DADS: Five Conversations YOU Will Need to Have with Your Sons
Deuteronomy 6:20-25 says, “When thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What meaneth the testimonies, and the statues, and the ordinances, which Jehovah our God hath commanded you? Then thou shalt say to thy son...” What a way to begin a conversation with your son! Wait until he asks you, not talk to him before he asks. It puts the pressure on him, not on you. It puts the burden of knowledge and understanding on him, not you his dad.
Your son will not ask all the right questions, nor will he ask enough of them. If Proverbs 22:6 means anything, training is what you do, whether the questions are asked or not. No coach ever waited until the players on his team asked what the plays were, whether practice was essential, or if keeping in shape was important. The coach helped them to understand discipline through training, whether or not the players asked.
A conversation with your son may come easy or not so easy. Regardless, there are some discussion every dad needs to have with his son.
1. You are only a boy once, then it is time to grow up. Ecclesiastes 11:9 says, “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth.” Teach your son to enjoy his youth as much as he can. Make sure his heart can cheer him all the way through youth and come out of youth without regret. Be an example like 1 Timothy 4:12 says: “In word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” After that, it is time to be a man. A man who will “show thyself an example of good works; in thy doctrine, showing uncorruptness, gravity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:7-8). This next generation needs someone’s son who will become this type of man.
2. Manhood is not defined by culture. It is defined by God. Joshua was assigned to lead Israel into the land of Canaan. What would he do? Was he a born leader? How would he do it? God trained him. God instructed him to “Be strong and of good courage...observe to do according to all the law...that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest...be not afraid, neither be dismayed...” (Joshua 1:6-9). Joshua’s being a man depended on him following what God asked and to be a leader. A man of God is the type of man God wants living in this culture. Your son needs to be the next one.
3. You are on his side as long as he is on the right side with God. When Eli did not correct his sons, God punished him both him and his sons (1 Samuel 2:27-34). “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself bring shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15). Discuss with your child the fact that the desire to be honored comes from character. Character which supplies the reputation he will have as a man. Learning where the right path is today will pave the road upon which he travels in the future. The road has boundaries. Boundaries which lead to life here and will take your son through the narrow gate leading to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14). Vow to your son your support as a “good and faithful servant” of the Lord. Let your son know your rebuke and reproof of his transgression will be firm and just, because you want him to grow up and learn to respond to God - not to you - just like Samuel did by saying, “Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:9-10).
4. Your son is not “everyone.” He is “someone,” and “someone” is not doing it. In the days of the judges, “everyone did that which was right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Your son is not living in those days, and he does not have to participate in what everyone else does. The world’s attitudes are not your son’s. The parents of the world are not your son’s parents. Morality is not defined by the majority or the minority of participants. Someone like Elijah decided not to be numbered among the idolaters of Israel. Someone like Daniel decided to continue praying and living a godly life. Someone like Joseph kept himself pure amidst numerous, daily temptations. Someone like your son does not “have to” be what all other boys in the world are growing up to be. Your son should be the next someone to be a Christian and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-12).
5. Self-control is the most powerful engine in the world. There will possibly be a few conversations about what is under the hood of the first car/truck your son owns. The most powerful one will be in your son’s mind. Can he tell the truth instead of lies? Will he look at a woman with honor rather than lust? How will he handle criticism from his boss? Should he hit someone, shout at them, or turn away and leave the unruly to their own destruction? Let your son know virtue is not a feminine thing. It is a manly thing. “He that is slow to answer is better than he mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city” (Proverbs 16:32). Paul said, “...I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). What your son wishes someone else has, he must have himself first. Instead of being out-of-control, speak to your son’s heart about maintaining control of his mind by thinking upon Philippians 4:8. The power of your son’s mind can carry him to be all God wants of him. It depends on him following the infinite, powerful will of God, not his own will. This is where your son will receive the greatest respect.
Make sure you have these conversations with your son. He is waiting...