how the internet brings poisonous websites just a click away.

I'd heard about all those things for years, but none of it really sank in until now, when I suddenly found myself with a little boy to raise—a sweet, innocent, incomprehensibly beautiful little boy, whose mind and soul and moral formation are under my protection for the next 18 or so years.

It feels a little overwhelming when I think about raising a son in today's world—although who am I kidding, it's never been easy to raise a child of either sex at any stage in world history. But something about the culture we live in now has me especially concerned about shepherding my boy's future.

When I think about him growing up, I realize that what I want my son to know is the importance of being gentle. Any jerk can bully his way through life, but it takes a good man to practice courtesy and empathy and compassion—to fight for the vulnerable and lend strength to the weak.

The world we live in makes it harder than ever for a man to be gentle. Yet against a host of cultural pressures, that is the goal his father and I have in view. We want to raise our son to be, literally, a gentleman—with all that word implies.


  1. Oh my, I hear you. Though, of course, I'm trembling about raising a girl. I especially worry about how I'm going to impact her. I'm going to be THE woman in her life for a few years at least, and it's very overwhelming to think that I'll be forming her first impressions of what a woman should be. Yikes! Can I give her something better than what the world thinks a woman should be?

    Thank God for grace, eh? The responsibility you feel from the day you find out your pregnant would be crushing if He didn't promise to help. I can only imagine how much more intense it feels after your little one is born and encountering the world. But I'm sure the grace intensifies in proportion.

  2. My prayers for your sweet little guy. So cute!

  3. Tess, this is a really beautiful post. I have loved reading your blog and was especially touched by the post on Lauren from a few months ago (she was also my friend from here in Australia). May God bless you and lead you and your family deeper into His love, so you may be a witness to Christ's words that "they will know they are my disciples by your love."

  4. Thank you for writing this, Tess! As a young woman, it's comforting and empowering to know my peers are striving to raise men of God for today's society. :)
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